Sunflower – Helianthus annuus
Symbolism: Sunflowers symbolize vitality, intelligence, happiness, and friendship due to their bright yellow colour.
Description: Sunflowers have a flowerhead composed of many small flowers. The outer yellow “petals” are known as ray flowers, and consist of multiple petals fused together. Ray petals are typically yellow but can also be red or orange.
Sunflowers come in an amazing variety of sizes, growing from 1 to 15 feet in height. Medium-height varieties stand 5 to 6 feet tall with heads 8 to 10 inches across.
Sunflowers exhibit a behavior called heliotropism, in which young flower heads track the sun's movement across the sky. This sun-tracking behavior also contributes to the origin of the name. However, mature sunflowers generally face east, as they lose their heliotropism once the flowers bloom.
Named after: The name "sunflower" is derived from the plant's scientific name, Helianthus, which is a combination of two Greek words: helios, meaning “sun” and anthos, meaning “flower”. The name reflects the sun-like appearance of the flower head, with its large, round center and radiating petals.
Latin/Scientific name: Helianthus annuus
Native to: Arizona, Bangladesh, California, Mexico Central, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southwest, Nevada
Flowering period: Summer and fall
Vase life: 4 to 13 days, depending on the cultivar
Popular use in floral arrangements or bouquets: Sunflowers add charm and happiness to arrangements with their bright color, dramatic size, and natural pattern. They are often paired with roses for pattern variation, while daisies, asters, and mums serve as excellent supporting flowers to highlight the sunflower's shape and provide volume.