The sunflower is loved for its vibrant color and cheerful presentation, and it has a lively history to rival that of its looks. Symbolizing loyalty and longevity, the sunflower is a North American native flower and was used by American Indian tribes throughout the continent for a variety of purposes. Native Americans were the first to domesticate the plants, and from that they produced flowers in black, red and white, among others. They also took care to use every bit of the flower after harvest. Seeds were used to make flour, seed meal to mix with vegetables, or to be eaten whole. They also squeezed oil from the seeds to use in cooking. The petals were used to make dye for textiles and body painting, and the dried sunflower stalks were used as material for building.
About 1500 years after the earliest recorded use of sunflowers, in 1500 BC, Spanish explorers took the sunflower to Europe, where it became wildly popular for decor, given its beauty. Sunflower oil subsequently became very popular in Russia due to the fact that it was not one of the many food oils that were forbidden to be consumed during Lent by the Russian Orthodox Church. It wasn’t too long before Russian farmers were responsible for more than 2 million acres of sunflower production, one type for oil production and one type for all other uses.
In 1930, Canada started the first sunflower breeding program run by a government. Eventually sunflower production moved to the US and it was hybridized in the mid-seventies, making them resistant to disease. In present days, sunflowers are highly regarded for yielding sunflower seed snack foods and sunflower oil, which has made a popular resurgence as those who are health concious want to stay away from vegetable and corn oils. They are also revered for their decorative element; found gracing homes in both bouquet form, or other non-living artistic renditions.
If you would like your own burst of sunflower beauty, you can order this simple, yet stunning, bouquet of sunflowers, which come perfectly arranged in their own vase. Available in 9, 12 and 15 stems, an arrangement of sunflowers is a great way to instantly lift the spirits.
Sunflowers are a beautiful flower with so many uses and a long history, make a perfect bouquet a part of your home today with a renewed sense of appreciation!