The Sunflower Seed
By Noah Babcock
The sunflower was domesticated by Native Americans as long ago as 3000 BC, even before corn.
Native Americans made sunflowers with different seed colors: black/white striped, black, red, and white.
The Native Americans who cultivated the sunflowers were in present day New Mexico and Arizona.
The Native Americans had a lot of uses for the sunflower. As food, they ate the sunflower seeds like a snack. They used the oil in cooking. They used the seeds in ceremonies. They made flour out of it for much and cakes. They made a purple dye out of it. They used the stalks for building. They used the oil on their skin and hair.
In the 1500s, the Spanish took the sunflower to Europe. The Russians started growing lots of it, and especially used it for its oil. Then, in the late 1800s, Americans started growing the Russian version of the sunflower. Eventually, Canada started growing sunflowers. Then in 1970s Russians wanted so many sunflowers that the US started growing tons of them.
Archaeologists know that the sunflower was domesticated because they have found really old samples of sunflowers whose center part is bigger than the wild version of the sunflower. That means that sunflowers got domesticated because people bred the flowers to they would get more seeds out of each flower. It was useful to get more seeds out of each flower, so they could have enough for all their uses.
People have always used the sunflower for decoration as well as other uses. In some cultures, like the Inca, the sunflower was used to worship the sun god. The Spanish thought of the sunflower as a representation of the Native American cultures.
A famous artist name Vincent van Gogh painted a lot of paintings of sunflowers in 1888. He painted mutant sunflowers that had many extra rows of petals, and almost no seeds in the middle. This kind of sunflower is not what the Native Americans grew, because they wanted more seeds. People like van Gogh probably liked the ones with fewer seeds because they thought they were pretty.
Sunflower Health Facts
Sunflower seeds have a lot of energy in them. 100 grams =584 calories. So that is a lot of energy in not very many seeds.
Sunflower seeds also have good fatty acids than can be good for cholesterol for your heart.
Sunflower seeds have a lot of protein to
. 100 grams gives a kid 37% of my protein for my body.
The seeds contain a lot of vitamin E. Vitamin E which is good for your skin.
Sunflower seeds contain a lot of B vitamins.
Folic acid is in the seeds, which is good for DNA.
Sunflower seeds also contain calcium and other minerals.
Sunflower seeds also contain selenium and magnesium which are good for your nerves and muscles and can help prevent cancer.
National Sunflower Association http://www.sunflowernsa.com/all-about/history/
About.com About Archaeology; Sunflowers American Domestication History http://archaeology.about.com/od/sterms/qt/sunflower.htm
Botanical Online http://www.botanical-online.com/english/sunflower_history
http://www.history.com/news/van-gogh-painted-mutant-sunflowers March 29, 2012Van Gogh Painted Mutant Sunflowers By Jennie Cohen
Nutrition and You website http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/sunflower-seeds.html
The Worlds Healthiest Food http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice...