With Helianthus annuus, what is usually called the flower is actually a head (formally composite flower) of numerous florets (small flowers) crowded together. The outer florets are the sterile ray florets and … see full wiki
Sunflowers seem, at first glance, to be the emblematic flower of summer. They stand tall, face the world, and reflect the sun which is the origin of life, in many respects. French artist Gustave Caillebotte's Sunflowers on the Banks of the Seine successfully conveys their energy on a midsummer mid-day.
But in Eastern Canada where I live, summer is brief, and the sunflower's time is limited. One of the loveliest and most haunting scenes of the end of the season is The Tangled Garden by the Canadian artist J.E.H. MacDonald. When I first saw it, I found it troubling in the extreme. After living here for a long while, however, I understand the mixture of satisfaction and regret that comes at the end of summer.
The photo is mine, taken without the artistry of Caillebotte or MacDonald. But the way the heavy flowers lean away from each other, and begin their long swoon toward the earth evokes for me, at least, some of the emotions of the beginning of fall.