Friday, September 9, 2011

Basilius Besler: Helianthus

Basilius Besler's Hortus Eystettensis, first published in 1613, includes this illustration of Helianthus x multiflorus, the sunflower.

A few facts about Basilius Besler and the Hortus Eystettensis

A few facts about Helianthus x multiflorus
1. This plant is native to North America.
2. Helianthus x multiflorus first became known in 1591, when it was described by Tabernaemontanus, a German physician and botanist.
3. Although many helianthuses bear seeds, Helianthus x multiflorus is sterile. This variety is a perennial and is propagated by dividing roots.
4. The common name, sunflower, comes from the Greek: helios, "sun," and anthos, "flower". This refers to the tendency of the plant's flowers to turn toward the sun.


  1. It's a great time for sunflower gazing. I didn't know there were any that are propagated by root division.

  2. That was new one for me, too. In fact, at first I didn't believe it. But I researched it and, sure enough, such a thing exists. It's a cognitive challenge for me to accept!