The sunflower is synonymous with happiness, loyalty, and warmth. The iconic bright yellow flower also symbolizes a tight friendship. In fact, the beauty of sunflowers has influenced various cultures and inspired many iconic artworks. Few things in the world are more stunning than a field of sunflowers in full bloom.
Furthermore, sunflower is not just pretty but also provides us with tasty snacks. It is a fact that the salted seeds of sunflower are Eastern Europe’s specialty. You can even extract oil from it for cooking lubricant. It is a versatile life-giving plant that we all should appreciate. They also serve as pet feed, especially for birds and hamsters.
However, there are so many things about the sunflower that you might not know. Check the following 15 informative facts about sunflowers to fill your pocket of curiosity!
1. Common Sunflowers Are Colorful
We all know that the common sunflowers, Helianthus annuus, are famous for their vibrant yellow color resemblance to the sun. However, there are so many colorful common sunflowers in the world, not only yellow.
The reddish-brown petals Prado Red Shade is one of the colorful Helianthus annuus. Then, they have the Strawberry Blonde sunflower, which offers another sweet color to the common sunflower species. It has a unique combination of rose-pink, burgundy, and yellow with a dark disk.
Another colorful common sunflower that exists is the creamy vanilla Coconut Ice sunflower. It will turn bright white with a chocolate disk. These colorful common sunflowers are not widely known compared to the yellow variant.
2. Sunflowers Only Live Once
Most sunflowers are Helianthus annuus. Like their species name in Latin, annuus, they are annual plants that need to be replanted every year because it only lives once. This characteristic makes sunflowers live at most in one season for a year.
The sunflowers have around 20 days only in full bloom, usually in summer. You can get some of them as your bouquet or wreath material. These annual flowers also tend to stand alone and grow from a single stem to bloom a single sunflower.
3. The Tallest Sunflower in Germany Broke Guinness World Records
Hans-Peter Schiffer from Germany broke his own records for the third time in Guinness World Records for the tallest sunflower. In 2014, the happy green-fingered man registered a new record for his 9.17-meter tall sunflower.
The new tallest sunflower needed scaffolding and the local fire department’s help to measure its height. It broke the older records for tallest sunflower in 2009 with 8.03 meters, 2012 with 8.23 meters, and 2013 with 8.75 meters.
4. Van Gogh’s Sunflower Paintings: The Masterpieces
Many painters and artists use sunflowers as their inspiration and muse. Among all the beautiful masterpieces, the sunflower paintings from Vincent Van Gogh are the most famous ones. He has various works named Sunflowers, from sunflowers in a vase to withered sunflowers.
The sunflower paintings helped him do color experiments, making his creations look more phenomenal. Van Gogh created these sunflower paintings to express gratitude. Many artists paint sunflowers, but they don’t have the same popularity as Van Gogh’s ones. In fact, if you Google sunflower painting, Van Gogh’s paintings would be featured.
5. Sunflower Seeds Offer The Golden Ratio With The Fibonacci Sequence
If you look closely at the central part of a sunflower, you will see sunflower seeds forming a spiral pattern. The beautiful spirals follow the Fibonacci sequence, curving to the left and right.
Nature is very unique that it follows the mathematical rule to optimize itself. The flower always follows the Fibonacci sequence because it provides the best space for the seeds. Furthermore, it leads these seeds to have the golden ratio. All of these things are purely natural, like scientific magic.
6. Sunflowers Are Hyperaccumulators
Sunflowers can absorb high concentrations of toxic materials from a contaminated environment, such as heavy metals. Because of this ability, sunflowers are called hyperaccumulators.
The sunflowers pull the isotope out of the soil that naturally cleanses the dirt without harming the earth and its surrounding ecosystems. Thus, sunflowers are planted across Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear incidents to help remove the radiation in the ground as they are hyperaccumulator plants.
7. A Canadian Family’s Sunflower Field Is Closed Due To Unexpected Visitors
Many people acknowledge the beauty of sunflower fields. To get a portrait of you in the middle of a shiny flower field is a privilege. A Canadian family, the Bogles, who owns a sunflower field in Toronto, has to shut their land down from visitors due to unfortunate incidents.
Back in 2015, they successfully held a small visiting event for tourists. However, when they attempted the second event in 2018, a disaster happened on the eighth day of the two weeks event. Their field goes viral on social media without their knowledge.
Thousands of cars, approximately 7,000 cars, are lining up the main street to the point where the police need to stand by. Series of disrespectful visitors take pictures while harming their field. Many sunflowers have to die for the sake of perfect social media selfies. As farmers, it hurts them so much that they decide not to open the sunflower field to tourists for the rest of the season.
8. Many Countries Hold The Sunflower Festival Every Year
There are many sunflower festivals that you can enjoy for the summer holiday. For example, the United States, Canada, and Australia always hold the sunflower festival every year. If you come to Vancouver, Canada, you can choose one of the three sunflower festivals they have.
Enjoy the sunflower maze at Richmond Sunflower Festival, book a sunflower picnic at Maan Farms Sunflower Festival, or admire 42 sunflower varieties at Chilliwack Sunflower Festival.
You can try harvesting three sunflowers at the South Carolina Sunflower Festival in the United States or walking down the sunflower path with your lovely pet at Kalbar Sunflower Festival in Australia. In fact, many other countries hold sunflower festivals. You can find the details online.
9. Sunflower Seeds Grow In Space For Experiments
A U.S. Astronaut and ISS resident, Don Pettit, does a personal space experiment with sunflower seeds. Actually, sunflower seeds became the main topic of the HEFLEX space experiment in 1982. The sunflower seeds traveled to space, but unfortunately, they suffered a fungal blight.
A year later, the sterilization technique is applied and helps the seeds safe from disease. In 2012, Pettit shared a picture of the bright yellow experiment sunflower that successfully grew in space, at the ISS, to be exact. It is such a fun fact that a sunflower could bloom in outer space.
10. Sunflower and Disney
The Lost Sunflower refers to the character of a young, black female centaur in the Pastoral Symphony segment of Disney’s movie Fantasia. Disney always re-released their films, either animation or live-action ones.
The classical Fantasia meets the editing process several times. However, in 1969, Disney removed four scenes where Sunflower appears. It is because Sunflower resembles an African American child in a racist design. In 2000, Disney returned with “the original” version of Fantasia by reframing the deleted four scenes and not showing Sunflower.
11. The Sunflower Is Ukraine’s National Flower
Despite being a popular flower, there are many more facts about sunflowers. The following will discuss why sunflower is popular in Eastern Europe.
In the 1800s, sunflowers were brought to Russia and Ukraine. They intend to commercialize, mainly to make sunflower oil. Today, Ukraine is the biggest producer and exporter of sunflower oil and seeds.
Thus, sunflowers take a significant role in the country’s culture, heritage, and economy, which gets them the national flower’s important title. The sunflower also represents warmth as the national flower, symbolizing hope and unity in the crisis period.
12. Sunflowers Follow The Circadian Rhythm When Tracking The Sun
Here is more fun facts about sunflowers that you didn’t know before! Sunflowers are best known for their ability to track the sun’s movement. Young sunflowers do heliotropic behavior to grow. Meanwhile, the mature sunflowers will only head to the east for pollination.
However, on cloudy days, the sunflowers will only face upwards. The experts explain that the plants eventually forget their standard movement patterns when the sun is around. They will grow straight upwards against the force of gravity instead of following their circadian rhythm.
13. The phobia of Sunflowers is Called Helianthophobia
Some facts about sunflowers may sound a little bit discomforting. If we think the sunflower is beautiful and warm, some people may find the yellow flower disturbing. Helianthophobia is the phobia of sunflowers. Phobia is sometimes hard to explain to people who do not experience the same feeling.
People with this phobia have different reasons why the flowers seem dreadful. Many say it comes from the flower’s large and dark center disc. Some others are afraid of the inhuman size of the fully bloomed sunflowers.
The big head of a giant, fully bloomed sunflower will attract many pollinators that can trigger someone’s fear. Some people can’t even name the reason why they have helianthophobia.
14. The Sunflower is The Official State Flower of Kansas
We have discussed some facts about sunflowers and how they influence an area. Sunflowers are also very closely related to Kansas, not just Eastern Europe. In 1903, Kansas declared the wild native sunflower its official state flower. You can find sunflowers in every state’s identity, such as “The Sunflower State” nickname, the floral emblem, and the Kansas quarter state flag.
The state, particularly Goodland, is also a part of the Big Easel Project of Van Gigh’s Three Sunflowers in a Vase. This painting becomes one of the largest easels that simultaneously strengthen “The Sunflower State” nickname. The series of sunflower usage on the official attributes affirms the sunflower as the official flower of Kansas.
15. Sunflowers are Used as a Medical Treatment
Sunflowers are beautiful plants edible from the roots, leaves, petals, and seeds. It is often used as a medicinal herb by people since a long time ago. For example, The Cherokee made sunflower leaves infusion for kidney treatment.
The Navaho-Ramah used the pulverized seed and root to prevent horse falling injury. Sunflowers were also effective as a medical treatment for high fever, sores and swelling ointment, and spider and snakebites.
With these facts about sunflowers, you might gain something. You may get an idea of where you will spend your summer holiday destination. Or you can try to cultivate sunflowers to cure pain. The facts about the vibrant flowers can also rid your doubt about making the sunflower bouquet or ornaments as gifts for your loved one. This flower is indeed the symbol of love and warm emotion.