Rolling Fields of Green and Yellow

May 19, 2012

RAY: This was sent to us by Chris Inman. Here it is:

Last summer I was driving cross country from the east coast to the west coast and I was somewhere in Kansas around noontime. For miles, I am surrounded by farms that are raising a single crop. It's beautiful to look at but confusing to understand. When I look to my right, I see fields of yellow. When I look to my left, I see fields of green. And yet, a single crop is being grown. Explain.

RAY: Here's the answer. At noontime in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is not overhead, it's in the south. What I'm seeing is heleitropism. That's the tendency for flowers to turn and face the sun. The plants on the left side of the road are turned away from me and facing the sun. And the plants on the right are turned toward me and facing the sun. And the crop is sunflowers. So when I look to my right, I see the yellow flower. When I look to the left, I see the green backs of the sunflowers. Who's our winner?

TOM: The winner is Frank Morgan from Williamstown, MA. Congratulations, Frank!

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