It is known that sunflowers track the Sun’s movement, but now scientists find the exact explanation why. Sunflowers follow the Sun from east to west during the day and then re-orient back to the east each night.
The team of scientist performed a series of experiments to find out why. Interestingly, the sunflower moved in the indoor lab also, and the sample repeated its movement in 24 hours. This means that there is something in the sunflower that provokes the 24-hour cycle of movement.
The findings revealed that one side of the stem grows faster than the other, depending on the time of day, which causes the plant to swing its head. Certain genes were being expressed at higher levels on the east side of the plant’s stem, and in the afternoon, this pattern switched.
It turns out that sunflower swings are caused by an internal circadian rhythm and this daily shift in position not only improves the flowers’ leaf size, but also makes them more attractive to bees as they like warm flowers.
The research has been published in the journal Science (h/t: Sciencealert).
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