28 July 2008

Sunflower power


Visitors to Italy during this time of year are always fascinated by the abundance of fields full of girasoli…sunflowers. This year we have noticed a marked increase in the number of fields with the bright yellow flowers gazing to the sun. They began to open about a month ago. There are hillsides covered with alternating fields of sunflowers, vineyards and harvested wheat fields, creating a patchwork of yellow, green and golden brown. Some people think that only Toscana and Umbria have girasoli, but they are also in great abundance here in Marche.

The Italian name is “turn to the sun,” but there are several fields I pass regularly at different times of the day and they are always pointed in an easterly direction. In fact, all of the fields I have seen in the Piceno area face an easterly direction.

As with all plants going through a life cycle, they have now begun to lose their yellow petals as the seed heads begin to droop and dry before harvest time this fall.


Anonymous said...

Bryan, what is the main use for the sunflowers? Oil, seeds,livestock feed? Is the by product exported?

Enjoy reading about Marche.

erin said...

girasoli is one of my favorite Italian words because I love the image it provokes!

Bryan said...

Ice tea...I am not sure what they do with the sunflowers but you do not see a lot of sunflower seeds or sunflower oil in stores.

Sunflowers do seem to be such an Italian landscape.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Oh yes we love to see fields of Sunflowers, strange how we are fascinated, I think it is because the heads all face the same way>