Sunny Sunflowers

Sunny Sunflowers

Published On: 08-11-2013 08:37pm

Comments: 17 - Hits: 0

Category: Other

When my husband and I were in Santa Fe last weekend, I visited a vintage book store, The Good Stuff, and ended up buying a magnificent book on Southwestern petroglyphs (on sale at 1/2 price - yay!).  When I walked out again, I almost walked smack dab into a giant sunflower.  The sunflower was as tall as I am (6') so I was able to admire the flower face to face.  There is something about sunflowers that are so darn cheerful!  As I was looking, a very busy bee landed on the sunflower and went about his business.  Since I adore sunflowers AND bees, I quickly snapped a couple of photos, not even thinking the pics would turn out nicely since it was spur of the moment.   Well, was I ever surprised when the photos were downloaded.  Not only is the bee there, but an unexpected ant was captured on the stem!  I decided to share the photo, share a bit of interesting info about sunflowers and share some ArtFire artist's sunny sunflower items (:

Here's my photo:

The sunflower, bee and ant in front of The Good Stuff vintage book and record store.

Native to the Americas, the sunflower (Helianthus annus) was an important food source for both humans and animals and was often depicted in Native art as a solar deity, including the Aztecs, Otomi and Incas.  There is evidence that the sunflower was first domesticated in Mexico around 2600 BCE.  The earliest known domesticated sunflower found in the United States is in Tennessee, around 2300 BCE.  Sunflower seeds were brought to Europe in 1510 by Spanish explorers and quickly became widespread:  the seeds (which technically are a fruit!) and oil used for cooking, the leaves used for cattle feed and a fiber in the stems used in paper production.    

Stained glass sunflower panel or cabinet door insert by CreativeArtGlass

Sunflower charm earrings with yellow glass and yellow jade handmade by Mary of PrettyGonzo

Large ceramic sunflower spoon rest, ring soap dish by Jacque of TexasCeramics

Today, sunflowers are used many ways.  The seeds are eaten whole or roasted as a snack or healthy additive to salads, breads, etc.  It can be processed into an alternative to peanut butter, sunflower butter.  Sunflower oil is extracted from the seeds and can be used for cooking, to produce margarine and used as a biodiesel.  There are some "high oleic" species of sunflowers that contain a higher level of healthy monounsaturated fats in their oil than even olive oil!  The cake remaining after the seeds have been processed for oil can be used as livestock feed.  And amazingly, sunflowers can be used in phytoremediation to extract toxic substances from the soil, such as lead, arsenic and uranium, and are used in rhizofiltration to neutralize toxicity and harmful bacteria from water.  Sunflowers were used to remove radioactive compounds in a nearby pond after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and they are being used for this same thing at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan.  

Stunning heirloom "Teddy Bear" sunflower seeds by AzureDandelion

Wedding/Bridal Shower/Birthday Favor chocolate dipped cake pops by Autumn of AutumnLynnsSins

Cheerful sunflower brooch hand painted by Nory of NoryCloset

A field of sunflowers photograph by Michele of VanillaExtinction

Now, I hope you smiled as you looked at the fabulous items included in this post.  And after reading the information, you will doubly appreciate the beautiful sunflowers.  Now I need a sunflower seed (fruit!) snack so will close this.

You can certainly make my day by leaving a comment!  And any promotion of this post will be greatly appreciated by all the ArtFire artists included (:

My contact information:

Artfire studio:  ShadowDogDesigns
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Reader's Comments

By ChristieCottage on 08/15/2013 @ 11:42am

I love sunflowers! Thanks for sharing the info and all the cool sunflower items too <><

By JewelryArtByDawn on 08/15/2013 @ 03:13am

I had no idea sunflowers were so versatile - all I knew is that they make me smile whenever I see them and that I love the seeds in salad. What a useful plant and lovely to boot! Great photos and great featured items, Catherine!

By Thecrochetcubby on 08/13/2013 @ 01:53am

Great collection of sunflowers! Sounds like you had a great trip!

By DesertCreations on 08/13/2013 @ 12:55am

Wonderful finds :) I LOVE LOVE LOVE the picture your got of the sunflower out side the store!!

By craftingmemories on 08/13/2013 @ 12:22am

Beautiful sunflower finds. I did not know sunflowers were used to extract toxic substances from the soil. Thank you for sharing.

By PolkadotOrchid on 08/12/2013 @ 05:37pm

Botanically speaking, any seed is considered a fruit - acorns, watermelon, wheat grains, tomatoes, nightshade capsules, maple seeds, etc. (Botanically speaking, a watermelon is also considered a berry while a strawberry and raspberry are not.) I love all the sunflower finds. They're so cheery. Thanks for sharing!

By PutmanLakeDesigns on 08/12/2013 @ 12:40pm

I always and I mean always learn something new, usually more than one thing, from your posts! Who would have thought to try to remove the radioactive matter from ponds with sunflowers. So many cherry sunflower items by talented artists!

By norycloset on 08/12/2013 @ 03:25am

Sunflowers turn to follow the sun. Their open faces symbolize the sun itself, conveying warmth and happiness, adoration and longevity. Thanks for the great post and thanks for including my hand painted sunflower brooch too!

By Guest on 08/12/2013 @ 02:42am

A friend just sent a photo from Her trip to NY. It's a cornfield bordered by a few rows of sunflowers right along the road. You know the farmer only did it to make people smile!

By TexasCeramics on 08/12/2013 @ 02:13am

Catherine, I totally enjoyed reading about sunflowers, I had no idea of their many uses. You found some beautiful sunflowers today, thank you for taking the time to share them with us!

By ShanghaiTai on 08/12/2013 @ 01:35am

That is a great shot! And I am soooo jealous that you can go to Santa Fe for the weekend. Have you seen the real petroglyphs yet? My brother in law used to live almost right next to them in Albuquerque. You should go sometime if you haven't seen them.

By ShadowDogDesigns on 08/11/2013 @ 11:07pm

Thank you, everyone! We get a type of sunflower here in the desert and other parts of Texas called Maximillian sunflowers. Not as big as the garden variety but when they are in masses will take yout breath away. Last year the bottom of the arroyo behind our house was covered in them - hoping they show up again this year, but it might have been too dry.

By EweniqueEssentials on 08/11/2013 @ 11:02pm

Sunflowers are such cheery flowers! Sunflower seeds are also a favorite of songbirds. Several years ago, my son and I were delighted by the sunflowers that grew from the seeds that dropped from the bird feeder. I enjoyed reading your post and seeing the sunflower finds you chose, especially the field of sunflowers photo and the cute cake pops!

By craftsofthepast on 08/11/2013 @ 10:26pm

Will promo later. I always get a late start on Sundays. But the pics are utterly fantastic. I just passed a row of sunflowers on my way home from church. They always are so cheerful! Anna

By zoomgraphik on 08/11/2013 @ 10:11pm

Love sunflowers, I always plant some in my garden . nice blog like usual :o)

By PrettyGonzo on 08/11/2013 @ 10:05pm

Fun post, with interesting reading - plus your sunflower photo is simply gorgeous! Many thanks for including my earrings here. :) Off to tweet!

By bluemorningexpressions on 08/11/2013 @ 09:43pm

Great post! So many new things to appreciate the sunflower for; thank you for sharing all this. Loved your photo of the bee and can see why you had to stop and admire the flower. I love the things you found to share, too. Now, I need some sunflower seeds :)

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