story of the sunflower

  • A myth of the sunflower
This is one of the Greek mythologies. A water sprite Clytia falls in love with the sun god Apollo and stands up straight for nine days and nights with thinking of him. However, her love not catching him, she was changed a sunflower by a lot of sunshine getting. Her love is always in the sun. That is even now to go on staring him on the ground.
  • The history of the sunflower
The sunflower is a only crop cultivated by seeds, originated in the North America. And this was grown as not only a common crop but for a important, high-energy food source in the native American tribes living throughout the north America. Evidence suggests that the plant was cultivated by Indians in present-day Arizona and New Mexico about 3000 BC. Some archaeologists suggest that sunflower may have been domesticated before corn. Sunflower was used in many ways throughout the various Indian tribes. Seed was ground or pounded into flour for cakes, mush or bread. Some tribes mixed the meal with other vegetables such as beans, squash, and corn. The seed was also cracked and eaten for a snack. There are references of squeezing the oil from the seed and using the oil in making bread. None-food uses include purple dye for textiles, body painting and other decorations. Parts of the plant were used medicinally ranging from snakebite to other body ointments. The oil of the seed was used on the skin and hair. The dried stalk was used as a building material. The plant and the seeds were widely used in ceremonies.

In the 1500s, Spanish adventurers found a sunflower by accident. And they carried back it to Europe and told the citizens it as a strange flower, and it was widely used mainly as a decorative (appreciational) plant at Western Europe. By 1716, an English patent was granted for squeezing oil from sunflower seed. However, this was never regarded as a edible plant till it was traveled to Russia. The plant was initially used as an ornamental, but by 1769 literature mentions sunflower cultivated by oil production. By 1830, the manufacture of sunflower oil was done on a commercial scale. By early in the nineteenth century, Russian farmers had grown a great number of sunflowers at the estate more than two hundreds acre. During that time, two specific types had been identified:oil-type for oil production and a large variety for direct human consumption. And Russian agronomists were responsible for the first agricultural hybrids. By latter in the nineteenth century, Russian sunflower's seeds were gotten back to the United States again with Russian and German immigrants. By 1880, seed companies were advertising the 'Mammoth Russian' sunflower seed in catalogues. This particular seed name was still being offered in the US for more than 100 years. Sunflower began as an important agronomic crop in the U.S. in the 1950's, starting in North Dakota and Minnesota.

The wild sunflower could have not been seen only throughout the north America, but also a ditch along the path in the other countries. The kind of sunflower found in the habitat of the native American has fifty major seeds and nineteen sub-seeds. And these nature sunflowers have various faces and petals, and need help of insects to pollinate. And these sunflowers belong the hereditary basis of the sunflower produced for commerce today has a only face, petal, and no necessity of help to pollinate.
  • The sunflower was introduced from China into Japan
After the sunflower was introduced from Russia into China, a Japanese envoy to China during the Tang Dynasty brought back it to Japan in the Edo period. At the time, the sunflower was called Jougiku. And Japanese gradually has called it Himawari since the Genroku era(1688-1704).

The reference:Albert A. Schneiter, ed. Sunflower Technology and Production.