18 Sunflower Facts You Never Knew

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 “Bring me the sunflower crazed with the love of the light.” – Eugenion Montale

Here Comes The Sun! From munching on the salted seeds packed in my Barbie lunchbox, to growing the gigantic beauties in my garden, I have always had a love affair with sunflowers. I literally skip when my seeds begin to sprout, anxiously awaiting the bright, canary-colored magical bloom! Check out these interesting facts that I never knew about my favorite flower:

The scientific name of sunflowers is Helianthus, Helios for sun and Anthos for flower.

Sunflowers are one of the fastest growing plants, growing up to 12 feet tall within six months.

The tallest sunflower (over 25 feet) was grown in The Netherlands in 1986.

There are more than 60 different kinds of sunflowers, including yellow, orange, red-orange, maroon, tan, peach and striped colors.

The former Soviet Union grows the most sunflowers. The sunflower is the national flower of Russia.

Sunflower heads consist of 1,000 to 2,000 individual flowers joined together by a receptacle base. The large petals around the edge of a sunflower head are individual ray flowers which do not develop into seed.

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“Every friend is to the other a sun, and a sunflower. He attracts and follows.” – Jean Paul Richter

Sunflowers are thought to have existed 3000-8000 years ago. The Aztecs worshipped sunflowers.

Native American Indians used sunflowers for food, oil, in medical ointments, and as dyes and body paints.

Sunflowers are connected to the zodiac sign, Leo.

Kansas is known as the Sunflower State.

The sunflower’s flowering heads track the sun’s movement, a phenomenon known as heliotropism. In French, the word for sunflower is tournesol, meaning “turn with the sun.”

Mature sunflowers can have up to 40% of their weight in oil, which they store as a source of energy and food. Sunflower seeds are crushed to give us oil for cooking.

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 “The sunflower is mine, in a way.” ― Vincent van Gogh

Famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh did a series of paintings featuring and called Sunflowers.

One sunflower can have up to 2000 seeds.

There are two kinds of sunflower seeds: black and stripe. Oil is made from black seeds; snacks are made from striped seeds.

Sunflowers can also be processed into a peanut butter substitute called Sunbutter. In Germany, sunflower seeds are mixed with rye flour to make a type of bread (Sonnenblumenkernbrot).

According to folklore, it is bad luck to cut down a sunflower.

Another folk legend says that if you sleep with a sunflower under your pillow, you will become wise.

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 “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” – Helen Keller

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Resources include:  AmazingandWeird.com and SunflowerPlant.com

Shared with: Motivation Monday, Creative Mondays, Fiesta Friday, Plant Based PotLuck, Gluten Free Fridays, Real Food Fridays

Oh Honey!

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“For bees, the flower is the fountain of life;

For flowers, the bee is the messenger of love.”

Kahlil Gibran

Sugar, Ahh Honey Honey!” (Remember that song? Am I showing my age?) Simply put, I love honey!  I’m the human version of Winnie the Pooh! Seriously, I should have been a bear! I’m not talking about that supermarket fake honey crap sold in clear plastic animals. (Wonder why it’s so cheap?) I’m talking about sweet, pure, sticky, gooey, just-harvested-from-the-local-bees honey. You know, the real liquid gold. Have you ever tasted honey that delectable?  If not, put it on your bucket list. (Just make sure it’s ahead of skydiving!)

I love tasting honey from all over the country (and the world). This golden goodness varies according to season and location because of the different plants and flowers. I visit farmer’s markets just to stalk meet the beekeepers (and of course to sample their delicious honey).  You must try some for yourself. Meet me at the beekeeper’s booth. I will be the one with my hand in the honey jar!

Of course, I am thrilled to celebrate National Honey Bee Day on August 16th and National Honey Month during September. But I honor honey bees everyday. Albert Einstein explained that, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” Bees pollinate most of our food, including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. And of course, busy honey bees make sweet, golden honey. (Oh yeah, baby!)

Honey is truly a magical food. Filled with healing and nutritional properties, its culinary possibilities are endless.  This sweet nectar is also one of the world’s oldest ingredients.


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“The secret of my health is applying honey inside and oil outside.”

Democritus 

(A contemporary of Hippocrates, who lived to the ripe age of 109)

The history of honey is incredible. Spanish cave paintings dating back to 8000BC show the earliest records of beekeeping. European Kings and Queens made (Mead) wine from fermented honey. (Did someone say wine AND honey?! Hello!) Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans offered the “liquid gold” as a gift to the gods.  This food that has been around forever also lasts forever if stored properly. (It doesn’t last long at my house!)  With all its rich history, it is no wonder that honey is so healthful.

With many health benefits, this sweet food is also a natural antimicrobial – effective against viruses and bacteria. Such a powerful healer, the Romans even used honey to heal battle wounds! Honey soothes sore throats and is a natural cough remedy. Choose more nutritious darker honey like buckwheat, avocado, and wildflower, which also adds intensity to food.


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 “The only reason for being a bee that I know of is to make honey…

And the only reason for making honey, is so as I can eat it.”

Winnie the Pooh

My idol, Pooh Bear, couldn’t have said it better! Honey is found in kitchens worldwide. What’s more delicious than golden honey dripping from hot toast? Try drizzling it onto cheese. (Check out my post on gourmet cheese.) Use this gooey treat as a syrup.  You can even bake with it, replacing sugar.  Honey also adds flavor to my sauces, dressings and marinades. This sticky, thick liquid has so many unique and different flavors.  

(Song break! Click on link: Wild Mountain Honey– The Steve Miller Band)

Speaking of Wild Mountain Honey, Busy Bee Farms in Brevard, NC says that, People are missing something if they think sourwood honey is the only honey … They’re missing the dark honey that comes during the early spring, showing almost the same color as molasses. It’s often called tulip-poplar or wildflower honey.” Yum! (Sold at Transylvania Farmer’s Market.)

Rhubarb restaurant in Asheville, NC only uses Busy Bee Tulip Poplar Honey. Can you blame them? Chef de Cuisine Dean Neff explains, “The fragrance is so unmistakable intensely floral. It is one of my favorite single ingredients at Rhubard.”  So, no matter which honey you choose, make sure you use only high quality honey which is both local and pure.


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Get the buzz about bees and honey. Beekeeper at Haywood Historic Farmer’s Market.

“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” 

― Henry David Thoreau

Bee-ware. Sadly, not all honey sold is pure.  Surprise, surprise! Recently, a shocking survey by Food Safety News found that “more than 75% of the honey sold in American supermarkets and drug stores wasn’t honey at all but was instead a watered down, reconstituted mish-mash mixed with other cheaper ingredients.” Look for local raw, unfiltered, all-natural honey .

If you want pure honey then find the beekeeper. I learn so much from beekeepers about the survival and hardships of their hard-working honey bees.  It makes each spoonful of honey that much more special. Here is some delicious honey found in my travels:

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Beth Queen of Queen’s Bee Honey loves her bees.

Beekeeper Beth Queen of Queen’s Bee Honey in Pisgah, NC has a great affection for bees. “We love bees and really take good care of them at our farm. Bees need the farm with its natural habitat to survive. It’s important that you buy pure 100 percent honey, free of pesticides.” Queen’s Bee Honey is sold at Historic Haywood Farmer’s Market in Waynesville, NC.

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Rebecca’s Bees: Local to Pinellas County, Florida,  Rebecca’s Bees says, “The honey our bees produce is as contaminate-free as possible, raw and unfiltered. We keep small cell bees which are able to pollinate different flowers than larger, more commonly kept bees.” Sold at Williams Park Farmer’s Market, St. Pete Beach, FL

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Eden’s Nectar is locally harvested by season.  Each season has a distinctively different taste due to the bees’ pollination cycle. Sample the Flavors of Citrus, Primrose, and Clover.  Sold at Williams Park Farmer’s Market.


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 “Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”

Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

I invite you to celebrate honey bees with me and enjoy honey, Nature’s Golden Miracle. You will bee happy you did. You may just find yourself singing along with The Archies: Click here for song 

Bringing my passion for sweet honey over to my friends at Fiesta Friday #29!  Remember, “A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.”Winnie the Pooh

Where do you buy your honey?  What’s your favorite way to use honey in recipes?

Photos courtesy of:  AussiegallChris BeckettPurple Sherbert Photography,  Laura FerreiraThe Archies

Other Original photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.