The sunflower is a flower that follows the sun.
It is yellow on the outside and brown or black in the middle.
Sunflowers are an annual plant which grow tall,
height can reach up to 12 feet.
The hairy stems are rough and strong.
The round flowerheads can range from 3 to 6 inches wide
or even up to one foot in some species.
An average acre can produce about 50 ushels of seeds.
This large flower has many economic uses.
Every part of the plant from the seeds
to the flowers to the stems to the leaves can be used
for some practical purpose.
The flowers being yellow
can be converted into a yellow dye.
The leaves can be fed to cattle
and poultry or used for mulch.
The stems being fiberous can be transformed into paper.
And the seeds are bursting with valuable oil
which can be used for the art of wool-dressing,
soap-making, candle-making, mixing paint and as a lubricant.
The seeds are diuretic and
have expectorant properties.
They have been used to treat bronchial,
laryngeal and pulmonary affections,
colds, coughs including whooping cough.
Sunflowers are native to Mexico and Peru.
The natives located around the Mexico area
used them for high-energy food
as they did with other seeds as well.
Historians date this first use at around 3000 B.C.
They used the seed grounded into flour for making cakes,
for mush or for breadmaking.
The seeds were also squeezed for oil
which was used for making bread.
The oil was also made for rubbing into the hair and skin.
Sunflowers were also good for purple dye for textiles,
body painting and pottery.
Of course the plant also had a medicinal use
such as snakebite and various body ointments and teas.
Seeds were used in ceremonies and rituals.
The stalks were a sturty building material.
The Aztecs of Peru revered the sunflower
and placed them in their temples of the Sun
and they worked into shape by artistry images
of them in pure gold.
High priestesses who were crowned with sunflowers
also carried them in their hands during special rituals.
The royal sunflower was brought by Spanish explorers
back to Europe. But it was mainly the Russians
who worked to make it the agricultural hybrids
that we know today.
Russian and even German immigrants brought
the sunflower plant back to North America
where they cultivated it abundantly.
There are many important vitamins and minerals
found in sunflowers. The seeds are high protein,
low carbohydrate and
contain the best whole-food source of vitamin E.
Oil from the seeds is a light yellow colour.
It is often compared to olive oil
and consided just as valuable for common use.
There are other uses too
but this is just to introduce you
to the wonderful uses of the sturdy sunflower.
And besides all of this goodness,
it looks great growing in your garden
and the seeds make a good tasting snack too!
This page is dedicated to my sunflower Robert!
You may e-mail:
Updated August 04, 2009
Everything on this website:
CopyrightŠ2002-2009 by Susan and Robert