The origin of the name sunflower


Sunflowers are named sunflowers because they are shaped like a small sun and have a positive orientation. The English name "Sunflower" is not because of its sunny nature, but because its yellow flowers bloom like the sun. In the 16th-17th centuries, the word Sunflower was borrowed from the Latin Flos Solis. The French, Italian and Spanish names of sunflowers Tournesol, Girasol and Girasol, like Chinese names, are named after the character "Sunflower".

In fact, sunflowers are one of the most aliased crops in the Chinese, so much so that it has become a classic linguistic example of the phenomenon of homonyms between dialects. The classic textbook of Peking University, Outline of Linguistics, mentions: "... The same is 'sunflower', and there are also various names in various local dialects of Chinese, Tangshan in Hebei is called 'Ritou Zhuan', Chengde is called 'Chaoyang Zhuan', Renqiu is called 'Wangtianzhuan', Shandong Jinan is called 'Chaoyang Flower', Changle is called 'Xiangyang Flower', Juxian is called 'Zhuan Nichi Flower', Qixia is called 'Zhuan Nichi Lotus', Hunan Shaoyang is called 'Pantou Melon Seed' and so on. ”

Despite all the aliases, it was "Sunflower" who eventually won and became the common name for the crop throughout the Chinese world. The earliest mention of this name was also a late Ming book - Wen Zhenheng's "Records of Long Things", and later in the Qing Dynasty Chen Shuzi's "Flower Mirror" and other works also used this name. Apparently, "sunflower" is a new name that uses the ancient plant name "sunflower".

Sunflowers are one of several plants cultivated by Native Americans in prehistoric North America and are part of the agricultural complex in eastern North America. Although it is widely believed that sunflowers were first domesticated in what is now the southeastern United States, about 5,000 years ago. But there is evidence that the species was first domesticated in Mexico in 2600 BC. The crops were found at the San Andres excavation site in Tabasco, Mexico. The earliest known examples of fully domesticated sunflowers in the United States have been found in Tennessee, dating back to around 2300 BC. Other very early examples come from rock sites in eastern Kentucky. Many Native Americans used the sunflower as a symbol of their sun god, including the Aztecs and the Otomi of Mexico and the Incas of South America. Sunflowers are a common crop found throughout North American Indian tribes. There is evidence that this plant was cultivated by American Indians around 3000 BC in areas of contemporary Arizona and New Mexico. Some archaeologists believe that sunflowers may have been domesticated before corn.

In 1510, early Spanish explorers encountered sunflowers in the Americas and shipped their seeds back to Europe. Of the four plants known to have been domesticated on the eastern continent of the United States, they have become important agricultural commodities, and sunflowers are the most economically important plants of our time.

In the 18th century, the use of sunflower oil became very popular in Russia, especially among members of the Russian Orthodox Church, as according to some fasting traditions, sunflower oil was one of the few oils allowed during Lent. In the early 19th century, sunflowers were first commercialized in the village of Alexeyevka in Voronezh province by businessman Daniil Bokaryov, who developed a technique suitable for large-scale cultivation and quickly spread. Since then, the town's coat of arms has included the image of a sunflower.

Wild sunflowers are native to North America, but commercialization of the plant takes place in Russia. It was only in modern times that the sunflower plant returned to North America as a cultivated crop. However, the American Indians first domesticated the plant into a single-headed plant with seeds in a variety of colors, including black, white, red, and black with white stripes.