Contest Directions: When it comes to painting flowers, none of the artists ever achieved the vivacity and intensity of Van Gogh's paintings of sunflowers.
The master himself considered sunflowers his favorite and his biggest achievement in art, saying "You may know that the peony is Jeannin's, the hollyhock belongs to Quost, but the sunflower is mine in a way."
Photoshop sunflowers any way you wish. Some examples are - sunflowers in movies and paintings, merging sunflowers with objects and animals, think "flowerchild", 70s, etc!
Started: 2/7/2008 06:00
Ended: 2/9/2008 06:05
This gallery only contains our top 30 selections from its parent contest Sunflowers. All 29 contest pictures can be viewed here.
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This contest is fueled by the following news: The sunflower (Latin - Helianthus) belongs to plants of the composite flower family. The most well known species in this genus of plants is the oil-bearing sunflower (Helianthus annuus). This species is grown all around the world and used for the manufacturing of sunflower oil. To the same genus belongs perennial plants like girasol (Helianthus tuberosus), the roots of it are used for edible purposes. Some types of sunflowers do exist for purely decorative purposes, for instance the acutifoliate sunflower (Helianthus argophyllus).
The oil-bearing sunflower is an annual plant, with large stems, which grows up to 4-5m, can be simple or branchy, with one or several heads; a single head, sometimes reaches up to 0.5m in width (usually-15-20cm); the outer flowers are yellow and the middle ones are of an orange color.
The fruit of the sunflower is a long quadrangular or flattened achene at the sides, and comprises of a pericarp (skin or husk) and a white seed (kernel). The pericarp of the modern sunflower varieties has a shielded layer between the bast-cell and cork skin, and this layer protects the achene from sunflower pickleworms.
History of the sunflower:
The native area of the sunflower is in North America. Most probably, the North American Indians first cultivated the sunflower. There is archaeological proof of the sunflower growing on land in Arizona and New Mexico in 3000 B.C. Some archaeologists say that the sunflower was cultivated even before wheat.
Indians used the floured seeds of the sunflower just as we use wheat flour and the squashed sunflower was a favorite meal. There is proof of sunflower oil manufacturing by Indians. Oil was used in bread making, and even possibly as cosmetics for the anointment of the skin and hair.
Also, Indians extracted purple dye from the sunflower.
To Europe the sunflower was brought by the Spanish conquerors of America approximately in 1500.
Initially, the sunflower plant was used as a decorative flower and sometimes in medicine.
First, the manufacturing of oil from the sunflower was pondered by the English, an existing English patent from 1716, describes this process. Nevertheless, only in Russia did the industrial manufacturing of sunflower oil start.
Peter the Great brought sunflower seeds from Holland. The plant was initially used for decorative purposes.
The industrial process of sunflower oil manufacturing was established by serf Bokaryov from Alekseevka in 1828. Bokaryov was known for the production of linen and cedar oil and decided to apply the same rules to the production of sunflower oil. Already in 1833, the landlord of Alekseevka, Count Sheremetyev, in cooperation with Bokaryov, built the first factory for sunflower extraction. Sunflower oil became very popular in Russia mainly due to that it was not prohibited to use during Lent (By the way, the second name of sunflower oil is Lent oil). By the middle of the 19th century, in many regions of Vororonezh and Saratov counties, the sunflower occupied 30-40% of the total sowing fields.
By the efforts of Russian (Soviet) stock breeders V.S. Pustovoit and L.A.Zhdanova and others it was possible to significantly increase the yield of oil in the sunflower and its strength to combat its pests. The prestigious award in sunflower cultivation carries the name of Pustovoit.
At the end of the 20th century, Russian emigrants again brought back the sunflower to the USA and Canada. Soon, the US became one of the biggest (after Russia) producers of sunflower oil.
Now growing the sunflower and the manufacturing of sunflower oil is widespread all over the world.
Use of the sunflower:
The main use of the oil-bearing sunflower is extracting the sunflower oil, which then is used for making food and for technical purposes. By the hydrogenation of sunflower oil, margarine is extracted. The oil is also used in lacquer and in the soap industries.
The waste of sunflower oil manufacturing (oil cake and sunflower cattle cake) is used as nutrient-rich fodder for cattle.
In Russia even before the invention of sunflower production, the fried seeds of sunflowers were used as popular dainties (seeds and seedlings). Even a special sub-type of oil-bearing sunflower with larger oil seeds exists.
Sunflower seeds contain many vitamins PP and E.
The sunflower is an important honey plant.
Also the sunflower is used as a decorative plant.
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