Seeing a sunflower always brightens my day. They are tall, beautiful, and you just have to look at them. Despite their huge popularity, there is much confusion about what sunflowers are. But what’s the truth? In this article, we answer whether a sunflower is an herb or not? Let’s find out…
Is Sunflower a Herb or Shrub?
Yes, a sunflower is a herb. It belongs to the Asteraceae family, but it’s an annual, which means that it’s a unique type of herb – pretty shocking!
During early summer you will notice the sunflowers popping up, with their hairy leaves and rough stalk. By the time summer is ending, you may even see some sunflowers grow up to 12 feet high.
Unfortunately, the sunflower will die when the seeds have become ripe. The sunflower will then grow again from these seeds, which means you can enjoy the sight of a beautiful sunflower once again.
A Bit of Sunflower History
No one is sure of the exact history of the sunflower, but it is believed to have been first seen in Peru, and then brought over to Spain in the 1500s. Since then, the sunflower is found in gardens and fields around the world. It’s latin name is Helianthus annuus.
Sunflowers are simple to grow during the summer season. Many people grow their own sunflower to collect sunflower seeds, which are both delicious and nutritious. If you don’t want to grow your own, you can buy packs of sunflower seeds in almost any store around the world.
But eating seeds aren’t the only way to enjoy sunflower plants. In fact, you can extract edible oil from the seed. This oil is mainly used in cooking, but also mixed with linseed oil to make paint, candles, and soaps.
The stem pith is incredibly lightweight, which makes it perfect for a wide range of uses. In fact, the pith is used in the microscope manufacturing process. You can even dry the stems and produce a fuel, which is has very high levels of potassium.