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Sunflowers are one of nature’s most remarkably beautiful blossoms. When one thinks of sunflowers, they think of brightness and sturdy, happy flowers. They were one of Vincent van Gogh’s favorite subjects to paint; he went as far to tell his brother, Theo that “The sunflower is mine” and adopted its image as his sort of trademark. Van Gogh painted two series of sunflowers (the first in Paris in 1887 and the second series in Arles from 1888-1889 where he housed Paul Gauguin in his yellow house).

The common sunflower is known as “Helianthus annuus” and is usually grown as a crop yielding edible oil and fruits. The flower is not only coveted for its decorative beauty in gardens but also as wild bird food. A field of sunflowers is an ideal place for livestock to forage. Sunflowers are especially fascinating because they naturally turn to face towards the sun; this behavior is called “heliotropism.” There are many types of sunflowers including giant ones and small, “dwarf” flowers but all sizes are equally gorgeous. Because of their name and connotation with the sun itself, sunflowers are associated with adoration, longevity, and bounty.

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