Facts and benefits about sunflowers
Sunflowers face the sun during the long summer days to embrace the sunlight. These amazing flowers are like goddesses of the sun. Nature is at its best as honeybees carry the pollen from one flower to the next. And when birds feed on the sunflower seeds, nature takes care of its surroundings. But this magnificent process has been happening for thousand of years.
In fact, the ancient American Indians, during 3000 BC, were the first population to use them as a food source and for medicinal purposes. The natives would ground the seeds to make cakes and breads. They would also use the seeds as part of their meals. And in some instances, they would also use the seed oil in the preparation of breads.
But for some native Indians such as the Aztecs and Incas, sunflowers were a representation of worship to the sun, the all mighty spirit. They believed they were an offering to the Sun to protect and bless their crops.
History also mentions native Indians used them for body painting, cloth dyeing and medicinal uses. Historians believed they used it to treat snakebites, fever, and other health related diseases.
The sunflower seeds are edible healthy snacks. Mostly, the seeds are roasted or just eaten raw. These flowers are also used for decoration purposes in floral arrangements and crafts.
Sunflower oil contains numerous health benefits. The oil extracted from the seeds is full of folate, vitamin E, Selenium, Iron and Zinc. The oil extract from the crushing process also contains amounts of fatty acids such as oleic, linoleic and saturated lipids.
These natural benefits of seeds and oil from these flowers are due to pollination – honeybees are the primarily insects to ensure this biological process happens.
Importance of honeybees in their pollination
The survival rate of these flowers could only happen because of honeybees. These amazing insects of nature carry the pollen from one sunflower to another to be fertilized into a seed. This process is called pollination.
Because of pollination, fertilized seeds are able to be carried away by other birds, butterflies or wind, and be deposited in other environmental areas. If honeybees are not able to be involved in the pollination process, then these seeds are unfertilized and unable to grow in other environments.
Pollination plays a crucial role in the increase of sunflowers, production of its seeds and the many natural benefits. As a matter of fact, they were once considered as a wildflower, and they are very easy to grow. They can commonly grow up to 12 feet or 3.5 meters tall. However, there are records of sunflowers being up to 25 feet.