Sunflower is also known as Helianthus based on its scientific name. It is an annual herb having a stem about 1-1.5 meters tall. Sunflowers have a hairy stem and rough leaves. Their attractive head is almost 7.5 to 15 cm wide in wild specimens, whereas it can be 30 cm wider in a cultivated environment. They belong to the kingdom Plantae and Asteraceae families.
Sunflowers can grow up to 1.8m tall and are usually present in woodland, moist, and prairie-like areas. Sunflower plants firstly got originated in America. They later got domesticated in Mexico and the Southern United States.
In Greek, Helios means the “Sun,” and Anthos means “Flower.” The plant got its name because it only turns towards the sun. Native people of the United States used to grow Sunflower as crops before. Sunflowers are also known as the source of edible seeds.
Here are some interesting facts about Sunflower::
1. Sunflower follows the sun
Also, according to the research, Sunflowers are known to follow the sun. These flowers tend to follow the natural circadian rhythm to receive light for the photosynthesis process. When these flowers get matured, they tend to follow the East, where the sun rises.
When the Sunflower reaches its maturity, its internal clock starts to slow down. They also tend to finish their heliotropism behavior. However, the process doesn’t harm the plant. Another main reason for them to follow the East is to attract more pollinators. Also, when they face the sun, they quickly get warmed.
2. All the sunflowers aren’t yellow
Is it yellow? No, here are some facts about Sunflowers variant color. There are two more colors of the Sunflower. They are born with Purple and Red colors as well. There are different variances of a red Sunflower.
Some red Sunflowers have daisy-like heads. They are perfect for adding a pop of color to a bouquet. A purple Sunflower is also known as Chianti Hybrid. Chianti Hybrid plants have petals with deep dark red color classified as Purple color. These types of sunflowers can grow up to 5 meters but lack pollen. However, it can help to maintain a balanced color in the bouquet.
3. Sunflower oil has some benefits
People used to cultivate Sunflower for their seeds. Their seeds can use to make oils as well. Sunflower oil is highly beneficial for human beings. They are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. It contains linoleic acid that can get converted into arachidonic acid later. These acids fall into the category of fatty acids and reduce water loss and repair the skin barrier.
Sunflower oil also reduces triglycerides in blood and cholesterol. It can help to eliminate heart disease. It is also known as one of the best natural oil for the skin. Sunflower oil is also known as a healthy alternative to butter.
It contains vitamin E, which is beneficial for our skin. Vitamin E is known to be the top antioxidants. These facts about sunflower are essential for our immune system.
4. Sunflower produces two types of seed
There are oilseeds and non-oilseed produced by the Sunflower. The oilseed sunflower production is the most commonly cultivated and present. Black oilseeds are also a common type of bird food as they contain thin shells with fat content. These sunflowers get farmed for oil extraction purposes. Hence, you may rarely find black sunflower oil for human consumption purposes.
On the other hand, Non-oil seed is the type of Sunflower for human consumption purposes. These seeds are protected and shelled by striped hulls. The non-oil seed grows on the head part of the flower. They are high in Vitamin E and selenium that helps to prevent chronic diseases.
5. Did you know about Sun butter?
One of the amazing facts about Sunflower is sun butter. You may have heard about peanut butter, almond butter, but have you heard about sunflower seed butter? Sunflower seed butter is the best alternative for those who are allergic to nuts.
The sunflower seed butter comes with health benefits as well. It has comparatively less saturated fat than peanut butter. Also, it has more minerals compared to both peanut and almond butter. It is also a good source of protein, magnesium, and healthy fats. It is similar to other butter. You can spread the butter on your toast, pancake, waffles, oatmeal, etc. The butter may also help you to lose weight as it has enough source of nutrients than fats.
6. They can self-pollinate
Self-pollination is one of the mechanisms where flowers tend to stay alive. In the situation where the stigma doesn’t receive pollen, it will twist and wrap around its pollen. One of the common ways of sunflowers pollinating is attracting bees and transferring pollen to other stigmas. Also, seeds produced from the self-pollination process can help them be similar to their original sunflower plant.
However, self-pollination doesn’t create diversified offsprings. Some plants fail to adapt to the environment as well. The ability of self-pollination is also one of the surprising facts about sunflower.
7. Did you know about the Teddy bear sunflower?
These sunflowers are different from other common sunflowers. Teddy bear sunflowers are bushy and spherical in appearance. They tend to produce double blooms that lead them to have fluffy heads like a bear. Their unusual anatomy led them to receive an award of Garden Merit as well.
These flowers are for decorations as well. Also, some people use teddy bear flowers for cake decorations. Their heavy and attractive physicality enhances the beauty of anything. These sunflowers produce flowers after eight weeks of planting the seed. They tend to attract bees and butterflies throughout the summer and are usually active during summertime.
8. They have thousands of tiny flower in their head
As we have hair in our heads, sunflowers do have hair in the form of thousands of mini flowers. Each petal present in the circumference of the head is a flower itself. Their long and colorful petals are known as “Ray Florets.” Ray florets cannot reproduce, but the disc florets present in the middle can. Disc florets are present in the middle where the seeds produce. It has both male and female sex organs. Each of these organs is known for generating seeds.
These are some interesting facts about Sunflower. The plant kingdom has its own ecosystem and process, but some of the features and abilities of Sunflowers are different from other herbs.
References::(Last Updated On: April 4, 2021)