It is believed that there are hundreds of thousands of different types of flowers in the world today. More precisely, at this moment, that number exceeds 270 thousand. Each of these flowers has its own story. In this article, we will tell you one of them. It is a story about the sunflower.
We believe that sunflower is well known to you, considering that it is increasingly popular in flower arrangements of every flower store in Dubai. However, in case you didn’t have the opportunity to listen to the story of sunflower’s life so far, please, keep on reading, and you will find out what makes sunflower so unique.
Name and Origin of Sunflower
Sunflower belongs to the genus Helianthus, whose name comes from the Greek words “helios” and “anthos” (Sun and flower). The sunflower got its name because of its tendency to follow the movement of the Sun. Sunflower is believed to have been first cultivated by the Mexican Indians as far back as 2600 BC. Sunflowers arrived in Europe in the middle of the 16th century.
Legends About the Origin of the Sunflower
There are several legends about the origin of the sunflower. According to the first legend, the sunflower was created due to unrequited love between Apollo (Sun God) and Clytia (nymph). Namely, Clytia was very much in love with Apollo. However, Apollo quickly stopped returning her love, falling in love with Leucothoe (daughter of the Babylonian king Orhan).
As an act of jealousy, Clytia told the king of their secret relationship. Upon learning of this, the king ordered that his daughter be buried alive. After that, Apollo never looked at Clytia again. After nine days and nights spent standing in place and gazing following the Sun, Clytia turned into a Sunflower. A flower that follows the Sun.
According to another legend, the sunflower was created in a completely different way. The story goes like this.
One day, a strange and inconspicuous flower appeared in a beautiful garden. All the other flowers in the garden mocked him for his ugliness and simplicity. The flower was alone, abandoned, and with its head down during the night. However, as soon as dawn broke, the flower raised its head towards the Sun and followed it faithfully throughout the day. The Sun decided to reward that sad flower’s love and gave it the color of its rays. After that, the small and ugly flower became the tallest and most beautiful in the garden. That flower is called a Sunflower.
Meaning and Symbolism of the Sunflower
Due to the first myth of Apollo and Clytia, the sunflower was considered a symbol of worship and devotion in ancient cultures. However, the meaning of sunflower varies depending on the culture. For example, in China, the sunflower is associated with long life, happiness, and good health. While for the Indians, the sunflower was a symbol of light and fertility. Furthermore, for the Incas, the sunflower was a symbol of the Sun God and was offered as a gift to their Gods in temples.
Significance of Sunflower in Culture
Sunflower inspired many artists. The most famous sunflowers depicted were those painted by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. Namely, he presented all the beauty of the sunflower through two series of paintings. The first series of paintings was created in 1887 in Paris, and it depicts sunflowers lying down. A year later, another series of Van Gogh’s paintings with the Sunflower motif was created. This time, however, Sunflowers were painted in a vase.
Sunflowers are still an inspiration for many artists today. In addition to paintings, a sunflower is increasingly found in arrangements, but also flower shops.
Use of Sunflower
Centuries ago, the sunflower was used in many different ways. The Indians, who started growing sunflowers, used it for food and medicine (sunflower stalk juice was used for medicinal purposes).
Today, the sunflower is mainly grown for agricultural purposes (sunflower with oilseeds is grown for this purpose). Sunflower oil is used in the kitchen, but also for making cosmetics. The use of sunflower oil in the diet improves health and lowers cholesterol.
Interesting Facts About Sunflowers
By studying sunflowers, scientists have made an astonishing discovery. They discovered that the seeds inside a sunflower strictly follow the Fibonacci sequence (1,2,3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89 …). Alan Turing, a British mathematician, first presented this discovery. He believed that by studying the sunflower, essential findings could be made about how all plants grow.
Also, Sunflowers are a perfect solution for reducing radiation. For example, the whole fields of sunflowers are planted in Japan to eliminate the problem of radiation caused by radioactive substances.
As you can see, a sunflower is much more than just a flower. If you are interested in a more detailed story about a sunflower, see the following link: https://www.thespruce.com/fun-facts-about-sunflowers-3972329.
As you can see, a sunflower is much more than just an ordinary flower. It is a living being, with his own exciting life story. The next time you walk past a flower shop and see a sunflower in it, don’t just walk past it. Buy it as a gift as there is undoubtedly someone who would enjoy a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers.