SUNFLOWER – Botanical name Helianthus
Having sunflowers in your home is like bringing the sunshine indoors; they light up a place just by their presence.
Their scientific name Helianthus comes from two Greek words, Helios meaning sun, and Anthos, meaning flower. The sunflower often follows the sun which is how got its name. The Common Sunflower has a long history of association with people.
Nearly 3,000 years ago it was domesticated for food production by the Native Americans. The seeds of the wild type of sunflower are only about 5 mm. long. It was only through careful selection for the largest size seeds over hundreds of years that the cultivated sunflower was produced. Lewis and Clark made mention in their journals of its usage by the plains Indians. It was brought back to the Old World by the early European explorers and widely cultivated there also.
Long before corn and beans were brought to America, the Early American natives used the sunflower: they ate the seeds, ground the small kernels into flour, extracted oil from seeds for their hair, and used the seeds, flower petals, and pollen to make dyes for face paint, cloths and baskets.
Many faiths have adopted sunflowers to express a symbol of worship and faithfulness, as in the flower’s faithful dedication to the sun. The golden petals and the blossom’s resemblance to the sun has expanded sunflower meanings to embrace the idea of spiritual knowledge and a worshiper’s devotion to seeking the light of truth. Explorer Francisco Pizarro recorded that priestesses in the Incan empire wore golden sunflowers on their priestly garments. Sunflower images have also been discovered in ancient temples of the Andes. ⠀
The Aztecs (Peru) worshiped sunflowers, they placed sunflower images made of gold in their temples and crowned princesses in the bright yellow flowers.
The Greeks shared the significance of the sunflower through mythology; They celebrated the sunflower’s dedication to the sun through a story of a water nymph who loved Apollo, the god of the sun. The ancient Greeks believed that the water nymph would sit on the earth, gaze at the sun (Apollo, of course) daily. Since Apollo did not notice the water nymph’s attention, the other gods empathized and turned her into a beautiful sunflower.⠀
In many parts of Europe, sunflowers provide leaves for smoking, flower buds for salads, flowers for dyes, and oil for cooking.
The tallest sunflower grown on record was 25 feet tall and was grown in the Netherlands.
The largest sunflower head on record measured 32 1/2 inches across its widest point and was grown in Canada.
BTW, we love sunflowers so much, we have created an entire series of floral arrangements focusing on Sunflowers including the VanGogh featured here:
A dozen beautiful sunflowers arranged in a vase is our tribute to the artist Vincent Van Gogh. He left his mark on the world with his famous paintings called simply “Sunflowers” the name of two series of still life paintings he created. The first series, executed in Paris in 1887, depicts the flowers lying on the ground, while the second set, made a year later in Arles, shows a bouquet of sunflowers in a vase. This is our rendition of the latter. (source: Wikipedia)
Did you know he signed his paintings simply “Vincent” and he would often sign in unusual places, such as on a flowerpot…
Making their way to Europe in the early 1500’s sunflowers were used for gifts carried by Spanish settlers returning home. The sunflower is the National flower of RUSSIA. The great Russian ruler Peter the Great liked sunflowers so much when he saw them in Holland he took seeds back to Russia. By the 1700’s sunflower seeds were being eaten all over Russia.
Brighten someone’s day with Sunflowers from Eden Florist!