Flower Designs by Susan

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Flowers in History

Asters Ancient societies believed that the odor of its leaves, when burnt, drove away serpents.
Carnation It is believed that the name carnation comes from the word "corone (flower garlands) because it was used in Greek ceremonial crowns.
Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums have been cultivated in Chinese gardens for almost 3000 years.

Mums were considered one of the four Chinese noble plants along with bamboo, the plum, and the orchid, and therefore the lower class Chinese were not allowed to grow them in their gardens.

Visiting Buddhist monks from China brought the chrysanthemum to Japane in AD400. The chrysanthemum is the floral emblem of the imperial family of Japan and was featured on the Imperial Crest of Japan.

Daffodil Prince Charles is paid one daffodil a year as rent for his lands on the Island of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall.
Daisy King Henry VIII are dishes of daisies to help relieve stomach-ulcer pain.

A common remedy for insanity at the time was to drink crushed daisies steeped inwine in samll doses for 15 days.

Dahlia The dalhia originated in Mexico and the Aztecs used dahlias as a treatment for epilepsy.
Delphinium Delphiniums were used by West Coast Native Americans to make blue dye, and European settlers made ink from ground delphinium flowers.

The most ancient use of Delphinium flowers was a strong external concoction thought to drive away scorpions

Gladioli In the first century A.D., Gladioli Pliny the Elder named this flower Gladiolus from the Latin word "gladius" which means sword because looed like the sword carried by the Roman soldier.
Iris Iris was most significant in history as the emblem of France -- Fleur-de-Lis -- established in the 11th century by the king of France.
Lily In Greek marriage ceremonies the bride wears a crown of lilies and wheat implying purity and abundance.

Lilies are also a symbol of death, and at one time lilies were placed on the graves of children.

Marigolds Early Anglo-Saxons called the Marigold "Golds" or "Ruddes" and flowers were often boiled to extract their yellow color for food colorings, fabric, and even hair dyes.
Orchid Greek women thought that if the father of their unborn child ate large, new tubers, the baby would be a boy. If the mother ate small tubers, they would give birth to a baby girl.
Roses After buttercup, the roses are the second oldest variety of flowers on the planet. Biologists can trace roses back some 200 million years.

The first cultivated roses appeared in Asian gardens more than 5,000 years ago.

Confucius wrote that the Emperor of China owned over 600 books about the culture of Roses. The Chinese extracted oil of roses from the plants grown in the Emperor's garden. The oil was only used by nobles and dignitaries of the court. If a commoner were found in possession of even the smallest amount, he was condemned to death!

Cleopatra once covered an entire room in rose petals to welcome Anthony home.

During Roman public games all the streets were strewn with rose petals.

The rose became an important heraldic symbol. During the "War of the Roses," the House of York was symbolized by a white rose, the House of Lancaster by a red rose.

The rose is the emblem of the British royal family. The Wars of the Roses are so named because the Lancastrians whose symbol was a red rose were fighting the Yorkists whose symbol was a white rose.

Sunflower In 1532 Francisco Pizarro reported seeing the natives of the Inca Empire in Peru worshipping a giant sunflower. Incan priestesses wore large sunflower disks made of gold on their garments.

Life jackets used to be filled with sunflower stems.

Tulips In the late 1600's in Holland, tulip bulb prices often exceeded the price of precious metals. A single bulb is said to have sold for more that $2,000. In the seventeenth century, a small bed of tulips was valued at 15,000-20,000 francs. The bulbs became a currency, and their value was quoted like stocks and shares.

The word 'Tulip' is thought to be a corruption of the Turkish word for turbans.

Violet When Napoleon married Josephine, she wore violets, and on each anniversary Josephine received a bouquet of violets. When he died, he wore a locket around his neck that contained violets he had picked from Josephine’s gravesite.

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Copyright © 2007-2011 Susan Savad
Last Modified December 8, 2007