Watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm watercolour sketch-book – 8″ × 5″
“The gaudy leonine sunflower
Hangs black and barren on its stalk,
And down the windy garden walk
The dead leaves scatter – hour by hour”
- Oscar Wilde
(Helianthus annuus) Native to the Americas
Driving past Happy Acres, which was a field study centre and is now known as “Woodland School”, on my way to Magaliesburg, (South Africa), I passed these Sunflowers on the verge of the road. There are often stray Sunflowers showing up in front of the Cosmos, due to stray seeds falling from trucks passing by. If the sunflower is almost ripe, I often stop and cut one down, taking it home to my Cockatoo, Danny, who just loves to pick the seeds from the head.
The name “sunflower” derives from a supposition that they follow the sun by day, always turning towards its direct rays. This valuable herb has many uses like poultry and cattle food, green food, fuel, soil improver, textile use, a bee plant, a cooking oil, and medicinal uses – its diuretic and expectorant properties and have been employed with success in the treatment of bronchial, laryngeal and pulmonary affections, coughs and colds, also in whooping cough.