It’s become the norm in FOTW to explore the inspiration behind the name of that week’s plant - often it’s something to do with niche characters from Greek mythology or some questionable visual comparisons (does a Snake’s Head Fritillary really bear any resemblance to the face of a serpent for example?).
With the sunflower, there’s no messing around like that. It’s a flower and it looks like the sun. Like actually looks like it - same colour, shape, everything. Sure, the cynics amongst us might scoff at their broadest of the broad appeal - I would say they’re like the Coldplay of the flower world but even the worst flower out there doesn’t deserve that accolade. Truth is, there is something inherently happy about them: those bright yellow ‘ray’ petals, their gangly shape and larger than life size. They symbolise adoration but there’s nothing particularly symbolic about that is there?
They originated in the Americas, cultivated for food (presumably not just as seeds for topping burger buns but it is America…). Of course there’s also a particularly famous painting that we haven’t talked about yet, and for those who decry the lack of subtly in this most generous and giving of flowers I would point you in the direction of this particular quote from Van Gogh: “There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”