Christina informed me that Saturday, January 29, 2011 is the sesquicentennial (150 years) of Kansas statehood, and thought it would be appropriate to post the Kansas block on that date--so here it is--with kudos to Kansas!
The sunflower was recognized as an official state flower in 1903. It is also featured on the Kansas state quarter and the state flag. The nickname for Kansas is "The Sunflower State." This nickname and subsequent identity with the flower reportedly happened when a Kansas state lawmaker attended a rodeo that was out of the state in the late 1800s. He noticed something that surprised him: Kansans were wearing sunflowers to identify themselves as being from “the Sunflower State.” Inspired by this, George Morehouse returned home and filed legislation to make the sunflower the state’s official floral emblem.
But even before that, the sunflower had found it's ancient roots in Kansas. Nearly 3,000 years ago it was discovered and domesticated for food production by the Native Americans. The large species we find today is the result of cultivating only the largest seeds over hundreds of years. Lewis and Clark made mention of this in their journals. Eventually, it was brought back to Europe and widely cultivated there also. Today it is a common alternative food crop in the Great Plains and elsewhere for oil production.
In September the fields and roadsides of the Great Plains erupt in a blaze of yellow as the sunflowers and goldenrods (also members of the sunflower family) emerge and take center stage. While many sunflower species may begin blooming in July, they are not as noticeable until they have grown up and over the surrounding vegetation. There are eleven species of sunflower recorded from Kansas. Most of them are perennials. Only the common sunflower and H. petiolaris, the Prairie Sunflower, are annuals. Identification of sunflowers can be very complicated because they frequently hybridize and even within species there is a high degree of variability.
DMC Colors: Always your choice, but here's what I used; #444 for petals; #436 flower center; and shades of dark green #987-989 for stems and leaves. Lettering #645 (smoke gray).