The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant native to the Americas. It possesses a large inflorescence (flowering head), and its name is derived from the flower's shape and image, which is often used to depict the sun. The plant has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves, and circular flower heads. The heads consist of many individual flowers which mature into seeds, often in the hundreds, on a receptacle base.
From the Americas, sunflower seeds were brought to Europe in the 16th century, where, along with sunflower oil, they became a widespread cooking ingredient. Leaves of the sunflower can be used as cattle feed, while the stems contain a fibre which may be used in paper production. (wikipedia)
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- The Latin name for sunflower is derived from the Greek word helios, meaning sun, and anthos, meaning flower; the second part of the Latin name for sunflower, annus, means yearly. The sunflower’s name believed to be originated from its connection to the sun. A sunflower needs a lot of sun and follows the sun’s movements across the sky from east to west, this process is called heliotropism.
- Sunflowers have been cultivated and harvested by many cultures for at least 4,500 years.
- The sunflower is a native of South America; it is believed that many ancient cultures used the sunflower for its therapeutic properties and in culinary practice. The Aztec and the Inca cultures believed that the sunflower represented the sun and therefore worshiped the sunflower accordingly.
- Sunflowers are well known for their ability to grow very tall and their heads can be equally huge but do you know a single sunflower head is made up of 1,000 to 2,000 tiny individual flowers called florets that are joined together to the base.
- Sunflowers are an annual plant and are easily identifiable by a large, bright yellow flower head. There are more than 60 different varieties of sunflowers that can be found in the world but the most common is bright yellow with dark brown centers filled with seeds.
- Do you know? The tallest sunflower was grown in the Netherlands in 1986 and it was 25' 5.5" tall
- Sunflowers are grown for their edible seeds and the phytosterol from the sunflower seeds is known to make the immune system better and reduce the risk of cancer when used daily. Most South Asian countries also use sunflower oil to cook food because of the same reason that it is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and reduces the chances of cardiac strokes.
- Both the seeds and the oil of the sunflower are used in food preparations; sunflower oil is used in salads and as a frying oil. Sunflower seeds are a good source of nutrition and are high in vitamin D, vitamin B, niacin, and protein; sunflower seeds can be roasted. Sunflower seeds are also used to make butter. Sunflower seeds are excellent source of nutrition.
- Birds love sunflower seeds and planting sunflowers in your garden is the easiest way to attract not only birds but also butterflies.
- The residual content once the oil is squeezed from the seeds is used as feed for livestock.