A field of sunflowers is a great sight to behold. These bright blooms are as warm and inviting as the summer sun. A symbol of loyalty and adoration, sunflowers never fail to bring a smile to someone’s face, and they make a perfect gift for any occasion. Here are seven interesting facts you may not know about these beautiful flowers:
While sunflowers may look like one giant bloom, they are actually thousands of tiny flowers. Each sunflower head is made up of many nectar-rich flowers, making them a good food for bees.
Sunflowers have different meanings. They can be used to express positive emotions, such as luck, happiness, friendship, adoration, and warmth. Sunflowers are the perfect gift to lift the spirit of anyone experiencing a difficult time.
Sunflowers move in the direction of the sun. They have an internal circadian clock that enables them to track the sun, moving from east to west as the day progresses.
However, they only follow the sun when young. Once they are fully grown, sunflowers face the east in order to attract insects and other pollinators.
Although the average height of a sunflower is between 9 to 12 feet, they can grow much taller. In fact, the world’s tallest sunflower measured 30 feet and required a multi-level scaffolding to remain stable. It was grown by veteran gardener Hans-Peter Schiffer in Karst, Germany, who has held the record three times before.
Helianthus Annus is the commonest and most popular type of sunflower. But there are many other species of sunflower, which are native to Central and North America. Apart from the yellow sunflower most people are familiar with, there are also white and red varieties of the plant. Sunflowers also come in different shapes.
Sunflowers are not just pretty flowers. They have an excellent ability to soak up toxins like radiation and heavy metals from the soil. Millions of sunflowers were planted after the Fukushima and Hiroshima nuclear disasters to help absorb toxins from the affected areas.
Sunflowers are referred to as “hyperaccumulators” because of their incredible ability to absorb high concentrations of contaminants in their tissues. Some scientists believe that plants usually develop this ability to make themselves unattractive to herbivores that may want to eat them.
Historically, sunflowers are native to North America and have been grown for several thousand years. This may be because all the parts of the plant can be eaten. People used to eat the leaves, stems, and roots of sunflowers. As a matter of fact, the American Indians started growing the plant before they began to cultivate other crops like corn.
In the past, sunflowers were ground to make flour, and even today, many people are still using sunflower oil to cool. The flower pigments and oil may be used to produce dyes, while the stalk can be used for construction work.
The use of sunflowers for decoration became popular in the 1500s when Spanish conquistadors took the plant to Europe.