Ask a Question forum: Siamese twin/multiple head sunflower? Weird or normal?

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Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
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cwhitt
Sep 16, 2016 4:30 PM CST
Is this sunflower normal? Does this happen often? How? I have never seen this before. It seems to be just one sunflower from underneath, but multiple (6) sunflowers from the top.
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Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
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Australis
Sep 16, 2016 6:35 PM CST
I don't think that's normal. I also grow sunflowers and I've never seen one like that before.
Name: ๐ŸŒบ
(Zone 6b)
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SpringGreenThumb
Sep 16, 2016 6:40 PM CST
I saw one like it.
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
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cwhitt
Sep 17, 2016 6:53 AM CST
I wonder if it is some abnormality? I also wonder if it is worth saving the seeds to see what happens next year.
Our destiny in life is to discover our gift. Our purpose in life is to give it away.
Name: ๐ŸŒบ
(Zone 6b)
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SpringGreenThumb
Sep 17, 2016 6:58 AM CST
You can try it. I think it's like anything else that happens that way... Split cells that don't finish splitting.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Sep 17, 2016 6:58 AM CST
It could be something called fasciation. Is the stem below the flowers thicker/wider than normal?
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
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cwhitt
Sep 17, 2016 5:45 PM CST
@sooby, I would say that the stem looks just as it should. Not wide. I posted a photo of the stem above. I have never heard of fasciation, but now I am reading up on it. Looks like it can have a genetic cause, but also a bacterial cause. Thank You!
Our destiny in life is to discover our gift. Our purpose in life is to give it away.
Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
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Altheabyanothername
Sep 17, 2016 6:07 PM CST
Can Sunflowers get asters yellow? Looks kinda like some coneflowers that get asters yellow. That is a painful thought. May everything else in your garden be ok.
(Zone 8b)
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sallysmom
Sep 17, 2016 7:05 PM CST
Only plants in the aster family are affected by aster yellows. I believe @sooby is right. It is fasciation (spelling?)
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Sep 17, 2016 7:35 PM CST
Sunflowers are in the Asteraceae (aster family) and yes they can get aster yellows. There are other families of plants besides the aster family that can get aster yellows also.
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
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cwhitt
Sep 18, 2016 10:41 AM CST
If it is genetic, then that would be interesting, but if it is either of those diseases, I want to know right away so I can remove that sunflower. I just emailed the photos to my county extension office - their automatic reply says they should contact me within 24 hours. All my other sunflowers seem just fine, and they are not close to this one. Will keep you updated. Sighing!
Our destiny in life is to discover our gift. Our purpose in life is to give it away.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Sep 18, 2016 10:48 AM CST
Fasciation isn't necessarily caused by a disease, it can be from insect damage, some other mechanical injury, environmental factors. Even a perennial plant that has produced a fasciated shoot won't likely do it again the next year. On the other hand, aster yellows is a phytoplasma disease transmitted by insects, usually leafhoppers, and is incurable.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Sep 18, 2016 10:54 AM CST
I've had that happen with sunflowers before, and have a couple this year that are oddly shaped - one looks like it is folded back on itself. I just enjoy the weirdness and don't put much thought into what is going on. May be head-in-the-sand on my part, but it's an annual so what the heck.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: kathy
Michigan
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
katesflowers
Sep 18, 2016 11:12 AM CST
My sunflowers have bloomed double also. I've seen that happen with hosta blooms, cosmos, dandylion and daisies. I'm in zone 4b, sandy loam, full sun.
"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing." Shakespeare
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Sep 18, 2016 12:05 PM CST
Warm welcome Kate! I think it's likely fasciation.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Sep 19, 2016 1:58 PM CST
My veges do weird things sometimes.
I quit along time ago trying to figure out mother nature. And just enjoy
her. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Who knows ! Maybe some day one of us will discover some new kinda vege and make a billion $$$ ๐Ÿ˜Ž I tip my hat to you. Welcome!
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Sep 19, 2016 2:10 PM CST
https://www.sunflowernsa.com/magazine/articles/default.aspx?...
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
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cwhitt
Sep 19, 2016 7:02 PM CST
Thanks, RJ. I just sent sunflowernsa.com an email and the photos. Thank You!
Our destiny in life is to discover our gift. Our purpose in life is to give it away.
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
Amaryllis Roses Annuals Composter Hybridizer Garden Ideas: Level 2
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cwhitt
Sep 20, 2016 10:54 AM CST
From John Sandbakken (Executive Director, National Sunflower Association):
"From the looks of it you have a pest. Not sure but would guess it was some moth or seed maggot."

I Googled pictures of seed maggots and I never saw any of those in my garden, and I also did not notice any moths, but that does not really mean much -- could be possible. In any event, a pest does not bother me as much as a possible virus,
Our destiny in life is to discover our gift. Our purpose in life is to give it away.
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
Amaryllis Roses Annuals Composter Hybridizer Garden Ideas: Level 2
Cat Lover
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cwhitt
Sep 22, 2016 9:45 AM CST
From my county extension office:
It appears to be aster yellows. Aster yellows is caused by a small bacteria, called a phytoplasma. It can occur in over 350 plants including many common vegetables, annual flowering plants, perennial flowering plants and weeds. Aster yellows is caused by a phytoplasma, a small bacteria that lives only within the vascular system of a plant or within the leafhopper that vectors it from plant to plant. Once a plant is infected, the aster yellow phytoplasma moves systemically through the plant, infecting every part from the roots through the flowers. The pathogen affects the plant's growth, development and ability to store nutrients. Once infected with aster yellows, a plant will never recover and there is no way to cure it. You should not save the seeds from this plant. Infected plants should be completely removed from the garden. Infected plant material can be composted because the aster yellows phytoplasma will not survive once the plant material is dead. The following links will provide additional information about aster yellows : http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/you... or http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/flowers/aste... .
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