Discover the national flower of Ukraine: the sunflower

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ukraine geography

Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe and is the second largest country in continental Europe after Russia. It is twice the size of Italy and slightly smaller than Texas. Ukraine borders Hungary, Russia, Moldova, Belarus, Poland, Romania and Slovakia to the east, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south.

Most of Ukraine is flat, with mountains to the west (Carpathians) and south of the Crimean peninsula (Crimean Mountains). The country's fertile land, known as the steppe, is perfect for growing crops like wheat, earning Ukraine the nickname "the breadbasket of Europe." The longest river in Ukraine and the fourth longest waterway in Europe, the Dnieper River flows from Belarus to the Black Sea in the south.

Sunflowers are especially common in Ukraine. They grow in fields everywhere, creating beautiful landscapes full of vibrant colors in summer. In addition to being a popular source of beauty and appreciation, sunflowers are economical as they can be sold or used to produce cooking oil. Their seeds are also widely eaten directly or processed into various foods such as bread, snacks, etc. Sunflower cultivation has been an important part of Ukrainian culture for centuries and continues to bring joy and prosperity today!

Ukraine
Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe and is the second largest country in continental Europe after Russia.

©hyotographics/Shutterstock.com

people and culture

Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Europe by area, but its population of approximately 43 million makes it smaller than other European countries such as Germany and France. Most Ukrainians are local residents, while Russians are the second largest group. Belarusians, Moldovans, Jews and Muslims can also be found there. Orthodox Christianity is the main religion in Ukraine, with minorities following Judaism or Islam.

Many Ukrainians live in cities or towns, and the capital and most populous city, Kiev, is home to Arsenalna Metro Station, the deepest metro station on Earth. It requires digging over 340 feet to get under the Dnieper, and taking an escalator to the bottom can take up to five minutes!

Popular dishes in Ukraine include borscht, varenyky, holubtsi and deruni. Also, paska, a salted egg bread, is often served during Easter.

Ukrainian traditional clothing
Most Ukrainians are local residents, while Russians are the second largest group. Belarusians, Moldovans, Jews and Muslims can also be found there.

©Dmytro Gilitukha/Shutterstock.com

national flower

In the early 1700s, the Russian Orthodox Church banned several types of fats and oils during Lent. This led to the growth of sunflower oil as an alternative, and eventually, two million acres of land in Ukraine and Russia were dedicated to growing sunflowers. Sunflower oil is a popular vegetable oil choice right now because it contains unsaturated fats and oleic acid, which help improve good cholesterol. Ukraine and Russia currently produce about 70-80% of world sunflower oil exports.

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Sunflowers are a visible part of Ukrainian culture, representing the spirit and identity of the country. They have become an important symbol of Ukraine, appearing on many symbols such as flags, coins, postage stamps and postcards. Sunflowers can be seen growing across the country at various times of the year, and they often appear as decorations during special celebrations or festivals. In addition to being synonymous with Ukraine itself, the sunflower also represents joy and happiness, which is cherished by Ukrainians across the country, from children to older generations.

ukrainian sunflower
Sunflowers are a visible part of Ukrainian culture, representing the spirit and identity of the country. They have become an important symbol of Ukraine, appearing on many symbols such as flags, coins, postage stamps and postcards.

©FamVeld/Shutterstock.com

What is a sunflower?

The sunflower is a tall, vigorous flowering plant with large yellow petals that can grow up to 8 feet tall. It belongs to the Asteraceae family, which includes daisies, dahlias, chrysanthemums, and zinnias. The scientific name of the sunflower is Helianthus annuus.

Sunflowers are native to North America but are grown all over the world for their beauty and edible seeds. They are also often used as symbols of warmth, hope, fidelity, and fidelity, as they feature the ability to turn toward the sun as it moves through the day, which seems to be an act of adoration or admiration. Additionally, sunflowers represent Ukrainian national pride and resilience.

sunflowers at sunset
Sunflowers come in many colors and sizes.

© iStock.com/Katie Simmons

tallest sunflower ever

German farmer Hans-Peter Schiffer from the karst region of North Rhine-Westphalia planted the tallest sunflowers ever recorded. This impressive tall flower measured an incredible 30 feet 1 inch and was officially certified by Guinness World Records on August 28, 2014.

history of sunflowers

Sunflowers first came to North America when Spanish explorers brought them from Central and South America in the 16th century. It was quickly adopted by Native Americans, who used it for food, oil, dye, and medicine. Sunflowers have been grown in Ukraine since at least the 18th century.

They are now grown widely across the country as ornamental flowers and as a source of food, oil, and even livestock feed. Sunflowers hold a special place in Ukrainian culture. They are often used to decorate homes at weddings or other festive occasions. Sunflowers are also considered a symbol of good luck and hope. After decades of political turmoil, Ukrainians desperately need two things.

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How to Grow Sunflowers

Growing sunflowers is a relatively easy process, but there are some important steps to follow to ensure success. First, it's best to sow seeds outside after all danger of frost has passed and the soil can be easily worked. The soil should be well-drained and amended with organic matter such as compost or aged manure. This will help the sunflowers develop strong, healthy roots.

Make sure to plant the seeds an inch deep in the ground and at least 12 inches apart from each other so they have enough room to spread their roots and grow tall stems. Water regularly during dry periods, making sure not to overwater, which can damage the growth of your sunflower plants. Once established, sunlight is essential for successful flowering, so make sure your garden receives plenty of sunlight throughout the day!

sunflower field
Make sure to plant the seeds an inch deep in the ground and at least 12 inches apart from each other so they have enough room to spread their roots and grow tall stems.

©Retired Guy Photography/Shutterstock.com

Where do sunflowers come from?

Sunflowers are native to North and Central America, and only three species are native to South America. The most famous of these is the common sunflower (Helianthus annuus). They are often associated with their signature round flower heads and sun-like yellow petals.

These beautiful flowers can be found all over North and Central America, from Mexico all the way to Canada. They grow best in warm climates where there is plenty of sunlight for them to soak up, hence the name!

In some areas, they may even be considered weeds. They can spread rapidly due to cross-pollination between different plants. Despite this, the sunflower has become a symbol of joy and good luck all over the world.

What animal eats sunflowers?

What animal eats sunflowers? Sunflower seeds are a nutritious snack for many types of birds, including cardinals, chickadees, finches, jays and house sparrows. Wild turkeys and squirrels also like to feed on the seeds in the flower heads.

Chipmunks, deer, voles, and eastern cottontail rabbits all feed on sunflower seeds. Ladybugs drink nectar from flowers, while bees pollinate them. Raccoons also like to eat sunflower seeds, but sometimes other parts of the plant as well. All of these animals benefit from using sunflowers as a food source. Some species of sunflower petals are also edible. They provide vital nutrients for wildlife in the fall when they try to fatten up in the winter.

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wild turkey
Wild turkeys are one of many animals that feed on sunflowers.

©Sean R. Stubben/Shutterstock.com

wild animals of ukraine

Ukraine has a diverse landscape and wildlife. It includes predators such as wolves, martens, and foxes, as well as birds such as grouse, wild geese, and partridges. Fish such as sturgeon, pike and carp can be found in rivers and lakes across the country. Tragically, the 1986 nuclear accident at the Chernobyl (or Chornobyl in Ukrainian) nuclear power plant wreaked havoc on the environment in northern Ukraine. However, exclusion zones around the area have seen some wildlife return. Rare animals like bobcats and European bison have even been spotted.

Young pine marten looking out of tree trunk.
Ukraine has a diverse landscape and wildlife, including predators such as minks.

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featured image

sunflower stretching toward the sun
Field of yellow sunflowers at sunset, in summer.

© iStock.com/oleshkonti


about the author

heather hall


I'm a freelance writer with 22 years of experience. I live in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by nature. When I do my daily runs, I often see herds of elk, deer, and bald eagles. I have two dogs that take me on hikes in the mountains where we see coyotes, black bears, and wild turkeys.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

When were sunflowers introduced to Ukraine?

In the early 1700s, the Russian Orthodox Church banned several types of fats and oils during Lent. This led to the growth of sunflower oil as an alternative, and eventually, two million acres of land in Ukraine and Russia were dedicated to growing sunflowers.

What is a sunflower?

The sunflower is a tall, vigorous flowering plant with large yellow petals that can grow up to 8 feet tall. It belongs to the Asteraceae family, which includes daisies, dahlias, chrysanthemums, and zinnias. The scientific name of the sunflower is Helianthus annuus.

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