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Evolutionary roots of sunflower confirmed

by webdev

September 29, 2010

Upon the discovery of a 45 million-year-old flower fossil in Argentina, scientists can now confirm the evolutionary history of the sunflower family, reports Wired News.

Scientists have long speculated that the flower family originated in Antarctica and later migrated to Australia and South America in search of a warmer, tropical climate once the area began to cool. The fossil, found by paleobiologist Viviana Barreda of the Argentina Museum of Natural History, confirms these evolutionary roots.

The sunflower family, called the asteraceae, also includes daises, chrysanthemums and artichokes. According to the news source, though the question of its roots have been confirmed, scientists do not yet know how the flowers spread globally.

Part of the largest family of flowering plants, sunflowers are considered one of the brightest beauties among flowers and have been grown throughout history for a variety of uses such as facial paint, hair oil and to make dye as well as to make sunflower oil and seeds, according to

The flowers were once worshipped by the Aztecs in Peru and can grow up to 20 feet tall. They are famously phototropic, which means they follow the movement sun throughout the day.


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