This hand-colored copperplate engraving of a sunflower by Basilius Besler was published in his seminal work, Hortus Eystettensis, in 1613.

One of few crop species originating in North America, the name sunflower (Helianthus annus L.) comes from the Greek “helios” (sun) and “Anthos” (flower). Historically and today, sunflowers were grown for food, seeds, and oil. A sunflower head can produce up to 1,000 seeds!

Sunflower Botanical Print

The flower heads have bright yellow ray florets at the outside and brown disc florets on the inside.

Sunflower Botanical Print

Look closely. The engraver, Heinrich Ulrich, inscribed his name on one of the leaves.

Sunflower Botanical Print

A close up of the disc florets.

Sunflower Botanical Print

The detail of the colors of the leaves and ray florets of the sunflower.

Sunflower Botanical Print

Now named Helianthus annus L., Besler referred to the sunflower as Flos Solis prolifer in 1613, before Swedish botanist Carl Linneaus provided us with a formal system of naming species of living things by giving each a name composed in two parts—binominal nomenclature.

 

Sunflower Botanical Print

Click on the video to see the exquisite details of the sunflower botanical print.

Next: 2 A Book with Overlays

Born into an affluent society in England in 1752, Humphry Repton tried several occupations with little success until he changed his course in 1788 and decided to make his living as a professional landscape designer.