7 Cool Sunflower Facts

5 min read

Sunflowers are the brightest flowers that exist. You have likely seen them in many places, including art and movies. Even cartoons use them to great effect. Some of these cartoons give the sunflowers faces and personalities that reflect their brightness.

Seeing a sunflower is enough to bring happiness to many people. In fact, there are many people around the world who state that these are their favorite flowers. What makes this even more impressive is that some of these people have never seen one in person.

Sunflowers have more to offer than beauty, though, as they are very versatile. This article covers seven cool sunflower facts that you need to know. These are:

  • They’re native to North America
  • Royalty took them to Russia
  • They’ve been popular for centuries
  • They require a lot of sun and a lot of room
  • They have sun-tracking skills
  • Healing is in their DNA
  • The legion

They’re Native to North America

Many people around the world believe that sunflowers originated in Europe. There are numerous things in the media that also hint at this. However, Europe has no claim to the origin of these beautiful flowers.

Crops such as corn, potatoes, and tomatoes share a similar story. These also did not originate in Europe, as is commonly believed.

Sunflowers came on the scene around 3000 BCE in North America. Back then, they were developed and used for oil, dye, medicine, and food. After this discovery, they were exported to other countries around the world. These exports were done around 1500 by Spanish conquistadors.

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Royalty Took Them to Russia

The first trip that these beautiful flowers made to Russia was with a royal individual. This was none other than Tsar Peter the Great, who was enchanted with the flowers. He saw them while he was in the Netherlands, and they had an immense impact on him.

He was so stricken that he decided to take some with him to Russia. Their popularity in the country shot through the roof because of Lent. Other oils were banned during Lent while sunflower seed oil was not.

By the time the 19th century rolled around, Russia was planting two million acres of sunflowers annually.

They’ve Been Popular for Centuries 

As stated before, they originated in North America ages ago. However, they were not necessarily popular at the time. Their popularity began to emerge in the 19th century. At the time, Russian immigrants brought sunflower seeds to the United States.

With all the time that the seeds had been in Russia, experiments had taken place. The result was a slew of more developed sunflowers. These flowers had bigger blooms. When they were seen in the USA, interest in the plant grew again.

This exploded in 1946 when sunflower oil was produced by Missouri farmers. This was after Canada invented a mechanical device for crushing plant seeds.

They Require a Lot of Sun and a Lot of Room

Is it any surprise that sunflowers require a lot of sun? They do look like it, after all, so it’s only natural. If you want your sunflowers to grow well, you’re looking at up to eight hours of sun daily. In fact, they can do even better under even more sun.

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While it’s scary to think about, these plants can reach heights of up to 16 feet. Note that there are numerous varieties, and some of these thrive at greater or lesser heights.

Note that you should never plant sunflowers close to each other. Doing so causes competition, which is very dangerous. Competing plants do not blossom as brilliantly as they can.

They Have Sun-tracking Skills

This one probably sounds super weird to hear, but it is true. Sunflowers have an intriguing behavior that is called heliotropism. Depending on your view, you may find it strange more than you find it intriguing.

The young blossoms and the flower buds demonstrate this to the greatest effect. As you know, the sun rises in the east. Therefore, these buds and blossoms face east during sunrise. As the day progresses, they move and follow the sun as the earth moves.

This doesn’t continue forever, though, as mature flower heads are stiffer and heavier. For this reason, the mature flower heads face east all the time.

Healing Is in Their DNA

Did you know that sunflowers were healers? While you may not hear about sunflowers too much in the world of medicine, they do work wonders. Of course, this depends on what you’re trying to target.

Take Mexico, for example. Many natives of Mexico have used the sunflower to mitigate chest pains. In fact, many Native American tribes attest to the healing properties of the beautiful plant.

The Cherokee once used a sunflower leaf infusion to tackle a kidney ailment. Additionally, the Dakota used it to help with soothing pulmonary issues and chest pain.

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The sunflower is not commonly used in this manner today, but it remains a viable option.

The Legion 

You’re probably wondering what this refers to, right? Well, how many flowers do you see when you look at a single sunflower? Your answer may be one, but you’d be surprised to hear that you’re wrong.

The head of a sunflower is more complex than it gets credit for. In fact, it is made up of numerous small flowers. The ray florets, which you see on the outside, cannot reproduce. The disc florets in the middle, however, have both male and female reproductive organs. This allows for self-pollination. Of course, pollination can still occur with the help of the wind or insects.

Summary

Sunflowers are known for their beauty and cheerfulness. However, there is more to these amazing plants than many people understand. This article looked at seven amazing facts that you may not have known about them.

Sunflowers are native to North America. A tsar was the first one to take them to Russia. They have been popular since the 19th century. The plants grow their best with a lot of sun and a lot of space. Young flower heads move with the sun. Though their healing effects are not widely explored, these effects do exist. A sunflower head consists of numerous flowers.

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