Sunflowers at Sunset Postcard
Thousands of sunflowers glow at sunset in a Kansas field. The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas. The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant native to the Americas, and it's easy to see where it got its name. It looks like a sun and also grows toward the sun. Sunflowers were domesticated around 1000 B.C. Francisco Pizarro found the Inca subjects venerating the sunflower as an image of their sun god. Gold images of the flower, as well as seeds, were taken back to Europe early in the 16th century. The plant has a rough, hairy stem and large coarsely toothed, rough leaves, and circular flower heads. The heads consist of many individual flowers which mature into seeds, often in the hundreds, on a receptacle base. All parts of the sunflower are useful as either food or fibre.