Sunflower, tall-type, cover crop (Helianthus annuus)


Common Name: Sunflower agricultural-type

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Forage for Pollinators: Nectar and Pollen is produced and foraged by Honeybees, Bumblebees both long and short-tongued, Solitary bees and flies. The pollen is especially sought after in autumn when there are few sources of pollen available. Sunflowers are rarely self-pollinated and most need pollen transferred to them from other sunflowers. Seed yield of sunflower crops is significantly increased by taking honeybee colonies to them. There are also extrafloral nectaries in bracts and upper leaves.
Flowering time: July, August, September.
Growing information: ANNUAL growing to 3 m (9ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in). Open-pollinated variety,‘Giant Sunflower’ is an old, tall cultivar. Hardy to minus 17ºC. This can be a major source of nectar and pollen in warmer climates than the UK, such as France, yielding 30-100 pounds of honey per acre, and 200-250 pounds of pollen. Increasingly being grown here in the UK on field-scale for game cover and bird-seed, and this must be of great benefit to bees. The oil of sunflower seeds contains between 44 – 72% linoleic acid, 24% protein and a whole array of vitamins and minerals. It is noted for attracting wildlife, and if we leave our sunflower heads after flowering, we leave a nice treat for wild birds too. Sowing rate: 10 kg per acre (25 kg/ha, 2.5 g/m²). NB. This is not organic seed, but it is untreated with any chemical