Sunflowers originate from North America but would travel to the Old World and back – and back again - in their centuries old journey to become the plant we know today. They were probably one of the first crops to be grown in the Americas. Before this they were picked by hunter gatherers as a natural source of fat. The seeds could be ground up and mixed with flour to make bread much like the pita variety we eat today. Around five thousand years ago people began to farm them in the south-western parts of North America in what is now Mexico. As they were cultivated over the generations the plants were encouraged to produce ever bigger seeds – and many more of them as well. So, the sunflower we have now bears no resemblance to how it started out as the human race has interfered with its characteristics for all these thousands of years.