Sunflowers 🌻 when fully grown look like the sun hovering over the land like a big yellow balloon tethered to the earth by a thin green thread..
Sunflowers are sun followers, i.e. they exhibit a trait called heliotropism: a motion of plants parts in relation to the sun. Sunflower plants will tilt to face the sun tracking its path in order to gain as much time as possible for photosynthesis and maximise attraction for pollinators which are attracted more to warm flowers.
How do sunflowers move?
As the sunflower faces the sun, the opposite stem end accumulates growth hormones; stems of young sunflowers grow more during the night, but only on the west side which allows the sunflower head to bend eastward.
Internet lore has a myth that when there is no sun, sunflowers face each other
Do sunflowers face each other when there is no sun?
Checking through the life cycle of the sunflower plant you will see that they do not track the sun throughout their whole lifecycle but will only follow their sun circadian rhythm in the bud stage before blooming.
The apical bud follows the sun from east to west and overnight moves back to face the east. While they may still display a tiny bit of heliotropism after blooming, the flower of the sunflower preserves the final orientation, which will rest facing east to get morning warmth from the rays of the rising sun
So while it is a beautiful and poetic sentiment, no, when there is no sun, sunflowers do not face each other.
But that doesn’t make them any less interesting…
Fun fact sunflowers are named after the sun because of their love for the sun and if you want to sound scientific about it, their scientific name is helianthus. This comes from the Greek word for ‘sun’ which is ‘helios’ and ‘flower’ which is ‘anthus.’🌻🌻
In Greek Mythology there’s a tale about a water nymph, Clytie who fell in love with Helios god of sun, at first he loved her too and then his ministrations wandered to another. Clytie in a jealous fit, told the other nymph’s father, who buried his daughter alive as punishmentfor violating nypmh laws; this angered Helios and he would have nothing to do with her.
Clytie sat naked in the garden staring at the sun, refusing to eat or drink as she mourned her lost love and on the 9th day she transformed into a heliotrope; while she couldn’t be with him she watched him across the sky, just like sunflowers follow the sun….
What do sunflowers symbolise?
Strong and robust, just like a couple in their third year of marriage, the sunflower is the traditional flower to represent the 3rd wedding anniversary.
With their bright round yellow face and their sun association they give sunny and happy vibes, summer, vibrancy, laughter, joy…
•Sunflowers symbolise loyalty, adoration, optimism
•In China, sunflowers symbolise long life, vitality and good luck.
•Native American’s sunflowers symbolised harvest and provision
•The sunflower is the national flower of Russia and Ukraine.
In 1996 when Ukraine committed to complete nuclear disarmament. To honour the occasion, representatives from the U.S., Russia, and Ukraine planted sunflowers in the location of a previous nuclear missiles silo. Sunflowers represent peace (plus they are great at absorbing radiation from the soil; sunflowers heal the world)
While the more common version of sunflowers are yellow, they also come in different colours, red, white, pink, purple…