As the full summer sun began its descent to fall, the towering sunflowers that grew from the sunflower seed I put out for the birds, gloried in the heat, soon to bow their swollen heads to the Earth.
The Common Sunflower has a long history of association with people. Nearly 3,000 years ago it was domesticated for food production by the Native Americans. It was only through careful selection for the largest size seeds over hundreds of years that the cultivated sunflower was produced. It was brought back to the Old World by the early European explorers and widely cultivated there also.
Next time you munch down on some sunflower seeds, thank the many generations of Native Americans whose careful husbandry gave us this valuable food item.