Here at The Humble Gardener we’d like to brighten up your day with a few fun facts about these vibrant plants. Mixed in with these interesting tidbits are photos from Humble Gardener readers!
1. Sunflowers are incredibly intricate. An individual plant contains 1,000 – 2,000 blooms.
Photo courtesy Joellen Hamilton
2. The tallest sunflower was grown in the Netherlands by M. Heijmf in 1986, and was 25 feet, 5Ω inches tall.
3. There are more than 60 different types of sunflowers out there! Besides the standard bright yellow-with-dark brown-center variety, you can find shades of orange, red, maroon and tan. Some sunflowers even bloom with striped petals!
Teddy Bear sunflowers from Kathryn Smith’s garden.
4. The sunflower was domesticated as far back as 2600 B.C. in Mesoamerica. Natives of the region got a calcium boost by consuming the seeds.
5. Sunflowers also served plenty of other purposes throughout history! Native Americans made a yellow dye by extracting color from the petals, created body paint for religious occasions from sunflower oil, and based the dates in their hunting calendar off the flowering cycle of the plant.
Photo courtesy Mary Utterback
6. Ever heard of heliotropism? It’s that amazing thing sunflower buds do: track the sun with their heads. They start the day facing east, shifting gradually throughout the day until they’re turned west.
7. Sunflowers inspired the creation of a solar deity for the Aztecs. They worshipped the plants, adorning their temples with gold-engraved images of sunflowers and creating crowns from them for their princesses.
A potted sunflower from Karen King.