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Growing Home: Sunflowers

In Europe, sunflowers are an important food crop. Russian czar, Peter the Great, in the early 1700s, encouraged sunflower production. Russians excelled in breeding sunflowers and created the large, variety called “Russian Mammoth.” Many Russians are surprised to learn that the sunflower is native to the Americas. Ironically, throughout Ukraine’s history, the sunflower has been a symbol of peace. In 1996, to celebrate Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons, Russian and Ukrainian defense ministers planted sunflowers at a missile base. Now the two are in a brutal war due to Russia’s invasion.