Primary Significance: Gifts of radiant warmth, sunflowers are the happiest of flowers, and their meanings include loyalty and longevity. They are unique in their ability to provide energy in the form of nourishment and vibrance, an attribute which mirrors the sun and the energy provided by its heat and light.
No flower can lift spirits quite like sunflowers can. Bright and cheery, bold yet comfortable, the sunflower is a warm and caring gift. With brilliant yellow petals that surround the flower's center, sunflowers have an unmistakable sun-like appearance that has made them a passionate flower choice for many. Sunflowers come in a number of varieties, ranging from small to large and from daylight yellows to sunset reds.
Sunflowers originated in the Americas in 1000B.C., where for centuries they were cultivated as a valuable food source. The use of sunflower images as religious symbols has also been documented in some native societies. With the European exploration of the New World, the sunflower was brought to new areas, and the flower's popularity eventually spread as the rest of the world began to appreciate its beauty and sustenance. Artists throughout history have appreciated the sunflower's unique splendor, and those of the Impressionist era were especially fixated on the flower . Today, sunflowers continue to provide a resource for commonly used seeds and oil, but they have also become recognized as a floral symbol of great significance.
Much of the meaning of sunflowers stems from its namesake, the sun itself. Wild sunflowers are often photographed with their tall stalks and bright petals stretched towards the sun. This unique behavior, known as phototropism, is a motif that has appeared in many ancient myths and is viewed as a symbol of loyalty and constancy. Their physical resemblance to the sun has also influenced their meanings. The sunflower's petals have been likened to bright yellow rays of sunshine, which evoke feelings of warmth and happiness. In addition, the sunflower is often associated with adoration and longevity.
For a flower which reflects so many of the sun's positive characteristics, it is little surprise that people enjoy basking in the sunflower's warming glow. With the sense of brightness and warmth that sunflowers naturally impart, they have become an ideal choice for sending sentiments of cheerfulness and sunny get well thoughts.
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