Did you know that sunflowers always face the sun? Heliotropism is a diurnal behavior of plant parts that move in the direction of the sun. Sunflowers are native to North and South America and were domesticated around 1000 B.C. In greek the word ‘helios’ means sun and anthos means flower.
The sunflower is a large blossom made of a disc and surrounded by ray florets, which are usually yellow, but depending on the variety can be maroon or orange. The head consists of about 1,000 to 2,000 petals. These radiant flowers are cultivated mostly for their seeds and as fresh cut flowers. The seeds are refined to produce sunflower oil, and accounts for 14% of the world production of seed oils. Sunflower seeds have excellent health properties, especially zinc, which is accountable for functions in the immune system. Other nutritional properties include fiber, calcium, vitamin E, iron, and selenium.
At Virgin Farms we generally bring in the mini sunflowers from Ecuador. Sunflowers are popular around harvest time, and especially for Thanksgiving. They symbolize adoration, loyalty and longevity. When processing your sunflowers, remove the leaves below vase level and cut the stems at a sharp angle. Be sure to use a vase strong enough to support the weight of stem and bloom.