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Flower Facts: Everything You Need to Know About Sunflowers

Flower Facts: Everything You Need to Know About Sunflowers

posted: 2020-11-09 17:30:00 +0800

“Every friend is to the other a sun, and a sunflower also. He attracts and follows.” – Jean Paul

The sunny sunflower exudes happiness and summer with its large yellow flower and sturdy tall stem. The common sunflower, also known as Helianthus annuus is the most common and recognisable type of sunflower used by florists, gardeners, farmers, and flower enthusiasts but the Helianthus genus consists of more than 70 different varieties. Sunflowers are often grown for their oil, edible seeds, or as décor in flower bouquets or the garden. Curious to know more about this amazing flower? Give Gift Boutique Hong Kong has everything you need to know about the gorgeous sunflower.

Naming and Myth  

Sunflower is derived from the Greek words helios meaning the sun, and anthos, meaning flower. Sunflowers are heliotropes as many young sunflowers will always reposition themselves to face the sun. More mature sunflowers will always face east. Its tendencies to face the sun, as well as its shape, is likely where its Greek name comes from.

The Greeks have a myth about the sun god Helios and his nymph lover Clytie on the creation of the sunflower. Helios took on a new lover in which Clytie told the father of his new lover about the relationship in which she was punished by being buried alive. Helios turned her into a sunflower and since Clytie still loved Helios, even in her flower form, she would watch him as he moved the sun with his chariot across the sky.

Scientific Information

Helianthus includes around 70 species of flowers and is in the daisy family. Most species grow in temperate regions but some favour tropical regions. Sunflowers generally grow during the summer with the peak growing season around mid-summer, the flowers can generally last until early fall.

Origins

Except for three of the South American species, most sunflowers are native to North America and Central America. Native Americans were the first to cultivate sunflowers around 3000 BCE as they grew them for food, flour, medicine, dye, and oil. Sunflowers reached Europe after Spanish conquistadors took the flower back around the 1500s.

Photo by Jordan Cormack on Unsplash

History of Sunflowers

When the Spanish brought the sunflowers back from the new world, it spread across Europe. Tsar Peter the Great was so enthralled by sunflowers when visited the Netherlands that he took some back to Russia. Between the 1700-1800s, the Russians began growing sunflowers in large quantities creating many new hybrids, some of which made it back to the new world and still grow today such as the Russian Mammoth.

Sunflower Colours

Many people think that sunflowers only come in one shade, yellow. While that is true for some of the more prominent species there are some varieties of sunflowers that can come in shades of orange, red, brown, and even and purple!

Different Sunflower Types:

While most people are familiar with sunflowers in a large or a tall form there are other types of sunflowers that can come in dwarf sizes and different colours.