Sunflowers in France
The word for sunflowers in France is TOURNESOL. It’s easy to see where the name comes from since tourner is to turn and sol is for sun. Growing 5 – 12 feet tall the flowers face east when fully grown – although myth has it that their face always the sun. However, young sunflowers do move east to west during the day as they are growing so it is not a total myth.
Wild sunflowers are native to the Americas. American Indians domesticated the plant and the seeds were brought to Europe in the 16th century. So much to my surprise, sunflowers in France have not always been one of their agricultural crops.
Let’s take a closer look at those beautiful, sometimes plate-size, flowers. Each flower head consists of 1000 -2000 individual flower heads. That means up to 2000 seeds per sunflower. I have consumed so many sunflower seeds in my lifetime it makes me wonder just how many "sunflowers" I have consumed? In addition, I am now wondering how many "sunflowers" are in every bag of sunflower seeds that you buy?
There are two groups of flower heads on sunflowers, those with the petals (which bear no seeds) and those in the center which are the seed bearing flower heads. The heads in the center typically consists of two spirals, one counter clockwise which has 34 flowers and one clockwise spiral which has 55 spirals. If the sunflower is very larger there can be 89 flowers in the counter clockwise spiral and 144 in the clockwise spiral. You can see these spirals in the close-up below.
Every part of the sunflower is useful. There is nothing to waste with a sunflower. While growing they are beautiful to look at and later the leaves can be used as cattle feed.
Seeds (have the shell on) and seed kernels (the part inside the shell) can be eaten or used for cooking and for extracting oil. Like most agricultural crops the fields are rotated. So if you have a special are for viewing sunflowers in France keep in mind that they will not be found in the same fields two years in row.
Seed kernels can be ground into flour which the American Indians did and which is still done in Germany for use in breads. If you have a coffee grinder you can grind the kernels yourself to add to pancakes and muffins. Small food processors can also be used but they can easily over grind these small kernels so process for only a short period of time. I frequently add whole kernels to whole wheat bread.
Are sunflowers good for you? YES! Besides lifting your spirit with their beauty, they contain B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, folic acid and minerals such as phosphorous, iron, and selenium.
Do I have a passion for photographing sunflowers? Yes, and I hope you enjoy each of these photos of sunflowers in France. You will not a difference in color of the sunflowers. Those with the pure lemony yellow color were in the southern part of Burgundy Region while the others were in the Poitou-Charentes Region.
Return from SUNFLOWERS in FRANCE to Poitou-Charentes
Return from SUNFLOWERS in FRANCE to BURGUNDY REGION
Return from SUNFLOWERS in FRANCE to HOMEPAGE