BarSmart
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Mutant Sunflower 2.0

I saw an older topic in here from 2006 and would have replied but it was locked so I thought I would start my own.

Turns out, I'm raising sunflowers by accident.

We recently installed a bird feeder, filled it with feed and really enjoyed watching the birds (and squirrel) visit our yard. During this time my wife was converting a piece of ground near our front window into a rock garden. Things got hectic, the garden never got finished and soon got overgrown. That is when we noticed some really tall plants that just had to be sunflowers. A few weeks later we were positive. (I've since cut down everything but the sunflowers)

Only something odd is going on with two of them.

One is a freaky mutant. All of the leaves are scalloped, like someone ran over every leave with those craft scissors that make zig zag cuts. Also - in addition to the usual big head, it is covered with small nodules that look like they too will soon become flowers.

Another looks like all of the other plants, only it has a few more heads (not as many) as it's freaky brother.

The rest look like normal happy plants.

Now I've read that this is likely a soil-condition thing. Which I'm not sure about as they are all within the same 2 square feet of soil.

Anyway - just wondering if there is more interesting information out about my scalloped freak plant - or if people would like seeds (yes I know there is no guarantee it would continue that characteristic) because if people would like to try and grow a plant like mine I'd love to help.

I'll try to get pictures up later...

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applestar
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There are multi-headed varieties of sunflowers.
Also, the plant with serrated leaves maybe Safflower since that is also often used in birdseed mixes. (In fact, I only use safflower, black oil sunflower seeds, and niger seeds to discourage grackles, sparrows, doves, etc. that seem to favor corn and millet/milo).

Looking forward to your photos. Maybe I'll put up photos of my sunflowers and we can have a sunflower photo gallery here. 8)

BarSmart
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The mutant freak flower is defiantly not safflower - it's already over 6' tall and only the one trunk. The leaves are not that pointy either, and oddly it almost looks like they are "inside out" they way the scalloping makes them curl over.

Good point about the other simply being multi-headed and nothing too weird - just never saw one before in real life.

The mutant freak however with the weird leaves and littered with heads just has me staring at it some days...

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applestar
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Very hard to picture without photos, but just in case -- what about Tithonia? I have one (only one out of 6 seeds that managed to escape the slugs/snails) and the leaves look like the one in this photo, though mine will have red-orange flowers:
[img]https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d8/Tithonia_diversifolia.JPG/800px-Tithonia_diversifolia.JPG[/img]

BarSmart
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Here are some pics of my sunflowers... (sorry for the size and the iPhone quality)

This is my normal guys, big, healthy, enjoying the Pittsburgh heat wave and humidity
[img]https://barsmart.com/gfx/sunflower/normal.jpg[/img]


This is the mutant freak sunflower. Notice everything green is curled up and weird as well as some of the weird heads popping out on it...
[img]https://barsmart.com/gfx/sunflower/freakmutantsunflower.jpg[/img]

Closeup of a freak mutant sunflower leaf, see how it curves over...
[img]https://barsmart.com/gfx/sunflower/freakmutantleaf.jpg[/img][/img]

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applestar
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Huh! I had NO IDEA! That *is* strange looking. I guess you'll find out if the flower itself will be as interesting when it opens.

Many sunflower seeds sold for harvesting flowers for cut-flower trade are hybrids, so maybe it's some kind of a throw-back grown out from seeds from a hybrid sunflower. It would be interesting to see what would grow if you kept seeds from this one and planted them next year. 8)

BarSmart
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I am just hoping that if doesn't open up and say, "FEED ME!!!"

I do plan on harvesting the seeds and replanting, and I'd like to get some out to those interested in them, I'll keep everyone updated.

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