Brighten Up a Day with Summer Flowers: History of the Radiant Sunflower

A cheery, bright flower with petals of vivid yellow that appears as warm as the summer sun… It’s not surprising that the sunflower is called the happy flower. Just gazing upon one of these gorgeous flowers is sure to put the sun back in your day.

There are many varieties of sunflowers—just in the U.S. there are 60 kinds! The colors can be the usual varying shades of yellow colored petals, the less common—yet spectacular—red petals, the very rare—but unique—white petals and stunning two-colored petals ranging from reds to golds and oranges to bronzes. A sunflower can grow to be only three feet or a whopping eighteen feet tall; in just a span of six months they can grow eight to twelve feet tall. Wow! No wonder they’ve earned the title as one of the quickest growing plants! You can expect wild sunflowers to begin growing in early June and be in bloom between August and October. But that’s not all there is to know about these vibrant flowers; they have an amazing history and are very symbolic.

Where was the first sunflower grown? Around 1,000 B.C. it initially sprouted right here in North America. Yet Russia is the biggest producer of these glorious flowers and even made the sunflower their national plant. As the rest of the world started to discover the beauty of this flower, it quickly became a popular flower among artists particularly during the Impressionist era.

People also discovered that the sunflower’s a great source for many things. The Native American tribes harvested the sunflower around 3,000 B.C. in current-day New Mexico and Arizona. The tribes had many uses for the flower: seeds were pounded into flour for baking or blended with vegetables like corn, beans and squash; the oil was used for making bread; purple dye was created for body paint, cloth and decorations; sunflower oil was terrific for their hair and skin; other parts of the sunflower were utilized for developing medicinal body ointments and treating snake bites; and the sunflower seeds made a great snack.

The sun is where this flower receives its name from. Besides the fact that it resembles the sun, the sunflower is very special in that, like the sun, it’s capable of providing energy through nutrition. It’s also named after the sun because it follows the sun across the sky. Yet this only occurs while the plant is in the bud stage; sunflowers turn to the east when their petals open up. Why? It’s believed this is done for protection—if the plant was to continually face west or south, the seeds might be burned by the sun on extremely hot days.

These magnificent flowers represent longevity in China and admiration, faith, happiness and loyalty in the western region of the world.

If you know of someone who needs a bit of cheering up, sunflowers are the perfect way to put a smile on their face. Contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you in selecting one of our sunflower bouquets.

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