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!). Â When I walked out again, I almost walked smack dab into a giant sunflower. Â The sunflower was as tall as I am (6') so I was able to admire the flower face to face. Â There is something about sunflowers that are so darn cheerful! Â As I was looking, a very busy bee landed on the sunflower and went about his business. Â 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. Â Well, was I ever surprised when the photos were downloaded. Â Not only is the bee there, but an unexpected ant was captured on the stem! Â 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. Â There is evidence that the sunflower was first domesticated in Mexico around 2600 BCE. Â The earliest known domesticated sunflower found in the United States is in Tennessee, around 2300 BCE. Â Sunflower seeds were brought to Europe in 1510 by Spanish explorers and quickly became widespread: Â 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. Â Â
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. Â The seeds are eaten whole or roasted as a snack or healthy additive to salads, breads, etc. Â It can be processed into an alternative to peanut butter, sunflower butter. Â Sunflower oil is extracted from the seeds and can be used for cooking, to produce margarine and used as a biodiesel. Â There are some "high oleic" species of sunflowers that contain a higher level of healthy monounsaturated fats in their oil than even olive oil! Â The cake remaining after the seeds have been processed for oil can be used as livestock feed. Â 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. Â 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. Â
Wedding/Bridal Shower/Birthday Favor chocolate dipped cake pops by Autumn of AutumnLynnsSins
Cheerful sunflower brooch hand painted by Nory of NoryCloset
Now, I hope you smiled as you looked at the fabulous items included in this post. Â And after reading the information, you will doubly appreciate the beautiful sunflowers. Â Now I need a sunflower seed (fruit!) snack so will close this.
You can certainly make my day by leaving a comment! Â And any promotion of this post will be greatly appreciated by all the ArtFire artists included (:
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