Black ink sketch and W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 300gsm
While the vibrant, strong sunflower is a recognized worldwide for its beauty, it is also an important source of food. Sunflower oil is a valued and healthy vegetable oil and sunflower seeds are enjoyed as a healthy, tasty snack and nutritious ingredient to many foods.
Sunflower is an important agricultural crop choice for South African producers and apart from sunflower oil production, the seeds are widely used in bird feeds. The sunflower seed is attractive to so many species of birds because of its high oil content that provides energy for feather replacement, migration, and survival in winter months.
The Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant native to the Americas. Sunflower seeds were brought to Europe in the 16th century, where, along with sunflower oil, they became a widespread cooking ingredient. Leaves of the sunflower can be used as cattle feed, while the stems contain a fibre which may be used in paper production. A common misconception is that sunflowers track the sun. In fact, mature flower heads typically face east and do not move but the leaves and buds of young sunflowers do exhibit heliotropism (sun turning). Their orientation changes from east to west during the course of a day.