Sunflowers are the quintessential summer flower! Read more about its symbolism and origins. Want to know more about this popular flower?

Characteristics of sunflowers

Apart from the rose, the sunflower is one of the most well-known flowers. With its long stems and huge yellow flowers, it is unmistakeable. It comes in one colour only, yellow with a black core. 

Sunflowers are incredibly clever. They can tell which direction the sun is coming from and will turn their ‘faces’ in that direction. If you are ever in France, driving through the beautiful fields full of sunflowers, have a good look. You will notice that most of them face the same way!

The origins of sunflowers

Sunflowers originate from Central and South America. Native Americans used to eat the seeds (which are still a popular snack to this day) combined with beans, corn, and pumpkin. The sunflower came to Europe near the end of the Middle Ages, on board the ships of Spanish conquerors. 

The scientific name of the sunflower is helianthus, which is comprised of two Greek words, ‘helios’ and ‘anthos’, meaning ‘sun’ and ‘flower’.

The symbolism of sunflowers

For many people, sunflowers are symbolic of summer. This will not come as a great surprise. There is nothing quite like a large vase full of long-stemmed sunflowers on the table to bring the sun into your home! 

Officially speaking, sunflowers symbolise the sun and love. As such, its additional symbolic meanings all have to do with warm feelings: commitment, happiness, dedication or adoration, admiration and a long life. In short, all of its symbolism makes the sunflower a lovely gift to give!