The golden-rayed Sunflower is an iconic symbol of later summer. It is believed to be native to western North America. Many Aztec artifacts depict sunflowers and it is the national flower of Peru. Sunflower seeds have a high food value, containing vitamins A and B, calcium, phosphorus and other minerals. Not only are seeds used in our own food preparation, they have been used to feed livestock. Early settlers quickly saw the plant’s value and sent it back to Europe, where it became widely popular. John Gerard, an herbalist in the 17th century who experimented extensively with botanical treasures from the New World wrote, “We have found by triall that the buds before they be flowered, boiled and eaten with butter, vinegar and pepper after the manner of artichokes, an exceedingly pleasant meet, surpassing the artichoke far in procuring bodily lust.” Linguists are still endeavoring to decipher the meaning of those comments.