Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers. They are such happy flowers. I am often fascinated by flowers in general, being a florist I get to experience a wide variety of flowers on almost a daily basis. But sunflowers hold some special place for me. I like to grow them, plant the seeds, wait for them to pop their little heads through the soil, grow taller and taller, and then there is a bud! and wait and wait for the first sign of that yellow to show! And then the glorious blooms appear and slowly open soaking up the sun. Then they bow their heads and become food for the bugs! The bees and the butterflies love them as well. This is one of mine from this year’s crop.
So what about this history behind these beauties?
Although it was commonly accepted that the sunflower was first domesticated in what is now the southeastern US, roughly 5000 years ago,there is evidence that it was first domesticated in Mexico around 2600 BC. These crops were found in Tabasco, Mexico at the San Andres dig site. The earliest known examples in the United States of a fully domesticated sunflower have been found in Tennessee, and date to around 2300 BC. Many indigenous american peoples used the sunflower as the symbol of their solar deity, including the Aztecs and the Otomi of Mexico and the Incas in South America. In 1510 early Spanish explorers encountered the sunflower in the Americas and carried its seeds back to Europe. Of the four plants known to have been domesticated in what is now the eastern continental United States and to have become important agricultural commodities, the sunflower is currently the most economically important..