In 1903, the Kansas Legislature placed into law a decree that the Helianthus (or wild native sunflower) would become the official state flower and floral emblem of the state.
The flower was regarded then — as now — as symbolic of Kansas and its people. The enacting Legislation is quite poetic:
WHEREAS, Kansas has a native wild flower common throughout her borders, hardy and conspicuous, of definite, unvarying and striking shape, easily sketched, moulded, and carved, having armorial capacities, ideally adapted for artistic reproduction, with its strong, distinct disk and its golden circle of clear glowing rays — a flower that a child can draw on a slate, a woman can work in silk, or a man can carve on stone or fashion in clay; and
WHEREAS, This flower has to all Kansans a historic symbolism which speaks of frontier days, winding trails, pathless prairies, and is full of the life and glory of the past, the pride of the present, and richly emblematic of the majesty of a golden future, and is a flower which has given Kansas the world-wide name, "the sunflower state": therefore,
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas: That the helianthus or wild native sunflower is hereby made, designated and declared to be the state flower and floral emblem of the state of Kansas. — K.S.A. 73-1801
The Sunflower Foundation is proud of its name and its namesake's history in the state.
After Kansas suffragists adopted this state symbol for a campaign in 1867, yellow became the symbolic color of the national women’s suffrage movement. Supporters were urged to show their colors by wearing yellow ribbons, buttons, and sashes.
Sunflowers stand strong amidst the winds of adversity and the challenges of the state's environment. They love the heat, turning their faces towards the sun as they grow. Sunflowers are a natural symbol for advocacy because of their resilience.
The symbol aligns well with the Sunflower Foundation’s long-term investment in advocacy, which focuses on training nonprofit leaders to speak out for those who do not in practice have a voice in decisions that affect their health and their lives.