Revisiting: Ah! Sunflower or Heliotropism (part 1)

Today’s offering is an updated version of a post from last August, when I began blogging.  I’m revisiting a topic that interests many some a few people.  Honest!  Someone besides me googled “sunflowers and heliotropism” and ended up here.

Enjoy the new photos by Barb Briggs!

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Sunflowers have inspired


Van_Gogh_Sunflowers wiki CC

Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh


Blake Ah sunflower

“Ah! Sunflower” by William Blake

and worship.

The ancient Aztecs and Incas used sunflowers in ceremonies honoring their sun-god–a natural connection, since the color and shape of the flower echoes the sun.


The sunflower, however, is more than a pretty, golden face, reminding us of the sun. The flower seems to “worship” the sun because of the way the buds and leaves of sunflowers orient themselves to face the sun, following its movement from east to west across the sky.  (This is called heliotropism.)

IMG_6330 - Copy (2)

By the time the sunflower matures and is in full bloom, the flowers permanently face east.

This video (from Indiana University, Department of Biology) shows a young sunflower plant tracking the sun over a 24-hour period.

The dance of the sunflowers and the sun is a wonderful (full of wonder) picture of the relationship between believer and God.  Sunflowers, like any plant, need the sun to survive.  This is the process of photosynthesis where light energy is converted into chemical energy that the plant can use.


For in him we live and move and have our being.  Acts 17:28   NIV

English-speaking Christians have often taken advantage of the happy coincidence of the homonym of sun/son, but there is some Biblical basis for idea of God as the “sun.”

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; . . .  Psalm 84:11   NIV

The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine upon us.   Psalm 118:27   NIV

His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.   Revelation 1:16   NIV

 IMG_6332 sat 7-23-2013 4-40-28 PM

We “sunflowers” turn our faces toward the Lord.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.   2 Chronicles 7:13-15   NIV

Your face, Lord, I will seek.  Psalm 27:8   NIV

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.   Psalm 105:4    NIV


Too much information?  Is it all Greek to you?  Just remember God shines his light on us, and we seek his face like the sunflower. “Shine” and “seek.”


photos by Barb Briggs

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Essential Fridays Linkup  linking with Essential Devotions

PhotoFridayButton_MG_7389-Edit.jpg  linking with Diane Bailey

Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday  linking with Sandra Heska King

Posted on August 9, 2014, in Devotional and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Love it! I plant sunflowers every year to remind me to keep facing the Son!

  2. inspiredbyjune

    This is great, Constance!That video is amazing. I did not know that sunflowers did that, I guess that is how they got their name? They even wilt at night, like a plant that needs water. So much symbolism here! I love what you shared. Have a blessed week!

  3. Toujours la lumière au centre de vos textes et ça fait du bien… Très jolie danse de tournesols. C’est une fleur que j’aime beaucoup, peut-être aussi parce qu’on dit qu’elle est toujours tournée vers le soleil, comme on devrait l’être nous aussi 🙂

    • Because my Spanish is rusty and my French nonexistent, I’m going to include the Google translation of Christiane’s comment. I’m sure it’s a rough translation but will give readers an approximate meaning.
      “Always light at the center of your texts and it feels good … Very nice dancing sunflowers. It is a flower that I love, perhaps because they say it is always turned toward the sun, as it should be, we also”
      I love the idea that the sunflowers are dancing! Thanks for your lovely comment, Christiane.

  4. This is so beautiful! I have always loved sunflowers. These photos and scriptures are a ray of sunshine 🙂

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