Summer, the season of sunflowers. It’s in full swing here in North America and our beloved blossoms are showing up in farmers’ markets and flower shops all over. If you love seeing and celebrating the sunflower as much as we do, you might enjoy a little sunflower trivia.
Here’s our ode to sunflowers, which hopefully will delight you with 5 fun facts about the bold and beautiful bloom.
1. Sunflowers Are Native To the Americas
Sunflowers didn’t originate in Europe, even though you may think so after seeing field after field of them in pictures of Provence and more. Native North Americans cultivated them as far back as 3000 BCE, where they were grown for food, dye, medicine and oil.
2. Royalty Brought Them to Russia
Tsar Peter the Great became fascinated by sunflowers he saw growing in the Netherlands, so he brought some back to Russia. Because the Russian Orthodox Church didn’t ban sunflower seed oil during Lent like it did other oils, the oil-producing blossom became popular to the count of roughly 2 million acres of them planted each year.
3. Bigger and Better Flowers to America?
Russians immigrating to America in the 19th century brought their highly developed sunflower seeds, which could produce bigger blooms. These flowers sparked a renewed interest in the native plant and sunflower production (including its oil) exploded.
4. Sunflowers Look Like the Sun and Need the Sun
It’s fitting that sunflowers look like the sun because they require the energy of the sun – a lot of it! Sunflowers grow best when they receive about 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day, but even more is better!
5. Sunflowers Track the Sun
If you place a sunflower bud or new blossom facing east in the morning, it will track the sun as it moves around the earth throughout the day. Try it! Heliotropism is the name of this behavior, but it comes with the exception of flowers staying facing east during times of heavier seed production.
Do you know any sunflower trivia you can share with us? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.