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‘Sunflower Mystery’ Has Unintended Consequences On NH Highways

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Sunflowers blooming along Route 101 in Epping, NH. (WBZ-TV)

Sunflowers blooming along Route 101 in Epping, NH. (WBZ-TV)

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EPPING, N.H. (CBS) — An accident involving flowers on the highway is probably better than an accident involving cars.

A botanical mix-up resulted in sunflowers being planted at seven locations along New Hampshire highways.

“It was a sunflower mystery,” said Bill Boynton of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. “People comment on how great it was we planted these sunflowers and then through further investigation, we found that wasn’t part of our plans.”

Boyton says the sunflowers were planted in various areas of the state in wildflower beds as part of a beautification project dating back to the 1960′s.

This year, when they planted the wildflower seeds, they had no idea sunflowers seeds were in the mix, Boyton said.

Because of the rainfall over the summer, the sunflowers have suddenly burst into bloom.

“There’s something dramatic about sunflowers, they certain have a presence and they bring smiles to people’s’ faces,” Boyton said.

The sunflowers have also had unintended consequences.

New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation says they have received reports of drivers stopping on the highway just to take a photograph.

“We certainly would discourage anyone from stopping on major highways to take pictures,” Boyton said. “Just enjoy them as you drive by.”

Although the Department of Transportation says they have gotten a lot of “bang for the buck” when it comes to positive response, they probably won’t be planting anymore sunflowers.

“It’s all been very positive in terms of feedback but it was all really an accident,” Boyton said.

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