Flower Glossary: Sunflowers

2015 Jul 14 - by dulhan

Name: Sunflower

Latin Name: Helianthus

Season: End of spring through summer, with June, July, and August being peak months

Meaning: Sunlight, happiness

Origins: North America

The sunflower was originally cultivated by Native American tribes in North America around 3000 BC. The flower had multiple uses - it was ground into flour for bread, mixed with vegetables for a snack, and used as a dye for textiles.

In the early 1500s, Spanish explorers brought the sunflower to Europe, where it grew in popularity. It was primarily used for ornamental or decorative reasons, but its oil was also consumed - especially during Lent, when the Russian Orthodox Church banned the consumption of all oils except that of the sunflower.

The sunflower returned to North America in the 19th century with a Russian hybridization that allowed the flower to grow larger and more frequently. This lead to commercialization of the plant, both in North America and in Europe.

The sunflower's oil has medicinal uses in modern times, such as for strengthening the hair and skin. It is also used in cooking and baking today.

The word sunflower and its Greek name helianthus literally translate to sun (helios) and flower (anthos). The flower represents the warmth and happiness of summer, and as such, it is found in summer or outdoor wedding decor as centerpieces, floral bouquets, or themed prints.

Be sure to check out the rest of our Flower Glossary for all your wedding flower needs.