Charming Flower Legends & Histories From Across the World


From the flowers carried as a fortunate attraction to the flowers that turned a vacationer vacation spot in Arizona, many flowers have an enchanting historical past. Listed below are some flower legends that comply with a few of our most beloved blooms.

Snowdrops and Crocus

Once I’m studying easy methods to establish totally different flowers and their names, I discover it all the time helps if I do know the historical past behind the flowers. Even only one cool truth makes the identify stick!

Over time, I’ve heard many legends about flowers, and a few are simply so fascinating. Whether or not it’s the place it acquired its identify, the way it was used, or what it represented, many flower legends come from all corners of the world.

I learn A Brief Historical past of Flowers: The Tales That Make Our Gardens by Advolly Richmond and completely liked the totally different tales she instructed about many widespread flowers you may discover in your backyard. I needed to function some wonderful flower legends with the assistance of Advolly!

Listed below are the flower legends we’ll be exploring…

A Short History of Flowers by Advolly Richmond book cover

Excerpted with permission from A Brief Historical past of Flowers (Frances Lincoln, an imprint of The Quarto Group, 2023) by Advolly Richmond. A Brief Historical past of Flowers publishes March 7, 2024, and might be bought wherever nice books are bought. Study extra at quarto.com.

California Poppy

Eschscholzia californica 

The California poppy is native to the western United States, and as you possibly can guess, is among the foremost wildflowers noticed in California. It turned California’s state flower in 1903.

“The plant’s fiery, orange-coloured flowers earned the identify ‘copa del ora’, which implies ‘cups of gold,’ drawing on the legend that the orange gold petals of the Eschscholzia californica stuffed the soil with the identical treasured steel,” says Advolly. “Nobody may have anticipated simply how prophetic this might be when the California Gold Rush got here within the 1850s.”

The First Nations peoples of California valued the plant for its medicinal functions, utilizing it to scale back complications, as a pure antidepressant, as a sleep support, to scale back stress, and extra.

In most up-to-date historical past, Meghan Markle as Duchess of Sussex included the California poppy in her new coat of arms after marrying Prince Harry, honouring her heritage and birthplace.

California poppy flower legends

Daylily

Hemerocallis spp.

Once I’m strolling by means of the streets of Vancouver, you possibly can’t go a couple of homes with out seeing the good blooms of daylilies in the summertime.

“Daylilies had been identified to the early Roman, Greek, and Egyptian medical doctors from vegetation introduced from China alongside the silk routes about 2,000 years in the past. Northern Europe solely realized of them within the sixteenth centre, with Hemerocallis fulva launched in 1576,” says Advolly.

The place daylilies originated, nobody is kind of certain. The idea is that the plant started as an opportunity seedling that then turned cultivated. In China, the flower legend was that consuming the blooms may alleviate sorrow.

I actually love daylilies as an edible decorative. The foundation tubers might be cooked such as you would a potato and the flowers might be eaten in a salad or to garnish a dessert.

daylily flower legend

English Lavender

Lavandula angustifolia

There are few individuals who don’t love the calming scent of lavender. As a identified medicinal herb and aromatherapy staple, lavender is used to scent many residence and sweetness merchandise and as an ornamental ingredient itself when dried.

Lavender has been a European backyard staple because the medieval interval, used to wash laundry and as an insect repellent.

“When Queen Victoria declared her love of lavender, it incited a cult-like response which drove the style for all-things lavender, resulting in the fast development of the English lavender trade,” says Advolly.

To this present day, I feel the lavender craze nonetheless stays robust. The plant is a basis for a lot of of my very own recipes, together with lavender linen water and lavender tub salts.

Discover all my lavender initiatives on this submit.

field of English lavender

Lilac

Syringa vulgaris

Talking of gorgeous scents, we will’t overlook the lilac. Whereas historically a spring bloom, the rising recognition of lilacs led to the French forcing blooms.

The artwork of forcing lilac blooms commercially, particularly for the white model, had been practised in France as early as 1774 in caves and cellars,” says Advolly. “As a result of, remarkably, irrespective of the pure shade of the flower, when non-white lilacs are pressured in the dead of night, they produce white flowers.”

Right this moment, we will develop white lilacs, however the widespread purple lilac stays the most well-liked. They dwell for many years, typically outliving the gardeners who planted them. I inherited my very own lilac tree after I purchased my first residence, and I fortunately introduced cuttings indoors to fragrance the entire home.

pink lilac flowers with white border

Lily of the Valley

Convallaria majalis

Longly beloved, the lily of the valley was one of many first flowers to be grown in cultivated gardens. It’s extremely beloved in France, the place it has its personal competition on Could 1, ever since King Charles IX turned enamoured with the spring bloom.

On this present day, households will get up early and head into the woods to forage for the flowers and produce them to family and friends to represent luck.

However the king isn’t the one well-known Frenchman to be captivated by the lily of the valley.

Christian Dior typically wore the flower in his buttonhole simply as his fashions sported outlandish boutonnieres on the catwalk,” says Advolly. “As a way to make sure that he had a continuing provide of the flower, Dior’s private florist, Madame Paule Dedeban, grew all of it yr spherical in a heated glasshouse in order that the designer was by no means with out his spring bloom.”

lily of the valley

Love-in-a-Mist

Nigella damascena

A signature cottage-style flower, the love-in-a-mist has jewel-like flowers that sit atop feathery, fennel-like leaves. As soon as the flower is gone, a reasonably seed pod takes its place, making it a extremely ornamental flower.

It was a standard backyard flower in Europe by the 16th century, even as soon as thought-about too widespread and never value rising by some. However one of the fashionable varieties, ‘Miss Jekyll’, was bred by Miss Gertrude Jekyll within the 1800s in her personal cottage backyard after years of cautious choice.

Whilst you may count on the flower to characterize love, its identify truly comes from the looks of the flowers floating atop nice foliage.

“Unrequited love and longing additionally discovered which means within the uncommon flower – giving somebody a bouquet of N. damascena meant ‘you puzzle me’ nevertheless it may additionally point out doubt, uncertainty, and even embarrassment,” says Advolly.

Nigella growing in front of lavender

Snapdragon

Antirrhinum majus

Snapdragons are such a novel flower, and I’m certain I’m not alone in squeezing the flower to make the ‘dragon’s jaws’ open and shut. The ‘flames’ of color and a stamen tongue may even poke out.

And in the event you’ve ever let your snapdragons go to seed, you’ll see that their dried pods resemble tiny skulls. Due to this, snapdragons had been thought to supply safety from witchcraft and even once more.

Their look alone may convey every kind of flower legends. “On the peak of the Renaissance, new powers had been bestowed upon the standard snapdragon,” says Advolly. “If you happen to ever discovered your self brief on attraction, it was believed sporting the flower about your particular person may miraculously improve your social standing, because the flowers had been stated to present you charisma.”

Effectively, who can say no to slightly charisma!?

flower legends: snapdragons

Snowdrops

Galanthus nivalis

Earlier than the tulips spring, you will discover snowdrops. They really are one of many first hallmarks of spring, albeit a delicate flower which may get missed upon a primary look. Snowdrops will naturalize and kind a colony, to allow them to linger for a few years after initially being planted.

“Colonies of snowdrops are sometimes discovered naturalised in lots of components of the nation at the moment of yr and, normally, within the neighborhood of the ruins of historical monasteries, churchyards, and different spiritual institutions, relics of previous pious spring traditions,” says Advolly.

Snowdrops are used through the Christian competition Candlemas, the place candles (and snowdrops for his or her resemblance to a candle’s flame) rejoice Mary’s purification within the Temple of Jerusalem.

The flower has additionally been linked to loss of life attributable to its look and being discovered generally in graveyards. Their white petals resemble a corpse’s shroud and the drooping heads like sombre mourners.

Snowdrops with yellow crocus in the background

Candy Pea

Lathyrus odoratus

Candy peas are one other cottage backyard favorite, the place the multi-coloured butterfly flowers climb atop fences and trellises. And, after all, reduce and introduced inside, the place their scent fills the room.

Within the 1800s, the recognition for the flower rose in Europe and by the late 1800s, need for the flower had unfold to America too.

Davis describes one household, the Nakagawa household, in addition to a bunch of different Japanese-American households who sought to determine new farms in Arizona after they had been incarcerated throughout WWII. The Nakagawa’s flower farm grew many flowers, together with candy peas.

“In early summer time, guests travelled throughout states to purchase bouquets from the flower stands or simply to drive previous the sector,” says Advolly. “The scent was stated to hold for miles, and drivers would roll down their home windows to benefit from the attractive scent as they drove by mile after mile.”

The flower farms belonging to those Japanese households had been a extremely sought-after vacation spot. The farms not exist right now, the land being bought to builders over time. However how I want I may have paid a go to!

Zinnia

Zinnia elegans

Compared to different flowers on this listing, it took some time for zinnias to rise to the ranks of essential backyard flower. By the Victorian age, they had been all the trend, and the breeding and cultivation of the plant took off.

Clementine Hunter was a folks artist who discovered loads of inspiration in zinnias. Born on a cotton plantation in Louisiana, Hunter picked cotton earlier than turning into a home servant at Melrose Plantation, a liberal retreat for artists.

“In 1939, on the age of fifty-two, whereas cleansing a just lately vacated visitor room, she got here throughout discarded tubes of paints and brushes left by a visiting artist,” says Advolly. “Hunter, who by no means learnt to learn or write, started to color. One in all her first work in that yr was on a bit of curated cardboard and titled Bown of Zinnias, a favorite topic that she always returned to over time.”

Little did she know that one in all her zinnia work would go on to be displayed on the Louvre. And like Clementine, many people proceed to be infatuated with the zinnia flower.

red zinnia flowers

And people are only a handful of some flower legends and wonderful histories. For extra, you’ll want to try Advolly’s ebook A Brief Historical past of Flowers. If you understand an attention-grabbing story behind a flower, depart it within the feedback beneath.

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