10 Sunflower Flower Symbolism Facts & Meaning: Zodiac, Superstitions, Dreams, and Myths

Sunflower Flower Symbolism Facts & Meaning: Zodiac, Superstitions, Dreams, and Legends

I
Sunflower Flower Facts

The iconic Sunflower is easily one of the most popular flowers in the world. Its bright yellow petals, dark center, and big size make it a thing of beauty. The Sunflower belongs to the genus Helianthus and is part of the Asteraceae family. The common Sunflower is the most recognizable in the genus.

The binomial name Helianthus Annuus came from the Greek word Helios and Anthos which means sun and flower, respectively. Annuus is Latin for annual describing the Sunflower as an annual herb.

Sunflowers are most recognizable by their big head and yellow petals, although they also come in other colors such as red, orange, and purple. Their heads commonly get as wide as 12 inches in diameter and made up of smaller flowers that self-pollinate and develop into sought-after seeds. Each head can hold over a thousand potential Sunflower seeds.

Sunflowers have tall stems that can reach up to 15-16 feet with different varieties of Sunflowers reaching different heights. The tallest Sunflower on record is up to 30 feet tall!

During their development stage, Sunflowers display heliotropism. The non-adult Sunflowers start the morning facing east and change direction to follow the sun as it journeys west. During the night, the Sunflowers reorient to the east again to wait for the sun. This heliotropism stops, and Sunflowers permanently face east when they mature.

Native to North America, Sunflowers thrive in open sunny planes like prairies. The Spanish Conquistadors took these eye-catching flowers back to Europe, which grew in popularity for their beauty and practical use. Many masters throughout the centuries were inspired to create works of art by the vibrant Sunflower, most notably Van Gogh.

II
Sunflower Flower Uses

Archaeological evidence shows that Sunflowers have been cultivated as far back as 3,000 BC in North America for their uses in medicine, dye, and food. Native Americans considered the Sunflower as the “fourth sister” to the three sisters of corn, beans, and squash. Native Americans use Sunflowers in baking bread as well as in their traditional medicines, like ointments and more particularly in the treatment of snake bites.

There are many edible uses for Sunflowers, both for humans and animals. Sunflowers are harvested en masse for their oil, which is used as a healthier alternative for cooking oil because of the very low content concerning saturated fatty acid. Sunflower butter is also produced as an alternative to peanut butter for those with peanut allergies.

The Sunflower seeds are edible and can be used in recipes or a snack itself. The seeds are also used as bird feeds and huge attractions to pollinating insects. The remaining parts of the harvested Sunflowers are used as fodder for livestock.

The vibrant yellow colors of the Sunflowers are used as natural dyes used in fabric, body paints, and other decorations.

Sunflowers are also used as ornamental flowers. There are a variety of Sunflowers called dwarf Sunflowers that can thrive inside homes and used as beautiful decorations.

Lastly, Sunflowers have a vital use in cleaning up soils that are exposed to nuclear waste. Sunflowers were planted by scientists to heal the soil around the Chernobyl explosion and the Fukushima disaster because they can help the land recover by absorbing toxic materials in the soil such as lead, arsenic, and radiation.

III
Sunflower Flower History

The Sunflowers have been cultivated around 3,000 BC by Native Americans in places to what is now known as New Mexico and Arizona. Many tribes used the flower as it is used today for food, medicine, and ornamental decorations.

The Spanish conquistadors took Sunflower seeds and introduced them to Europe in 1500 and the sun-like flowers gained immense popularity as ornamental decorations and as an anti-inflammatory medicine to a lesser extent.

The Sunflower’s popularity eventually spread to Ukraine and Russia for its oil. Its popularity was hugely catapulted in the 19th century when the Russian Orthodox Church banned the use of oil, excluding Sunflower oil. The demand for Sunflower oil was so high that farmers built 2 million acres to produce commercialized Sunflower oil.

Back in America, Russian Sunflower seeds were introduced by Russian immigrants, where commercialized Sunflower oil was produced and gained popularity. Today, the cultivation of Sunflowers is a huge industry. There are also over 80 different species of Sunflowers developed to grace our gardens and homes.

IV
Sunflower Flower Positive Symbolism

Because of the Sunflower’s sun-like appearance, it has come to symbolize many positive meanings. They represent happiness and admiration because of their vibrant yellow petals that invoke cheer in people. They also symbolize loyalty, devotion, strength, and resilience. And because they always face the sun, Sunflowers have also become symbols of optimism.

V
Sunflower Flower Negative Symbolism

Due to their association with positivity, its negative representation of haughtiness, and unhappy love had become lesser known. They were also a symbol of false riches when Spanish explorers mistook a Sunflower field for gold when they first arrived in Peru.

VI
Sunflower Flower Cultural Symbolism

The Sunflower has inspired different meanings and symbolism across the world. Incan priestesses in Peru wore gold jewelry shaped like Sunflowers as they worship their sun god. The Native Americans also used the Sunflower for worship as it was one of the most important crops at that time.

The Sunflower is the national flower of both Ukraine and Russia, as well as the state flower of Kansas. In China, Sunflowers symbolize good luck and lasting happiness and are commonly gifted to new business owners and graduating students.

In recent times, the Sunflower has become a symbol of the fight against nuclear weapons and nuclear waste.

VII
Sunflower Flower Zodiac Sign

The Sunflowers are at most associated with the zodiac sign Leo. Leo’s symbol is the lion, very fitting to the mane-like petals of the Sunflower. Leos have vibrant personalities that quickly grab the attention of those around them, much like the vibrant colors of the Sunflower. Leos love to be in the spotlight, mirroring the Sunflower’s love for the sun.

VIII
Sunflower Flower in Dreams

Dreaming of Sunflowers is often a good sign that happiness and prosperity are to come. It could also mean good news, peace, pleasure, and warmth. In some contexts, given the interpretations, dreaming of Sunflowers can also mean you should check your egotism, haughtiness, and even inferiority complex that may cause people to take advantage of.

IX
Sunflower Flower Omens and Superstitions

There are several superstitions surrounding the Sunflower across the world. It is said that planting Sunflowers around the house will cause luck to follow you every time you leave the house, bathing in the yellow petals of Sunflower increases fertility, and treating a person with Sunflower seeds or placing Sunflower oil in their food will cause them to be devoted to you. Also, placing a Sunflower under your pillow at night is believed to reveal the truth the next day.

X
Sunflower Flower Mythology and Folklore

There is a story of the Sunflower in Greek mythology. It is said that a nymph, named Clytie, loved the sun god Apollo. However, he rejected her advances in favor of another nymph. Out of jealousy, Clytie told the nymph’s father, causing him to bury his daughter alive. Outraged, Apollo turned Clytie into a Sunflower. Today, the Sunflower continues to follow the sun as it travels across the sky, still yearning for Apollo’s love.


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