Sunflower meaning, symbolism and benefits

We can discover the meaning and symbolism of the Sunflower through various ancient cultures.

The plant is native to America and there is evidence that dates back from 3,000 BC to indicate cultivation in the Hopi Indian digs.

Sunflower production spread to other tribes moving north and east into the Mandan Indian tribes in the Dakotas and then into Canada.

If you’re looking into the symbolism and meaning of the Sunflower then this post will help you in discovering its various meaning, benefits and uses. Lets get right into it.

What does the Sunflower mean?

The Sunflower symbolises devotion, healing, pride, power, ambition, strength and spiritual attainment. The sunflower has the power to help with fertility, health and longevity. Moreover, the sunflower reflects the qualities of the Sun as alchemists place this flower under the dominion of the Sun.

The sunflower also evokes a feeling of warmth and heralds the coming of summer. The sunflower seeds are also known for their nutritional properties and is still used today.

Sunflower Meaning through mythology

In ancient American culture, the sunflower meaning had a link to divinity. By understanding how those ancient cultures associated and personified the sunflower we can have a better picture of its link to divinity.

Sunflower meaning in Hopi Culture

Kuwanlelenta was the goddess of the Hopi Sunflower clan. Her name translates literally “to make beautiful surroundings.”

Sunflowers in the Hopi culture signified femininity and womanhood. Moreover, Kuwanlelenta personified fertility and beauty.

During the months of October and November, the maidens would perform a customarily dance. They would first gather petals from wild sunflowers, then dry and grind them into a yellow powder.

The maidens would apply the powder to their wet faces. They would then dress into elaborate costumes for the dance which this would make their faces glisten like gold.

They would additionally wear sunflowers in their hair. This dance was symbolical of an abundant harvest.

Sunflower meaning in Peruvian Culture

In Peru, the sunflower also bears the name of Marigold of Peru or Helianthus. The sunflower meaning here had a direct link to the sun. The Sun as a luminary was important and worshiped by the Peruvians.

The temple of Sun found in ancient Peru was dedicate to the Sun. The Priestesses there were crowned with sunflowers of pure gold. They would also wear them close to their chest and carry them in their hands.

The early Spanish settlers found in those sun temples various depiction of sunflowers in gold.

Native Americans have used the Sunflower plants in numerous ways. Some of its utilities involved creating dyes, making ointment for medicinal purposes and also for aesthetic purpose such as hair dressings.


From Ancient America to Europe

The Spanish settlers that returned from their expeditions from the new world introduced the Sunflowers to Europe.

They brought back with them the seeds that they planted thus sunflower production started in North of Spain and moved to the East which then to the rest of Europe.

Sunflowers in Christianity are a symbol of God’s love. It’s a symbol of the soul that redirects its thoughts, feelings and energy towards God.

Sunflowers are a personification of the Sun, it represents the season of summer and fecundity. Additionally, the rays of the sun represents healing and positivity.

Sunflower meaning in Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology the Nymph Clytie was enamoured with the sun god Apollo. However, the nymph was forsaken for Leucothea or Ino (sea goddess).

A live stricken Clytie was overcome of jealousy and therefore, accused Leucothea of being unchaste to her father Camdus. The later entombed his daughter which cause her death.

Apollo enraged because of the death of his beloved abandoned Clytie. He left her dispairing and distraught.

Clytie was transformed into a Heliothrope or Sunflower which turns her head to the sun in token of her love.

This myth however, has been subject to debate and speculations. One of them being that the Sunflower was a Peruvian origin and unknown to Europe until the plant was introduced from the New World.

Likewise the plant sunflower was not recorded during the days that Ovid wrote the story of Clytie. Instead the plant mentioned in Ovid’s tale might have been an old German herb.

Leo birth flower

If you’re looking to gift the Sunflowers then it will make the perfect gift for those born under the sign of Leo.

The ruler of the Leo zodiac is the sun. Leo’s are known for their big heart, their warmth and very friendly nature. Indeed they personify qualities of the sun.

Folk Remedies using Sunflower

The Sunflower also has folkloric uses by understanding their uses we can also get an idea of the meaning. folkloric uses. Below is a list of folk remedies that links to the Sunflower.

  • cleansing the body and regulating metabolism.
  • helps to dissolve kidney stones and remove salt derived from uric acid in the bladder.
  • can aid in the treatment of arthritis, arthrosis and osteochondrosis
  • a great addition that helps to fight against cholesterol.
  • treat blood pressure related issues.
  • prevents and removes various cardiovascular illness.
  • provides relief from severe headaches.
  • fight against cystitis.
Sumflower flower charts meaning

Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

The sunflower seeds can be a great source of mineral. It can help to fight or prevent various illness and ailment one might have.

  • mitigates the risks of Heart Disease
  • aids in the reduction of inflammation which helps the body to combat various diseases
  • contains high antioxidant which prevents cancer
  • chemo-preventive compounds found in Sunflower Seeds can delay early phases of cancer development
  • contains selenium that can help with selenium deficiency and help with proper functioning of the thyroid
  • it can help with various conditions like osteoporosis, cramps and bone loss
  • controls blood sugar level which in turn helps with reducing risks of diabetes
  • improves Skin health

Different types of Sunflowers

The Sunflowers come in a wide variety, each have their own characteristics and history behind them. Lets see the different types of sunflowers, their characteristics and uses.

Maximilian Sunflower

The Maximillian Sunflower named after the expert Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied. Those flowers bloom in late summer or early autumn.

The flowers are yellow and grow up to 3 m tall. Their leaves are usually long and slender, they are 10 to 30cm long. The head of the flowers are between 5 to 7.5 cm in diameter.

They generate yellow flowers that grow up to 3 m tall. The heads of those flowers include a bright yellow ray flowers that circle around the yellow central disk.

The roots of the Maximilian sunflower are edible, they are similar in appearance to small potatoes. They have a slightly nutty flavour to them. They can be boiled, roasted or eaten raw.


Swamp Sunflowers

Swamp Sunflowers or Helianthus Angustifolius, is the cousin of the common Sunflower. This particular type of Sunflower prefer damp or moist soil. They flower in early summer.

The stem of the Swap Sunflower usually grows from 50 to 150 cm. The leaves are usually 6 to 20 cm in length, they are slender and covered with hair.

Swamp sunflower are the most valueable forage forb on long leaf pine-blue stream range. It is high in protein containing 10% in the full leaf stage.


Sungold Sunflowers

Sungold sunflowers come in two varieties, Dwarf or Teddy Bear and Giant or Common Sunflower.

The dwarf variety produces flowers that are “fluffy” and have double yellow petals, they are usually around 10 cm in diameter. They have a green center and grow up to 61 to 91 cm tall.

The giant variety produces flowers that are “fluffy”. They are around 15 to 25 cm in diameter. These type are very attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. They can grow up to 150 to 180 cm tall.

FAQ on the Sunflower Meaning

If you like our blog on the sunflower meaning then our category based on flowers that fall under the dominion of the sun might interest you too.


Dietz, S. T. (2022) The complete language of flowers the complete language of flowers: A definitive and illustrated history – pocket edition. Wellfleet Press.

Folkard, R. (1884) Plant lore, legends, and lyrics. Embracing the myths, traditions, superstitions, and folk-lore of the plant kingdom. London: S. Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington.

Junius, M. M. (1993) The practical handbook of plant alchemy: Herbalist’S guide to preparing medicinal essences, tinctures and elixirs. Rochester, NY: Inner Traditions Bear and Company.

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