Sunflowers: Popular, native and, for some, newly meaningful

  • Sunflower seedlings are shown growing in pots on April 21, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Rubin)

  • This image provided by Jessica Damiano shows a bouquet of cut sunflowers on Oct. 15, 2019 in Mattituck, N.Y. (Jessica Damiano via AP)

  • Cut sunflowers grown by Rincon Family Farms in Waimea are seen in this May 2020. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

The annual sunflower (Helianthus annus) has a long history in North America, with evidence of its cultivation for food, ceremonial and medical use by Native Americans dating back to at least 1,000 B.C.