Knowing the Sunflower Plant Better
The sunflower is usually an interesting plant whose flower resembles the sun, which earned it the name sunflower directly. It is a favorite flower for most individuals since it presents an implied meaning of hope or new beginnings. Sunflowers are usually robust, with the capability to thrive in different climates, both in tropical and temperate climates. Their uses are wide, making the plant both useful esthetically plus functionally. Even with diverse uses, most individuals, unfortunately, have little or no understanding of the sunflower. When you begin understanding its interesting facts you’ll begin to appreciate why this species has stood the test of time to remain such a relevant flower. Sunflower is not a new plant, but it’s as old as thousands of years with its initial growth being dated from as early as 300 BCE.
Where did the sunflower plant originate from? Interestingly, the plant never came from Europe like many generations often confuse. Before spreading to the entire world, sunflowers were native to North America where natives grew their seeds on their fields for a wide assortment of uses. It only started to spread out to other areas courtesy of Spanish explorers’ who had started traveling in the early 1500s. Interestingly, the seeds were first brought to Russia by a royal family. The Tsar who was Russia’s ruler at the time was impressed by sunflower petals when he saw them in the Netherlands, and he decided to carry some of them back home. They later gained widespread use after people discovered that the Russian orthodox church did not ban the use of its oil during lent, unlike other animal-produced oils.
Sunflower produced oil is preferred to other types of oils since it does not contain any cholesterol making it popular to people who are observing a diet. Another interesting fact about sunflowers is that they require lots of sun rays despite resembling the sun itself. For them to thrive properly, they require at least 6 to 8 hours of sunshine plus even more during the day. Interestingly, their petals are naturally made to follow the path of the sun especially when they are young. If you are keen, you’ll notice the yellow petals oriented eastwards during morning hours and westwards during evening hours. This pattern changes as the plant gets older, but its petals will primarily be oriented to the east. Don’t be mistaken by its few petals, the flower is made of thousands of tiny flowers that are usually visible in the middle as corn seeds.
These smaller flowers are responsible for reproduction with both male and female organs to carry out self-pollination. Did you also know that this plant has made its way to space? This happened in 2012 when some American astronauts led by Don carried a few flowers with them on a mission to space. Once they grow old, the middle part becomes hard enough to be used as a cleaning tool. You can use it to scrub dirty surfaces instead of disposing of the pads away.