From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant native to the Americas that possess a large inflorescence (flowering head). The sunflower got its name from its huge fiery blooms, whose shape and image is often used to depict the sun. The sunflower has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves and circular heads of flowers. The heads consist of 1,000-2,000 individual flowers joined together by a receptacle base.
- The sunflower is the state flower of the US state of Kansas, and one of the city flowers of Kitakyūshū, Japan.
- The sunflower is often used as a symbol of green ideology, much as the red rose is a symbol of socialism or social democracy. The sunflower is also the symbol of the Vegan Society.
- During the late 19th century, the flower was used as the symbol of the Aesthetic Movement.
- Subject of Van Gogh's most famous still life, Sunflowers
- The sunflower is the national flower of Peru, Russia, and Ukraine.
- The sunflower was chosen as the symbol of the Spiritualist Church for many reasons, but mostly because it turns toward the sun as "Spiritualism turns toward the light of truth". Modern Spiritualists always have art or jewelry with sunflower designs.