There are a lot more to this classic, yellow, and bright Sunflowers than meets the eye. These bright Sunflowers will brighten anyone’s day, making them as cheerful as the sun!
Did you know that they truly follow the sun’s direction, from dawn to sunset? Even at night, it’s like they’re waiting for the sun to rise again by facing east. It could be a reminder for us to always stand tall and look for the light, even on our darkest days.
They not only look and follow the sun, but they also require a lot of sunlight to grow. Sunflowers require at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. If they’re blocked by other plants, they’ll grow taller than the others to get more sunlight.
We still got more stories and facts about sunflowers that you probably do not know yet. Check this out!
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Background Story from Greek Mythology
This story is a narrative of Clytie and Apollo, the sun god. Apollo, who was already having a relationship with Clytie, was struck by the beauty of a king’s princess named Leucothoe one day. Although Leucothoe’s father forbade her from seeing Apollo, it does not stop them. One night, Clytie found them in the middle of their affair. Then she informed Leucothoe’s father out of jealousy. Leucothoe’s father was very angry and ordered her to be buried alive. Apollo then transformed her into a sunflower.
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Sunflower Historical Facts
Sunflowers are North American natives that are now grown all over the world. They were first planted around 3000 BCE and used for food, medicine, pigment, and oil. According to research by the University of Missouri, North Dakota is the leading sunflower-producing state in the United States. Spanish conquistadors exported them around 1500. Then sunflowers spread to the rest of the world.
The sunflower was brought to Russia by a royalty, Tsar Peter the Great. He was so amused with a sunflower he saw in the Netherlands. Then he brought some with him to Russia. Apparently, sunflower seed oil was not prohibited by the Russian Orthodox Church, unlike other oil. It makes sunflowers very popular in Russia.
Sunflowers also set a world record. Hans Peter in Germany grew the tallest sunflower in the world. It was over 30 feet tall. Officials from the Guinness Book of World Records even used an electric crane to measure the tall sunflower!
Sunflowers are also a flower that has ever visited space. Don Pettit, a U.S. astronaut, carried some sunflower seeds to the International Space Station in 2012. Petit kept a blog about his blossoming friendship and shared images of the gardening process daily.
Sunflower Botanical Facts
Sunflower consists of thousand little flowers
When you look closely at a Sunflower’s head, you’ll notice that it consists of thousands of tiny flowers called florets. A typical sunflower can have up to 2,000 florets.
Sunflower can self-pollinate
Sunflowers also can self-pollinate if there are no bees (or other pollinators) available. Although this is not optimal for the gene pool, the seeds in their flower heads can self-pollinate, ensuring their survival.
Sunflowers aren’t all yellow.
Yellow sunflowers are the most common. But the pigment of a sunflower does not stop there. Sunflowers come in a variety of colors, including red and purple. Red sunflowers come in many shapes. Most of them have daisy-like heads. They are also known as Ruby Eclipse, Red Wave, Moulin Rouge, and Joker. Then there is Chianti Hybrid which features deep, dark red petals that some call purple sunflower.
Sunflower Benefits Facts
Aside from their beauty, sunflowers have other advantages. Their plants are edible from top to bottom. When consumed, each part has its benefits.
The flowers were once known as a chest pain reliever in Mexico. The plant’s healing properties were endorsed by several Native American tribes. The Cherokee used a sunflower leaf infusion to cure renal problems, while the Dakota used it to treat chest pain and pulmonary difficulties.
Sunflower oil is known for having an anti-inflammatory effect. It contains Linoleic acid that can be converted to arachidonic acid. These two acids are fatty acids that can aid in water loss reduction and skin barrier restoration.
Sunflower oil is also an excellent substitute for butter. It has high polyunsaturated fat. According to an American Heart Association study, eating more polyunsaturated fats lowers cholesterol levels.
Sunflower seeds are known to be used as snacks. Sunflower seeds come in two varieties: oilseed and non-oilseed. The oilseed sunflower is the most widely grown. The hulls of these seeds are covered in solid black shells. Because black oilseeds are primarily grown for oil extraction, it’s doubtful that you’ll find them packaged for human consumption. Non-oilseed is the variety that is used for human consumption. The striped hulls protect these seeds. The sunflower’s non-oilseeds grow on the flower crown. Sunflower seeds contain Vitamin E and selenium, both of which aid to avoid chronic disease.
Sunflower seed is also used to make sun butter. Sunflower seed butter can be a substitution for peanut butter if you have a nut allergy. According to the USDA, sunflower seed butter has much less saturated fat and contains more nutrients than peanut butter.