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 is a Connecticut-based science writer and editor and a regular contributor to Live Science. She also has several years of bench work in cancer research and anti-viral drug discovery under her belt. She has previously written for Science News, VerywellHealth, The Scientist, Discover Magazine, WIRED Science, and Business Insider.