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Mutant Flowers: Images of Sunflower Varieties

Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers

An image of "Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers'' by Vincent van Gogh

(Image credit: Steve Dorrington on flickr)

"Sunflowers (Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers)'' by Vincent van Gogh (1888) with double-flowered sunflower heads, the result of a genetic mutation.

Sunflower seed and petal whorl

An upclose picture of the geometry of sunflower florets — showing the whorl.

(Image credit: Wikimeida user )

Sunflower florets are laid out in a very specific geometry.

Teddy Bear sunflower

A burnt-orange colored sunflower mutant, a variety called the "Teddy Bear" is all petals and no seeds. Looks like a furry doughnut.

(Image credit: Wikimedia commons user Mike Peel (

An orange sunflower mutant, a variety called the "Teddy Bear," has all rows of florets turned into petals.

Seeding sunflower

A sunflower head with lots of seeding florets

(Image credit: Wikimedia commons user Eug)

This variety of sunflower has more florets that make seeds and fewer that make petals.

Sunflowers and petals

Wild-type sunflower variety and its florets compared to double-flowered mutant variety and florets and the tubular variety, with its florets. Also shown: the double-flowered mutants depicted in van Gogh's Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers.

(Image credit: John Burke, UGA)

The most common wild sunflower variety is shown in box A, and its florets are shown in B. Box C shows a double-flowered mutant variety, with its florets shown in D. Box E shows the tubular variety, with its florets shown in F. The arrows in box G indicate the double-flowered mutants depicted in van Gogh's Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers.

Field of sunflowers

A field full of fully bloomed yellow sunflowers

(Image credit: image by Agricultural Research Service, public domain)

A field of normal, non-mutated, sunflowers.

Red sunflower mutant

A sunflower with reddish petals.

(Image credit: Wikimedia commons user Kabir Bakie)

Other varities of sunflower have darker hues.

Kid and sunflower

A small kid with his face in a sunflower.

(Image credit: Yaruta Igor |

When not being attacked by small children, immature sunflowers are able to orient themselves toward sunlight.

How to Make Busy Bees Busier

(Image credit: Sarah Greenleaf)

A wild bee (the bumble bee Bombus vosnesenskii) and a honey bee forage together on a sunflower. Honey bees that interact with wild, native bees are up to five times more efficient in pollinating sunflowers.

Jennifer Welsh
Jennifer Welsh graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz's Science Communication graduate program after working at a start up biotech company for three years after getting her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of Notre Dame. She has worked at WiredScience, The Scientist and Discover Magazine before joining the Live Science team.