The Sunflower has a repeating pattern. Every morning, the Sunflower follows the sun from East to West then ends up in the original eastern position to wait for the sun to come up again the next morning. This is an amazing plant because it has a type of motion sensor and the motion is performed by motor cells inside its pulvinus.
Sunflowers have been around since ancient times and they were used for multi-purposes by the Native American Indians. There are many different varieties of sunflowers, just as there are people. This sunflower blooming at this time of the year in Flower Mound, Texas grows 3 to 8 feet tall.
The wild sunflowers do not have repeating patterns. They are like a wild child who doesn't have any rules to follow. The wild sunflowers do not follow the sun from east to west, but rather their flowering heads faces many directions when they are mature.
The sunflowers has served it's purpose on earth well as a food source and medicinal purposes too. The seeds of the sunflower were commonly used by American Indians to barter or the plant was used for a snake bite remedy. As a food source, the seeds can be pounded into flour for cakes, breads or mixed with other food products, such as corn, squash and beans. Sunflower oil is extracted from the seeds and used for cooking.
Sunflower seeds are used today as a healthy snack and can be used in many different recipes. Here's a nice Summer Salad that can be fun to make and very nutritious to eat.
Spinach & Cranberry Summer Salad
1 10 oz package pre-washed fresh spinach
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 sunflower kernels, roasted
1/4 cup rasberry vinegar
1/4 cup raspberry jam
1/4 sunflower oil
Blend dressing ingredients. To serve, mix salad ingredients and drizzle with dressing, tossing to coat.
Recipe by National Sunflower Association
Throughout the life cycle, every part of the sunflower can be used for many different purposes, which includes holiday decorations, purple dye for textiles, some body painting and crafts. The dried stalk was used for building materials. The oils are still used for skin and hair products. In the wild, birds and bees depend on them for their survival. Pet stores sell sunflower seeds for people who love to feed the birds.
When you think about it, the sunflower is a phenomenal plant. In Greek, helios means "sun" and anthos means "flower." The next time you see a sunflower, please stop to appreciate the fact that this flower has been paying-it-forward since practically, the beginning of time.
Photos and written content by Patricia Feager, Keller Williams Realty, 2011. Not to be copied or reproduced. Recipe by the National Sunflower Association.