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What Is the State Flower of Kansas? How Was It Decided?

sunflower

The state of Kansas is known for its amazing agricultural contributions, as it’s one of the biggest producers of corn, wheat, and soybeans in the United States. It’s also a great place to visit if you love mild temperatures, beautiful forest preserves, and relaxing culture. Not only can you enjoy some interesting sightseeing while visiting Kansas, but you can also get quite a few history lessons as well.

garden flower dividerWhat is the State Flower of Kansas?

The Wild Sunflower (scientific name: Helianthus annuus) also known as the “common sunflower” is the state flower of Kansas and has been since its adoption in 1903. The sunflower is also present on the state’s flag and is native to the state as well. The native sunflower had long been a symbol for Kansas since the frontier days, and is a common flower found along trails, roadsides, and in forest preserves.

There’s no shortage of sunflowers available for viewing along the many roadsides of Kansas, especially in the warmer months of the year. These beautiful flowers provide sustenance to various birds and insects, and they make for beautiful decorations if you love to go foraging.

Appearance

sunflowers in the garden
Image Credit: Piqsels

The flower heads of sunflowers can reach up to 4-5 inches in diameter. They have yellow, pleated petals and a central brownish disc. The leaves can measure anywhere from 6 inches to 1 foot in length. Their stem leaves are covered in short, stiff hairs. This wildflower can be easily hybridized (aka “crossbred”) and is highly variable.

Growing Conditions

Sunflowers have long roots that can easily become waterlogged if they receive too much moisture. When growing sunflowers, it’s always a good idea to first check the sowing area for any hardened soil before planting the seeds or roots. Any hardened soil or compost should be removed as it can affect the plant’s ability to grow (by blocking root access).

Sunflowers require full sun for most of the day, and anywhere from six to eight hours is ideal. They also require water on a daily basis to keep their soil moist–though it should also be well-draining to prevent waterlogging.

Growing & Germination

sunflower
Image Credit: suju, Pixabay

After sowing, sunflower seeds will start to germinate in about 7-10 days. They will reach maturity at 2-6 feet in height and can be placed approximately 6-12 inches apart. Wild sunflower is an annual blooming variety that produces flowers every year, provided it receives ample sunlight, rich soil, moderate temperatures, and moist conditions.

What Are the Main Commercial Uses for Sunflowers?

Sunflower plants are used to make sunflower oil mainly for cooking, but it’s also used in many beauty products. The seeds of the sunflower plant are also widely consumed. They’re often roasted, salted, and eaten as a snack (and they’re especially popular amongst baseball players).

garden flower dividerWrapping Things Up

The state flower of Kansas is the wild sunflower. It has historic symbolism in the state and is native to the area. The sunflower is one of the most easily recognizable flowers in the world, known for its huge brown disc and yellow petals. Sunflower typically grows in moderate temperatures and the plant is used agriculturally for oil and its seeds.


Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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