Sunflower belongs to the genus Helianthus containing around 70 species of flowering plants.
The species of Helianthus are considered to be native to North and Central America.
This plant was possibly one of the first plant that was domesticated in the North and Central America.
Native Americans were believed to have cultivated the sunflower and used it for medicinal purposes, for food, but also using its long stalks for building purposes.
Native Americans used the juice from the sunflower stems for treating wounds.
They also infused the plant in water and used it to treat chest pain and kidneys.
This plant was introduced to European people in the 1500 by the Spanish. Europeans first used the sunflower for decoration and not for food.
The use of this plant for food begun through a strange set of circumstances.
The demand for sunflower oil skyrocketed as the Russian Orthodox Church imposed dietary restrictions regarding foods made with oils and fats during Lent. Sunflower oil was allowed, and this caused a high demand for this product.
During this time the most recognizable variety of sunflower was created, the so-called Mammoth Russian, or the common sunflower as it is mostly known, a giant sunflower with a giant head full of seeds standing on a very thin stalk, which is nonetheless very firm and strong.
The common sunflower’s appearance is similar to the Sun. Sunflowers can grow to be up to 3 meters tall. Each sunflower is a disc containing tiny flowers which form a large one.
Sunflowers are mostly yellow, but there are some other varieties, e.g. orange, red, and purple.
One of sunflowers peculiarities is their tendency to tilt their heads to face the sun before blooming. This trait is called heliotropism.
During the night, the heads position and face the east expecting the sun to rise. By the time they reach maturity they stop moving and remain in the position facing east.
This unique trait of the sunflower gave the name to the plant.
The seeds of this unusual flower are full of oil and are used for food, and the seeds are also edible and very nutritional and healthy.
Sunflowers are known for reducing cholesterol and improving heart health. The oil is used for cooking but also in beauty products.
Sunflower butter is made from sunflower seeds, is a non-allergenic and a great alternative to peanut butter.
Sunflower in mythology
Sunflowers are mentioned in Greek mythology.
Clytie was the daughter of the titans, Oceanus, and Tethys. She was one of the nymphs.
Clytie was the lover of the sun god Helios, who abandoned her for another woman, the princess Leucothoe.
Bitter and in despair, Clytie told Leucothoe’s father about this affair, and her father buried Leucothoe alive.
Her action didn’t manage to bring Helios back to her. She spend days without food gazing at the sun, Helios, but to no avail.
After nine days, Clytie was transformed into a sunflower, destined to look at the sun every day as it passes across the sky, and forever mourn the lost love with Helios.
Sunflowers in the arts
Sunflowers are used in arts of various cultures and countries. Because it is a worldwide spread plant, the flower was an inspiration to artists from the entire world.
One of the world famous artists who was inspired greatly by sunflowers, was the Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh, who painted a series of paintings featuring sunflowers.
For this famous painter, sunflowers were a symbol of gratitude.
The first sunflower art was created by the Native Americans. They depicted them in their artwork, but also used processed sunflowers for creating pigments.
They managed to produce purple and bright yellow pigments from the seeds and flowers, which they used to paint their pottery and other artwork.
Europeans used sunflowers in their paintings since the 1500s.
The sunflower was one of the favorite flowers of the French sun king Louis XIV and English Charles I. King Louis XIV even considered the sunflower as his symbol.
French royalty of the times of King Louis XIV and later in times was presented in paintings that featured sunflowers.
During the 1700s and 1800s sunflowers stopped being used in decorative purposes and their use begun for food, medicines, fibers, and dyes.
In 1800s the manufacture of some vibrant new pigments begun, and this inspired artists like Vincent Van Gogh and others to paint this flower.
Symbolism of different colors of sunflowers
Yellow sunflowers are the most common and known of all. In this color, the sunflower symbolizes honor, royalty, understanding, and truthfulness.
Orange sunflowers are not very common. They symbolize joy and optimism, happiness, and enthusiasm.
Red sunflowers are even more rare. They have red petals with black borders which makes their appearance truly unique and beautiful.
Sunflowers in red color symbolize energy, power, and overall optimistic and positive attitude.
Sunflowers in white color are a rare sight to be seen. These flowers are not exactly white but white with a hint of yellow.
White sunflowers symbolize stability, virtue, longing, and in some cultures, reincarnation.
They are often used as a decoration in weddings, and wedding bouquets.
Pink sunflowers are gorgeously beautiful. They have a dose of mystery attached to them because we cannot know which shade of pink will turn out in the flower.
Pink sunflowers are a symbol of integrity, majesty, recognition, and impression. They are also the flower of love.
Sunflower has many different symbolism, but overall it has a very optimistic and beneficial meaning.
It is the symbol of adoration and loyalty. It is also the symbol of longevity, vitality, and good fortune.
Sunflowers are the symbol of abundance, prosperity, and growth.
They are also a symbol of happiness and joy. They represent intelligence and wisdom, but also spiritual knowledge and spiritual path. It is a sign of hope and optimism.
Because of the story of Clytie from Greek mythology, it can also be considered the symbol of betrayal, tragic love, but also devotion and faithfulness.
Sunflowers are also a symbol of strength because of their incredible durability and strength.
In some cultures, sunflowers are considered a symbol of courage.
For the Chinese, sunflowers symbolize immortality, and were in the beginning eaten only by royalty. Chinese also consider this flower a symbol of good fortune and happiness.
Sunflowers are also considered a symbol of friendship and companionship in general.
For ages, sunflowers have been used to symbolize happiness and love.
They are also a symbol of fertility and new life. They are also a symbol of a bright future.
Because they bloom during summer, sunflowers are also a symbol of summer.
Sunflower bouquets and flower arrangements are given as a sign of joy, optimism, prosperity, and overall progress. Having it in your house will brighten up your mood for sure.
Sunflowers are known as “happy” flowers and they do bring joy and happiness to those who look at them.
Sunflowers symbolize long life and good health.
They are good for brightening your mood because they instill feelings of happiness and optimism.
Most important sunflowers symbolism
Sunflowers are one of the symbols of optimism.
With sunflowers we are reminded of how important optimistic attitude is. They remind us that thinking negatively won’t bring anything good in our life, but the opposite, misery and more reasons to feel bad.
With its radiant colors, and sun shape form, the sunflower is like a smiling face, reminding us that everything changes. After the rain it is inevitable that the sun shines.
The sunflower reminds us how important optimism and expectance of good is. Bad things cannot last eternally, and we should wait patiently and optimistically for them to be replaced with blessings.
Sunflower is a symbol of faith in many cultures. The connection of this plant to the sun and their unexplainable bond is what caused many cultures to connect this flower with divinity.
The sunflower reminds us of the importance of faith, just as it reminds us of the importance of optimism. If we believe that good will befall upon us, we will certainly experience that.
This flower reminds us to have faith in God and his protection. When all else fails we give up our efforts and turn to God for help.
Sunflowers remind us to maintain our faith and trust in God to help us overcome our struggles and lead the life we desire.
- Prosperity and abundance
Symbolically, sunflowers are representation of prosperity and abundance. Even the plant itself symbolically represents abundance being filed with numerous seedlings that cannot be counted.
The process of planting and nurturing the sunflower plants is like the process of gaining prosperity and abundance. It takes time, effort, and patience.
It is the same as with planting these plants and waiting for the fruits of our efforts, which will eventually turn into financial gains and prosperity.
The sunflower reminds us that strong will, patience, and effort are required to be prosperous and abundant.
This symbolism is also attached to the symbolisms of faith and optimism because it also takes our faith and optimism believing that we will eventually prosper and become abundant to get us to where we desire to be.
If we lack faith and optimistic thinking, we won’t reap the fruits our labor because if we expect that we will fail, then we will certainly experience the outcome of such negative thinking and we will lack the prosperity and abundance we desire.
- Happiness and joy
Happiness and joy are important meanings and symbols of the sunflower.
This flower is known to instill these feelings in those who look at them. Looking at a sunflower is like looking at a smiling face. No one can remain sad or in a bad mood.
Just like the sun is the source of life and joy the sunflower is also. No one can be in a bad mood during a sunny day.
Even if everything is bad in our life currently we still find the strength and motivation to keep on going and smile and be happy when the sun shines bright.
Similar to that, sunflowers bring us happiness and joy just by their existence. Possibly this happens due to their strong resemblance to the sun and the association we have when we see them.
- Longevity and good health
Sunflowers are considered the flower of immortality, longevity, and good health in many cultures throughout the world, especially in Chinese.
This flower inspires us to take good care of ourself, and our wellbeing thus ensuring vitality and good health for years to come. It promotes prolonging our life by having a healthy diet and moderate lifestyle.
This flower inspires us to exercise and spend time in nature. It helps us reconnect with nature to experience its healing benefits.
Just looking at these flowers makes us feel better, it improves our mood, and makes us feel happy.
Sunflowers are the flowers known to balance the sacral and solar plexus chakras, with their yellow-orange color and soothing qualities.
Sunflowers are considered a flower of friendship and companionship. This is an excellent flower to gift to a friend or someone you would like to be good friends with.
The main reason is the brightness of feelings it inspires and the sense of relaxation which is necessary between people who hang around all the time.
This flower makes people bond despite of their differences.
Sunflowers are with full right considered a symbol of strength. Their anatomy is the proof for that.
The strength of the pole which holds a giant head of the flower filed with seeds on the top of the pole is incredible.
They don’t only withstand the weight of the flower head, but also the impact of wind and elements which bend the pole left and right.
Let us not forget the length of the pole which can be up to 3 meters in height and how incredibly thin it looks. The pole is around 2 – 6 centimeters wide, and the inside of the pole is hollow.
The pole of the sunflower is so strong and durable that it has been used as a building material in some cultures.
This flower symbolically reminds us to remember how strong we are and how able we are to endure whatever challenge life puts before us. Sunflowers remind us to endure despite the odds and this will eventually lead us to victory.
- Good fortune
Sunflowers have in many cultures been considered a symbol of good luck.
If someone you know are going through some difficult times and are in need of good fortune, this is an excellent flower to gift to them.
It will inspire faith and optimism and bring happiness and a smile back to their face, which are essential to help them endure until the things in their life are resolved.
Sunflowers will also remind them of their strength and ability to overcome any challenge that comes their way.
It will also inspire them to believe that fortune will be on their side regardless of the circumstances they are experiencing.
- Fertility and new life
Sunflower is the symbol of fertility and new life, mostly because of its anatomy.
When the plant is mature, the head of the flower is filled with seeds. These seeds can then be used to produce many new flowers and it is an endless cycle.
Because there are countless seeds that are used to produce new sunflowers in the head of a sunflower this plant is considered a symbol of fertility and new life.
Sunflowers remind us of the cycle of life, and our part in it. It reminds us how we are all born, we grow, live, and eventually die.
It reminds us that we are all a part of this universal cycle and in a strange way, how all living beings are in fact the same.
Sunflowers are a great gift to people who have become parents, or are expecting a child.
They are also a great gift for those who aspire to become parents in the near future to inspire optimism and faith that their desire will soon become a reality.
What do sunflowers represent spiritually?
Spiritually, sunflowers stimulate our creativity through connecting us to our higher wisdom and understanding.
They are the flower whose growth is directly connected with the Sun and its movement across the sky.
This symbolically represents the connection to the Universal forces and energy.
This flower is indeed a powerful one, and even its shape confirms it with its strong resemblance to the Sun.
Beyond comparison to some other fellow flowers which are breathtakingly beautiful, the sunflower steals the spotlight with its simplicity and yet royal demeanor.
Sunflowers help us ground and become connected to our higher self. They can help us calm during stormy days and times of uncertainty.
Sunflowers are the flowers of the solar plexus and sacral chakra.
With the color yellow and orange petals, these flowers help stimulate and heal these two chakras, making them function properly.
The sacral chakra is connected to the expression of our emotions, sexuality, and creativity.
If it is blocked, the person feels lonely, isolated, and detached from others, experiences episodes of anxiety and depression and bad mood in general.
These people also experience low libido, lack creative inspiration, and generally lack will for life.
The solar plexus chakra is connected to our self-esteem and confidence.
If this chakra is blocked the person might experience issues with their confidence, having problems making decisions and this often manifests as digestive problems.
Sunflowers have a nourishing quality, symbolically representing healing and promoting good health.
They help us get in tune with our inner strength and help us gain faith and optimism that are essential to continue fighting for our goals and desires.
It doesn’t allow negativity to remain present. Just looking at sunflowers, even on pictures immediately brings feelings of happiness and hope for a better future.
They reassure us that everything will be alright in the end despite how frightening the circumstances might appear.
Sunflowers help us become closer to God. As if their strange and unexplainable connection to the Sun, and symbolically God, can represent a link to higher powers.
Sunflowers can help us feel our power even in the most challenging times.
They remind us of the endless river of energy that is hidden within us, and the need to become aware of our power which we need to begin using.
They remind us of the importance of happiness and happy feelings and optimism because negativity only attracts negative circumstances which in turn make us feel worse.
Sunflowers remind us to embrace our individuality and love ourselves. This flower is reminding us to be authentic and respect our uniqueness.
This flower fills us with warmth and reminds us that all will be alright.
It inspires in us seeking the truth and following the path of spiritual enlightenment. It inspires gaining spiritual knowledge to be able to apply the everlasting spiritual laws.
It inspires faith and respect for the world and humanity, for all living beings and the wonders of life. The sunflowers reminds us that we are one in the vast ocean of all.
In esoteric Christianity, this flower symbolically represents God’s love for all beings.
Sunflowers in faith
Sunflowers are flowers with strong connection to deity in many cultures. The tale of Clytie describes the adoration this nymph had for the Greek sun god Helios.
In various cultures and faiths, sunflowers were used to express worship and faith.
Many ancient cultures throughout the world adored the Sun as the source of life and the sunflower was a direct link to this source. This was especially true for the South American cultures.
Sunflowers are strongly connected to the Christian faith. The sunflower turns its head towards the Sun and follows its movement during the day, symbolically adoring it.
Sunflowers are created and given to humans by God, like all other food and seeds on Earth.
In the Bible, The Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, chapter 1:29 it is said “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat”.
This wonderful flower is given to us by God to remind us to be grateful and appreciate our blessings, to maintain our faith and remain optimistic having faith in God and his support along our ways.
Sunflower is a great plant that God has given to humanity. It inspires feelings of optimism and faith in times of despair and helps us maintain determined and persist on the path towards achieving our goals.
This flower is a reminder of our strength and durability. It helps us become aware that we are invincible and helps us confront the challenges that we come across daily.
This flower brightens our days and helps us cheer our mood. When we feel depressed and anxious, when things aren’t working as we would like them to, sunflowers are the best way to bring back the smiles on our face.
Sunflowers are the best aid to someone who is feeling depressed and depleted of will and energy to continue fighting, for people who have given up hope and feel that all is lost.
These flowers remind us of the importance of faith and turning back to God if we ever abandoned him.
It reminds us of his eternal protection and guidance in our life which is enough to make us calm and relaxed knowing that things will work out in the best possible way.
Sunflower reminds us to be happy and optimistic and joyfully expect the next day. It reminds us of the importance of laughing and being surrounded by the people we love.
It inspires us to make friends and take care of those who are already our friends.
The sunflower reminds us that nothing is ever lost in this life, that as long as we are alive we need to keep fighting for our life and what we desire.