The showy outer ray petals help attract the pollinators. Bees go from flower to flower within the disc, becoming covered with pollen. They then pollinate other sunflowers as they go from plant to plant. The success of sunflower as a crop for seeds and oil depends totally on bees.
Not only bees and butterflies, but also people visit sunflowers.
First planted by the City of Raleigh’s public utilities department in 2010 along the Neuse River Greenway Trail, a beautiful five-acre batch of sunflowers blooms each year between early- and mid-July. For 2019, they once again called Dorothea Dix Park home.
The sunflowers serve a purpose beyond just acting as a fun summer photo hot-spot—the City harvests the sunflowers to create thousands of gallons of bio diesel, which is then processed into fuel to run tractors, trailers and farm equipment. The flowers are also excellent pollinators—the field serves as a massive pollinator habitat for bees and other species.