Here is the finished illustration of the Black Mammoth Sunflower:
I think it did end up coming out alright in the end. Today I found more motivation... in coffee.
So, apparently there is actually a national sunflower organization. It seems that its purpose is mostly centered around industry involving the sunflower, but there is some interesting info about the sunflower on their website. It tells me that the sunflower was originally cultivated by Native Americans in present-day New Mexico and Arizona. It was taken to Europe by Spanish explorers around 1500, use spread and then it was eventually brought back to the Americas for commercial use in the 1900's. It also tells me that Native Americans had many uses for it, not just food. "Non-food uses include purple dye for textiles, body painting and other
decorations. Parts of the plant were used medicinally ranging from
snakebite to other body ointments. The oil of the seed was used on the
skin and hair. The dried stalk was used as a building material. The
plant and the seeds were widely used in ceremonies."