There are about 70 species of sunflowers. We might all be familiar with the yellow sunflower but different colours are ranging from white to orange, purple, yellow, brown, black and the common red sunflower. There are dwarf sunflowers and tall sunflowers. Here are our 10 favourite sunflower facts:
1) Sunflowers In Art
Vincent Van Gogh was one of the most famous painters in history. He changed the world of art forever. His art inspired many other artists to create sunflower paintings. Here is his famous sunflower painting.
His friend Paul Gauguin painted a portrait of Vincent Van Gogh named ‘The Painter of Sunflowers’. It’s Vincent painting his famous sunflower painting – view it here.
A Mexican artist, Diego Rivera was inspired by Vincent – here is his painting of sunflowers.
2) Sunflowers and Ancient History
Before we go any further listing sunflower facts, let’s go back to ancient history and explore sunflowers in mythology & culture
A young woman in Greek mythology named Clytie fell in love with a man named Apollo. She became jealous when she found him with another girl. When he refused to marry her, she transformed herself into a sunflower. This is why we see sunflowers growing so high up in the air.
Sunflowers hold special meaning to the Incas. They believed that the flowers represented the sun. Because of this belief, they often planted sunflower seeds in their temple grounds.
The first known reference to sunflowers was found in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians believed that sunflowers were sacred, and they would bury them with mummies.
3) Sunflowers are edible
Sunflowers are edible, which makes them a perfect snack food. The seeds inside the flower are delicious, and they taste similar to popcorn.
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin A, B3 and Vitamin C. It is said that sunflower seeds can help you get more energy.
Sunflowers Can Be Used For Oil Production
Sunflowers are often grown for their oil production. This oil can be used for cooking, salad dressings, and soap. When sunflowers are harvested, the seeds are separated from the rest of the plant. Then, the seeds are dried and ground into a powder. Finally, the oil is extracted from the seed.
Oilseed sunflowers produce large amounts of edible seed. This seed can be used to make bird food. It has a dark brown shell which makes it an attractive snack for birds.
Sunflower plants produce seeds that contain oils that can help heal damaged skin and has an Anti-Inflammatory Effect.
Sunflower Oils Can Reduce Cholesterol Levels – People should consume sunflower oil instead of butter because it contains high amounts of polyunsaturated fats. This oil also supplies the body with long-chain fatty acids which are vital for good health.
Sunflowers Can Be Processed Into Sunbutter – Sunflower seed butter has fewer calories than peanut or almond butter. It also contains more nutrients.
4) Direction of growing Sunflowers
Sunflowers Follow The Sun
Sunflowers are fascinating because they look just like small suns. When they are young, they follow the sun. This is important because, without enough light, they cannot produce seeds.
Mature Sunflowers Face East
As sunflowers reach maturity their internal clock slows down so they will no longer turn toward the sun. This is why sunflowers face east.
5) Sunflower Habitat
Sunflowers prefer warm weather and lots of sunshine. They also need good drainage so their roots don’t get waterlogged.
6) radiation Sunflower facts
Sunflowers have been planted to help soak up nuclear radiation. Sunflower seeds can absorb radioactive elements from the soil. This is why researchers in Fukushima, Japan plant sunflowers to help clean up contaminated areas from nuclear disasters.
Sunflowers can absorb radioactive material from the soil. This makes them good plants to use in areas affected by radiation leaks.
7) Sunflowers Height
How can we list facts about sunflowers without mentioning their height! This is because their flowers contain lots of seeds that need protection from predators. A huge plant needs lots of food too, so it has many leaves and branches.
8) Thousands of tiny flowers
- Sunflowers’ heads are composed of many small flowers.
- Each flower has its reproductive parts.
- It produces only one type of seed, but it can pollinate itself.
- A sunflower has thousands of tiny flowers inside its head.
9) They have travelled to space
Astronaut Don Pettit grew a space sunflower onboard the space station.
Astronaut Don Pettit took some sunflower seeds with him on his trip to the International Space Station. He planted them there so he could study their growth.
Nasa is working on a Starshade – a spacecraft that looks like a giant sunflower to collect images from other planets
The sunflower facts make you appreciate the flower even more! However, did you know as great as they are they don’t last for long? If you are after a plant that lasts all year round – check out this artificial sunflower bunch