Sunflowers are a gorgeous addition to any garden and are widely cultivated due to the variety of uses for their seeds. This list of facts shows that there’s more than meets the eye with this towering flower!
Sunflowers are native to the United States.
This amazing plant is thought to have originated around 3,000 B.C. in southwestern areas of the country that would eventually become Arizona and New Mexico.
North and South Dakota produce nearly 75 percent of today’s American sunflower crop.
Despite its origins in the southwest, the sunflower is most commonly produced in North Dakota and South Dakota, followed by Texas, Minnesota, and Kansas.
Two meanings in one name.
Some say the flower got its name because of the way it resembles the actual sun while others say the name comes from the fact that it appears to lean toward the actual sun throughout the day.
Sunflower seeds are not really seeds!
Well, maybe not exactly. The harvested part of the sunflower commonly known as the “seeds” is technically called an “achene” in the botanical world. The definition of achene is the dried fruit from a plant in which the hull is nearly filled by an unattached seed.
Sunflower seeds grow into delicious sunflower sprouts.
Germinating the seeds produces sprouts that may be eaten raw or cooked and make great garnishes to salads, stir-fried dishes, and more!
The color of sunflower seeds indicates their commercial use.
Sunflower seed husks have two major patterns: black and striped. Striped sunflower seeds, often called confectionery sunflower seeds, are eaten as snacks. Black sunflower seeds are generally pressed into oil.
That’s one tall plant!
Sunflowers can grow anywhere from 9 to 27 feet tall!
The sunflower was representative of the aesthetic movement.
In the 19th century, many European artists moved away from making political comment to focusing on the beauty in nature, or aesthetics, with their art. The image above is a Vincent Van Gogh piece titled “Lausanne” Sunflowers, 1888.
Of course, these are only a few sunflower facts. Stay tuned for more need-to-know tidbits about the sunflower!