August Flower of the Month: Sunflower

Is there a better flower to represent the hot sunny days of August then the aptly named Sunflower? We don’t think so!

These sun-seeking flowers have been cultivated in North America as far back as 3000BC and were prized for food, medicine, dye and as a source of oil. Their sunny disposition captured the attention of Czar Peter the Great, who had seeds brought to Russia so he could enjoy their beauty. Russian immigrants later returned the favor by bringing seeds that produced larger blooms and varieties. Modern varieties come in various shades of yellow ranging from butter yellow to yellow-orange; a red-brown tinged color, and even a red-purple color. Sunflowers can grow between 12’-16’ in height, although, you’ll find much shorter ones here in the cooler!

Young Sunflowers will follow the path of the sun through the day, a trait called heliotropism. They slowly lose the ability as they mature at which point most of them remain facing the East. One reason to track the sun is to keep their center florets warm...why? Because the warmth attracts five times more pollinators! An utterly fascinating fact about our Flower of the Month is that the center is made up of thousands of tiny flowers! The main corona we see surrounding the face is made up of a type of petal called ray florets, while the center is filled with pollen-bearing disk florets, ready to greet any passing butterflies or bees. These tiny flowers rely upon the wind and pollinators for fertilization in order to produce the tasty seeds we love to snack on. Another fun fact- in 2014 a Guinness World Record was toppled by Hans-Peter Schiffer with a 30’1” tallest Sunflower submission!

Sunflowers were a favorite of Van Gogh, Diego Rivera and Gaugin, so if they are your favorite you’re in good company. Give us a call and we will set aside some sunny Sunflowers just for you throughout the month of August!