Message: Stand tall and follow your dreams. Focus on what’s positive in your life and don’t let anyone get you down.
Sunflowers typically bloom in the summer.
Many sunflowers are heat and drought tolerant, making them easy plants to grow.
“Flower Meaning” – Symbolism of the Sunflower
Sunflower is associated with warmth, positivity, power, strength, and happiness since it bears such a strong resemblance to the Sun itself. In Greek mythology, it’s tied to a story of a nymph who becomes the flower after losing her love. Victorian flower language ascribes a meaning of gratitude to the dwarf Sunflower, while it’s considered a good luck charm for occasions like graduations and new businesses in China. Of course, Sunflowers also feature prominently in works from artists like Van Gogh.
What Does the Sunflower Mean?
The sunflower has developed unique meanings across the world as it spreads in the modern age, but many cultures share similar views of the flower thanks to its physical characteristics. Some of the most common meanings include:
- Long life, mainly since most varieties stand in full bloom for months on end during the hottest days of summer
- Feelings of adoration, admiration, and platonic love towards a person, such as a family member or friend
- Loyalty and strong bonds between two people, as represented by the strong and upright stem
- Seeking out positivity and strength, as the bloom turns to face the sun
- Nourishing yourself and others, since the sunflower produces an abundance of edible seeds
- Brightening your mood, through the vibrancy of the yellow or orange petals
- Good luck and lasting happiness, especially in the Chinese culture
“What’s-Your-Sign.com” – Symbolic Meaning of Sunflowers in Many Cultures
The sunflower moves itself in the most direct position in front of the sun so it can get the maximum sun rays.
This is symbolic of spiritual faith, and worship because we follow our belief system as the sunflower moves to face the life-giving rays of the sun.
The sunflower is the Greek symbol of Clytie (a water nymph) who turns into a sunflower after grieving over the loss of her love (Apollo). The mythological symbolism here is that Clytie (in the form of a sunflower) is always facing the sun, looking for Apollo’s chariot to return and she might be joined again with her love. The sunflower is also a symbol of Daphne (another Greek nymph).
In Chinese symbolism, the sunflower (and sunflower meaning) deals with long life, good luck and is considered very auspicious. It’s yellow color signifies vitality and intelligence. It’s a symbol of happiness too. Also in China, the sunflower was considered a symbol of long life, and was eaten by royalty to insure immortality.
In esoteric Christianity, the sunflower is a symbol of God’s love. The sunflower as a symbol can also represent the unwavering faith that guides the soul to the highest spiritual atonement. A perfect symbol for the faith because the blossom (bright and bountiful) is always seeking out the light. Symbolically, this is spiritually akin to the heart/soul of humankind always seeking and attaining unity with the light of faith and keeping a connection with the Source/God/Goddess of one’s own understanding.
In Native American symbolism, the sunflower is used in late summer festivals as a symbol of bounty, harvest and provision. It is a symbol of the sun, and thus likened to the life-giving force of the Great Spirit. The color of the sunflower was noted for its vitality and symbolic of energy as well as fertility.
As a yellow flower, the sunflower can be compared to the solar-plexus chakra (Manipura). This chakra (and its color) governs intellect, and is a central force of perception as well as self-awareness and personal evolution. I mentioned being a member of the Spiritualist church in my area…well…the church had a course on automatic writing, which is a method of communicating with those who have passed into non-physical by writing messages in a state of heightened consciousness. I always find it fascinating that the instructor of the course insisted we all use yellow sheets of paper in this exercise. She pointed out that the color yellow is a mind-expanding, and spiritually broadening color. Keep this in mind while you connect with the sunflower.
Orange is associated with the sacral chakra (Swadhisthana), and is linked with areas of creativity, expansion, fertility, reproduction (of all types). Orange is also a powerful color to use in aspects of self-acceptance, and a great tool to auger self-confidence. Perhaps the sunflower might be a useful symbol in meditation as a means for bolstering security and confidence. Check out my page on chakra color meanings for more information on this aspect of symbolism.
Sunflower Meanings Connected with the Sun
Sunflower meaning is mostly derived from solar (sun) symbolism which deals with…
“ProFlowers” – The History of Sunflowers
Sunflowers originated in the Americas in 1,000 B.C., and were then cultivated as a valuable food source for centuries. With the European exploration of the New World, the flower’s popularity spread, as the rest of the world began to appreciate its beauty and sustenance. Artists throughout history loved the sunflower’s unique splendor—those of the Impressionist era were especially fixated on the flower. The use of sunflower images as religious symbols has also been documented in some native societies. Wild sunflowers are often photographed with their tall stalks and bright petals stretched towards the sun. This interesting behavior, known as phototropism, inspired a motif that has appeared in many ancient works.
Today, sunflowers remain a highly recognized flower, admired for its sunny charm and delightful disposition. These beauties are also still sourced for their seeds, as well as oils used for cooking and skin emollients. For a flower that reflects so many of the sun’s positive characteristics, it isn’t surprising that people enjoy basking in the sunflower’s warming glow so much.
“FTD Fresh” – Sunflower Story & Origins
The sunflower’s name comes from its tendency to reposition itself to face the sun. It’s genus, Helianthus, is rooted in two Greek words — “helios” meaning sun and “anthos” meaning flower. The ancient Greek myth of Apollo and Clytie is one explanation of why sunflowers turn towards the sun. In this story Clytie, a nymph, adored Apollo. At first, he loved her back, but soon he fell in love with Leucothoe. Because of her jealousy, Clytie told Leucothoe’s father of the relationship and he punished her by burying her alive. In anger, Apollo turned her into a flower, but even in flower form she still loved him and would spend her days watching him as he moved the sun across the sky in his chariot, just like sunflowers move to face the sun.
Because of the myth of Clytie and Apollo, the sunflower most commonly means adoration and loyalty. However, sunflower meanings can vary across cultures. In China, people associate sunflowers with a long life, good fortune, and vitality. To Native American groups, sunflowers represented harvest, bounty, and provision because they provided seeds, pigment, and more.
Sunflower Symbolism & Colors
Sunflowers are often given on 3rd year wedding anniversaries as signs of adoration, loyalty, and strength. The sunflower’s yellow color symbolizes vitality, intelligence, and happiness. The color yellow also traditionally symbolizes friendship. Sunflowers also symbolize worship and faithfulness in various religions because of their resemblance to the sun, which is associated with spiritual knowledge and the desire to seek light and truth.
The Incas used sunflowers to symbolize the Sun God, and brought them to temples for worship. The priestesses also wore sunflowers on their garments and as crowns.
Sunflower Cultural Significance
Sunflowers have also been used by countless artists. The most well-known portrayal of sunflowers is Van Gogh’s Sunflower series, which includes Vase With Twelve Sunflowers, Two Cut Sunflowers, and Four Cut Sunflowers. Ai WeiWei was also inspired by the flowers in his Sunflower Seeds exhibit, an installation of millions of porcelain seeds handcrafted by specialists working in small-scale workshops in China, symbolizing the relationship between the individual and the masses.
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