Does anything scream "summer" like a sunflower field? Just the sight of them brightens our day. Who could resist a smile seeing these yellow-petaled beauties? It's almost like they're smiling back at us, offering us sunshine and happiness. We've loved seeing the huge sunflowers shoot up six feet tall in our garden in Lyons, and our curiosity got the best of us - we've decided to share some of our favorite facts about these harbingers of summertime joy.
Did you know...
- Sunflowers are thought to have medicinal properties? In Mexico, they're thought to cure chest pain, and the Dakota tribe uses them for the same purpose. The Cherokee people use the leaves of the sunflower for kidney issues. The Cochiti people of New Mexico use the juice from cut-up stems for cuts and wounds. Sunflower oil is packed with vitamins A and D, making it great for your skin.
- Sunflowers can decontaminate the soil after radiation leaks? They have been used after the disaster in Chernobyl and more recently in Fukushima, Japan. The thought of a sunflower field healing the damage to the earth after radioactive poisoning is so beautiful to us!
- Sunflowers literally follow the sun? Through plant behavior called heliotropism, they face the sun in the morning and track it as it moves from east to west, repeating the process every morning. We can't blame them - we know how good it feels to have our face basking in the sun's rays. When there is no sun, they face each other. So wholesome!
- Sunflowers are native to the Americas? On top of the aforementioned medicinal properties, indigenous peoples as far back as 3000 BCE also used every part of the sunflower for dyes, building material, and food. Sunflowers have been bringing humans joy and practical benefits for thousands of years.
- We can also use different parts of the sunflower today? For example, the flower heads, once all the seeds have been harvested, can be used as sturdy scrubbing pads. We're all about sustainable materials.
Why do you love sunflowers? Let us know in the comments -- we love hearing from you.