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SylviaFloral - SylviaFloral - Flower history Mon, 26 Oct 2020 09:50:37 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Alstoemeria Alstoemeria

Commonly called the Peruvian lily...

Alstroemeria aurea (Peruvian Lily

Alstroemeria commonly called the Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas, is a South American genus of about 120 species of flowering plants. Almost all of the species are restricted to one of two distinct centers of diversity, one in central Chile, the other in eastern Brazil. Species of Alstroemeria from Chile are winter-growing plants while those of Brazil are summer-growing.


The genus was named for the Swedish baron Clas Alströmer (Claus von Alstroemer 1736 - 1794) by his close friend Carolus Linnaeus The plant was first described by the French botanist Louis Feuillée. The plant's seeds were among many collected by Alströmer on a trip to South America in 1753.


The plants are distinctive vegetatively, with a rootstock consisting of a slender rhizome or group of rhizomes (the "crown"). Storage roots consist of sausage-like water storing structures "suspended" from the rhizome by major roots. In this way the root system resembles that of dahlias. Above-ground shoots may be very short in some alpine Andean species (a few inches tall) or up to about 5 feet (1.5 m) tall in other species. Each year (more often in some hybrids) up to 80 new shoots are produced from the rootstock and each terminates in an umbel of a few up to 10 or so flowers.

Perhaps the most fascinating- and telltale- morphological trait of Alstroemeria and its relatives is the fact that the leaves are resupinate, that is, they twist from the base so that what appears to be the upper leaf surface is in fact the lower leaf surface. This very unusual botanical feature is easily observed in the leaves on cut flowers from the florist.

The flowers of Alstroemeria are generally showy. All six tepals (tepal denotes either petal or sepal when both are similar, as in lilies, amaryllis, etc.) are roughly similar. In some species two tepals are enlarged and vividly colored and act as "flags" for pollination. The ovary is inferior and the seeds are hard and rounded.

See also Bomarea, the other major genus in the Alstroemeriaceae. They are essentially twining Alstroemerias (though some species are not vining), with most species occurring in the Andes.

Cultivation and uses

Many hybrids and about 190 cultivars have been developed, with different markings and colors, ranging from white, golden yellow, and orange, to apricot, pink, red, purple, and lavender. The most popular and showy hybrids commonly grown today result from crosses between species from Chile (winter-growing) with species from Brazil (summer-growing). This strategy has overcome the problem of seasonal dormancy and resulted in plants that are evergreen, or nearly so, and flower for most of the year. This breeding work derives mainly from trials that began in the United States in the 1980s. The flower, which resembles a miniature lily, is very popular for bouquets and flower arrangements in the commercial cut flower trade. It has a vase life of about two weeks. It is sometimes also called 'Ulster Mary' (a corruption of the genus name).

Most cultivars available for the home garden will bloom in the late spring and early summer. The roots are hardy to a temperature of 23 °F (-5 °C). The plant requires at least six hours of morning sunlight, regular water, and well-drained soil.

]]> (Super User) Flower history Mon, 22 Oct 2012 02:18:26 +0000
Tulip Tulip

The tulip is a perennial, bulbous plant with...


The tulip is a perennial, bulbous plant with showy flowers in the genus Tulipa, of which up to 109 species[1] have been described and which belongs to the family Liliaceae.[2] The genus's native range extends from as far west as Southern Europe, Israel, North Africa, Anatolia, and Iran to the Northwest of China. The tulip's centre of diversity is in the Pamir, Hindu Kush, and Tien Shan mountains. [3] A number of species and many hybrid cultivars are grown in gardens, as potted plants, or to display as fresh-cut flowers. Most cultivars of tulip are derived from Tulipa gesneriana.

A view inside some tulips, showing the stamens and stigmas

Tulips are spring-blooming perennials that grow from bulbs. Depending on the species, tulip plants can grow as short as 4 inches (10 cm) or as high as 28 inches (71 cm). The tulip's large flowers usually bloom on scapes or subscapose[further explanation needed] stems that lack bracts. Most tulips produce only one flower per stem, but a few species bear multiple flowers on their scapes (e.g. Tulipa turkestanica). The showy, generally cup or star-shaped tulip flower has three petals and three sepals, which are often termed tepals because they are nearly identical. These six tepals are often marked on the interior surface near the bases with darker colorings. Tulip flowers come in a wide variety of colors, except pure blue (several tulips with "blue" in the name have a faint violet hue).[4][5]
Tip of a tulip stamen. Note the grains of pollen

The flowers have six distinct, basifixed stamens with filaments shorter than the tepals. Each stigma of the flower has three distinct lobes, and the ovaries are superior, with three chambers.[further explanation needed] The tulip's fruit is a capsule with a leathery covering and an ellipsoid to subglobose shape.[further explanation needed] Each capsule contains numerous flat, disc-shaped seeds in two rows per chamber.[6] These light to dark brown seeds have very thin seed coats and endosperm that does not normally fill the entire seed.[7]

Tulip stems have few leaves, with larger species tending to have multiple leaves. Plants typically have 2 to 6 leaves, with some species having up to 12. The tulip's leaf is strap-shaped, with a waxy coating, and leaves are alternately arranged on the stem; these fleshy blades are often bluish green in color.

Origin of the name

Although tulips are often associated with the Netherlands, commercial cultivation of the flower began in the Ottoman Empire.[citation needed] Tulips, or lale (from Persian ????, lâleh) as they are also called in Iran and Turkey, comprise many species that together are indigenous to a vast area encompassing parts of Asia, Europe and north Africa. The word tulip, which earlier appeared in English in forms such as tulipa or tulipant, entered the language by way of French tulipe and its obsolete form tulipan or by way of Modern Latin tulipa, from Ottoman Turkish tülbend ("muslin" or "gauze"), and is ultimately derived from Persian ????? dulband ("turban").[8]

In Persia, to give a red tulip was to declare your love. The black center of the red tulip was said to represent the lover's heart, burned to a coal by love's passion. To give a yellow tulip was to declare your love hopelessly and utterly.[9]
On this illustration on the right is shown a tulip's fruit.


Tulips are indigenous to mountainous areas with temperate climates and need a period of cool dormancy, known as vernalization. They thrive in climates with long, cool springs and dry summers. Although perennials, tulip bulbs are often imported to warm-winter areas of the world from cold-winter areas, and are planted in the fall to be treated as annuals.

Tulip bulbs are typically planted around late summer and fall, in well-drained soils, normally from 4 inches (10 cm) to 8 inches (20 cm) deep, depending on the type planted. In parts of the world that do not have long cool springs and dry summers, the bulbs are often planted up to 12 inches (30 cm) deep. This provides some insulation from the heat of summer, and tends to encourage the plants to regenerate one large, floriferous bulb each year, instead of many smaller, non-blooming ones. This can extend the life of a tulip plant in warmer-winter areas by a few years, but it does not stave off degradation in bulb size and the eventual death of the plant due to the lack of vernalization.


Tulips can be propagated through bulb offsets, seeds or micropropagation.[10] Offsets and tissue culture methods are means of asexual propagation for producing genetic clones of the parent plant, which maintains cultivar genetic integrity. Seed-raised plants show greater genetic variation, and seeds are most often used to propagate species and subspecies or to create new hybrids. Many tulip species can cross-pollinate with each other, and when wild tulip populations overlap geographically with other tulip species or subspecies, they often hybridize and create genetically mixed populations. On the other hand, most commercial tulip cultivars are complex hybrids, and actually sterile. Those hybrid plants that do produce seeds most often have offspring dissimilar to the parents.

Growing salable tulips from offsets requires a year or more of growth before plants are large enough to flower. Tulips grown from seeds often need five to eight years of growth before plants are flowering size. Commercial growers usually harvest the tulip bulbs in late summer and grade them into sizes; bulbs large enough to flower are sorted and sold, while smaller bulbs are sorted into sizes and replanted, for sale in the future. Holland is the world's main producer of commercially sold tulip plants, producing as many as 3 billion bulbs annually, the majority for export.[11]

Introduction to Western Europe
Further information: Tulip mania
Tulip cultivation in the Netherlands

Although it is unknown who first brought the tulip to Northwestern Europe, the most widely accepted story is that it was Oghier Ghislain de Busbecq, an ambassador for Ferdinand I of Germany to Suleyman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire. He remarked in a letter that he saw "an abundance of flowers everywhere; Narcissus, hyacinths and those in Turkish called Lale, much to our astonishment because it was almost midwinter, a season unfriendly to flowers."[12] However, in 1559, an account by Conrad Gessner described tulips flowering in Augsburg, Bavaria in the garden of Councillor Herwart. Due to the nature of the tulip's growing cycle, tulip bulbs are generally removed from the ground in June and must be replanted by September to endure the winter. While possible, it is doubtful that Busbecq could successfully have had the tulip bulbs harvested, shipped to Germany, and replanted between his first sighting of them in March 1558 and Gessner's description the following year. As a result, Busbecq's account of the supposed first sighting of tulips by a European is possibly spurious.

Carolus Clusius planted tulips at the Imperial Botanical Gardens of Vienna in 1573 and later at the Leiden University's newly established Hortus Botanicus, where he was appointed director. There he planted some of his tulip bulbs in late 1593. As a result, 1594 is considered the official date of the tulip's first flowering in the Netherlands, despite reports of the flowers being cultivated in private gardens in Antwerp and Amsterdam two or three decades earlier. These tulips at Leiden would eventually lead to both Tulip mania and the commercial tulip industry in Holland.[13]
The reproductive organs of a tulip

Another account of the origin of the tulip in Western Europe is of Lopo Vaz de Sampaio, governor of the Portuguese possessions in India. After attempting to usurp power from the rightful governor, Sampaio was forced to return to Portugal in disgrace.[clarification needed] Supposedly, he took tulip bulbs back to Portugal with him from Sri Lanka. This story does not hold up to scrutiny though because tulips do not occur in Sri Lanka and the island itself is far from the route Sampaio's ships would have likely taken.

Regardless of how the flower originally arrived in Europe, its popularity soared quickly. Carolus Clusius is largely responsible for the spread of tulip bulbs in the final years of the sixteenth century. He finished writing the first major work on tulips in 1592, and he made note of the variations in colour that help make the tulip so admired. While occupying a chair as a faculty member in the school of medicine at the University of Leiden, Clusius planted both a teaching garden and private plot of his ownwith tulip bulbs. In 1596 and 1598, Clusius suffered thefts from his garden, with over a hundred bulbs stolen in a single raid.

Between 1634 and 1637, the early enthusiasm for the new flowers triggered a speculative frenzy now known as the tulip mania. Tulips would become so expensive that they were treated as a form of currency. Around this time, the ceramic tulipiere was devised for the display of cut flowers stem by stem (bouquets displayed in vases were rare until the 19th century, although such vases and bouquets, usually including tulips, often appeared in Dutch still-life painting). To this day, tulips are associated with the Netherlands, and the cultivated forms of the tulip are often called "Dutch tulips." In addition to the tulip industry and tulip festivals, the Netherlands has the world's largest permanent display of tulips at Keukenhof, although the display is only open to the public seasonally.

Introduction to the United States

It is believed the first tulips in the United States were grown near Spring Pond at the Fay Estate in Lynn and Salem, Massachusetts. From 1847 to 1865, a historic land owner named Richard Sullivan Fay, Esq., one of Lynn's wealthiest men, settled on 500 acres (2.0 km2) located partly in present-day Lynn and partly in present-day Salem. While there, Mr. Fay imported many different trees and plants from all parts of the world and planted them among the meadows of the Fay Estate.[14]

Variegated colours produced by TBV or Tulip Breaking Virus

Botrytis tulipae is a major fungal disease affecting tulips, causing cell death and eventually the rotting of the plant.[15] Other pathogens include anthracnose, bacterial soft rot, blight caused by Sclerotium rolfsii, bulb nematodes, other rots including blue molds, black molds and mushy rot.[16]

Variegated varieties admired during the Dutch tulipomania gained their delicately feathered patterns from an infection with the tulip breaking virus, a mosaic virus that was carried by the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae. These aphids were common in European gardens of the seventeenth century. While the virus produces fantastically colourful flowers, it also causes weakened plants prone to decline.

Today the virus is almost eradicated from tulip growers' fields. Tulips that are affected by mosaic virus are called "broken tulips"; while such tulips can occasionally revert to a plain or solid colouring, they will remain infected with the virus. While some modern varieties also display multicoloured patterns, the patterns result from breeding selection for a genetic mutation. In these tulips, natural variation in the upper and lower layers of pigment in the flower are responsible for the patterns.

In art and culture
An Iranian coin with Tulip

During the Ottoman Empire, the tulip became very popular in Ottoman territories and was seen as a symbol of abundance and indulgence. In fact, the era during which the Ottoman Empire was wealthiest is often called the Tulip era or Lale Devri in Turkish.

In classic and modern Persian literature, special attention has been given to these beautiful flowers, and in recent times, tulips have featured in the poems of Simin Behbahani. However, the tulip was a topic for Persian poets as far back as the thirteenth century. Musharrifu'd-din Saadi,[clarification needed] in his poem Gulistan, described a visionary, garden paradise with 'The murmur of a cool stream / bird song, ripe fruit in plenty / bright multicoloured tulips and fragrant roses...'[17]

The Black Tulip is the title of a historical romance by the French author Alexandre Dumas, père. The story takes place in the Dutch city of Haarlem, where a reward is offered to the first grower who can produce a truly black tulip.

Today, Tulip festivals are held around the world, including in the Netherlands and Spalding, England.There is also a very popular festival, in Morges, Switzerland. Every spring, there are several tulip festivals in North America, including the Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Skagit Valley, Washington, the Tulip Time Festival in Orange City and Pella, Iowa, and the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa, Canada. Tulips are now also popular in Australia and several festivals are held in September and October, during the Southern Hemisphere's spring.

Scientific classification

Scientifically, the genus Tulipa was traditionally divided into two sections, the Eriostemones, and the Leiostemones (syn. Tulipa), [18] and comprises 87 species. [19]

In 1997 the two sections were raised to subgenera and the subgenus Leiostemones divided into five sections, Clusianae, Eichleres, Kopalkowskiana, Tulipanum and Tulipa. The Eichleres were in turn subdivided into eight series. Subgenus Eriostemones is divided into three sections, Biflores, Sylvestres, and Saxatiles. Other classifications do however exist. In 2009 two other subgenera were proposed, Clusianae and Orithyia (four in all), the latter two only having one section, making twelve sections in all. Some species formerly classified as Tulipa are now considered to be in a separate genus, Amana, including Amana edulis (Tulipa edulis).[19]

]]> (Super User) Flower history Mon, 22 Oct 2012 02:16:41 +0000
Hydrangea Hydrangea

Common names Hydrangea and Hortensia is...


Hydrangea common names Hydrangea and Hortensia) is a genus of about 70 to 75 species of flowering plants native to southern and eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas, and Indonesia) and North and South America. By far the greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably China, Japan, and Korea. Most are shrubs 1 to 3 meters tall, but some are small trees, and others lianas reaching up to 30 metres by climbing up trees. They can be either deciduous or evergreen, though the widely cultivated temperate species are all deciduous.

Having been introduced to the Azores Islands of Portugal, they are now very common there, particularly on Faial, which is known as the "blue island" due to the vast number of hydrangeas present on the island, Terceira, named the "lilac island" for hydrangeas of that colour, on Flores Island ("Island of Flowers") and São Miguel, named the "green island" for its floral biodiversity.

Species in the related genus Schizophragma, also in Hydrangeaceae, are also often known as hydrangeas. Schizophragma hydrangeoides and Hydrangea petiolaris are both commonly known as climbing hydrangeas.

There are two flower arrangements in hydrangeas. Mophead flowers are large round flowerheads resembling pom-poms or, as the name implies, the head of a mop. In contrast, lacecap flowers bear round, flat flowerheads with a center core of subdued, fertile flowers surrounded by outer rings of showy, sterile flowers. The flowers of some rhododendrons can appear similar to those of some hydrangeas, but Rhododendron (including azalea) is in a different order.

Life cycle

Hydrangea flowers are produced from early spring to late autumn; they grow in flowerheads (corymbs or panicles) at the ends of the stems. In many species, the flowerheads contain two types of flowers, small fertile flowers in the middle of the flowerhead, and large, sterile bract-like flowers in a ring around the edge of each flowerhead. Other species have all the flowers sterile and of the same size.

Colors and soil acidity

In most species the flowers are white, but in some species (notably H. macrophylla), can be blue, red, pink, light purple, or dark purple. In these species the color is affected by the pH of the soil; acidic which can be taken up into hyperaccumulating plants.[2][3] For H. macrophylla and H. serrata cultivars, the flower color can be determined by the relative acidity of the soil: an acidic soil (pH below 6) will usually produce flower color closer to blue, whereas an alkaline soil (pH above 6) will produce flowers more pink.

Cultivation and uses

Hydrangeas are popular ornamental plants, grown for their large flowerheads, with Hydrangea macrophylla being by far the most widely grown with over 600 named cultivars, many selected to have only large sterile flowers in the flowerheads. Some are best pruned on an annual basis when the new leaf buds begin to appear. If not pruned regularly, the bush will become very 'leggy', growing upwards until the weight of the stems is greater than their strength, at which point the stems will sag down to the ground and possibly break. Other species only flower on 'old wood'. Thus new wood resulting from pruning will not produce flowers until the following season.

Hydrangeas are moderately toxic if eaten, with all parts of the plant containing cyanogenic glycosides.[5] Hydrangea paniculata is reportedly sometimes smoked as an intoxicant, despite the danger of illness and/or death due to the cyanide.[6]

In Japan, ama-cha, meaning sweet tea, is another herbal tea made from Hydrangea serrata, whose leaves contain a substance that develops a sweet taste (phyllodulcin). For the fullest taste, fresh leaves are crumpled, steamed, and dried, yielding dark brown tea leaves. Ama-cha is mainly used for kan-butsu-e (the Buddha bathing ceremony) on April 8 every year—the day thought to be Buddha's birthday in Japan. Ama-cha is poured over a statue of Buddha in the ceremony and served to people in attendance. A legend has it that on the day Buddha was born, nine dragons poured Amrita over him; ama-cha is substituted for Amrita in Japan.

In Korean tea, Hydrangea serrata (hangul:??? hanja:???) is used for a herbal tea called sugukcha (???) or ilsulcha (???).

The pink hydrangea has risen in popularity all over the world, but especially in Asia. Pink hydrangeas have many different meanings, but generally means, "You are the beat of my heart", as described by the celebrated Asian florist Tan Jun Yong, where he was quoted saying, "The light delicate blush of the petals reminds me of a beating heart, while the size could only match the heart of the sender!"

]]> (Super User) Flower history Mon, 22 Oct 2012 02:14:08 +0000
Lilies Lilies

Is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants...


Lilium (members of which are the true lilies) is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs, all with large, prominent flowers. They comprise a genus of about 110 species in the lily family Liliaceae. Most species are native to the temperate northern hemisphere, though their range extends into the northern subtropics.

Lilies form an important group of flowering garden plants and are important in culture and literature in much of the world. A few species are sometimes grown or harvested for the edible bulbs.

The species in genus Lilium are true lilies. Many other plants have "lily" in their common names but they may be unrelated to true lilies.


The range of lilies in the Old World extends across much of Europe, across most of Asia to Japan, south to the Nilgiri mountains in India, to Indochina and to the Philippines. In the New World they extend from southern Canada through much of the United States. They are commonly adapted to either woodland habitats, often montane, or sometimes to grassland habitats. A few can survive in marshland and epiphytes are known in tropical southeast Asia. In general they prefer moderately acidic or lime-free soils.

Lilium longiflorum flower – 1. Stigma, 2. Style, 3. Stamens, 4. Filament, 5. Tepal

Lilies are tall, leafy stemmed herbs generally ranging in height from 2–6 ft (60–180 cm). They form naked or tunic-less scaly underground bulbs which are their overwintering organs. In some North American species the base of the bulb develops into rhizomes, on which numerous small bulbs are found. Some species develop stolons. Most bulbs are deeply buried, but a few species form bulbs near the soil surface. Many species form stem-roots. With these, the bulb grows naturally at some depth in the soil, and each year the new stem puts out adventitious roots above the bulb as it emerges from the soil. These roots are in addition to the basal roots that develop at the base of the bulb.

The flowers are large, often fragrant, and come in a range of colours ranging through whites, yellows, oranges, pinks, reds and purples. Markings include spots and brush strokes. The plants are late spring or summer flowering. Flowers are borne in a raceme or umbel at the tip of the stem, with six tepals spreading or reflexed, to give flowers varying from funnel shape to a Turk's-cap. The tepals are free from each other, and bear a nectary at the base of each flower. The ovary is 'superior', borne above the point of attachment of the anthers. The fruit is a three celled-capsule.[1]

Seeds ripen in late summer. They exhibit varying and sometimes complex germination patterns, many adapted to cool temperate climates.

Most cool temperate species are dormant in winter. Most species are deciduous, but a few species (Lilium candidum, Lilium catesbaei) bear a basal rosette of leaves during dormancy.


Taxonomical division in sections follows the classical division of Comber,[2] species acceptance follows World Checklist of Liliaceae,[3] the taxonomy of section Pseudolirium is from the Flora of North America,[4] the taxonomy of Section Liriotypus is given in consideration of Resetnik et al. 2007,[5] the taxonomy of Chinese species (various sections) follows the Flora of China [6] and the taxonomy of Section Archelirion follows Nishikawa et al.[7] as does the taxonomy of Section Archelirion.[8]

Some species formerly included within this genus have now been placed in other genera. These genera include Cardiocrinum, Notholirion, Nomocharis and Fritillaria.


Many species are widely grown in the garden in temperate and sub-tropical regions. Sometimes they may also be grown as potted plants. A large number of ornamental hybrids have been developed. They can be used in herbaceous borders, woodland and shrub plantings, and as patio plants. Some lilies, especially Lilium longiflorum form important cut flower crops. These may be forced for particular markets; for instance, L. longiflorum for the Easter trade, when it may be called the Easter lily.

Lilium bulbs are starchy and edible as root vegetables, although bulbs of some species may be very bitter. The non-bitter bulbs of L. lancifolium, L. pumilum, and especially L. brownii (Chinese: ?? ?; pinyin: baihé gan) and Lilium davidii var unicolor cotton are grown on a large scale in China as a luxury or health food, and are most often sold in dry form. They are eaten especially in the summer, for their perceived ability to reduce internal heat. They may be reconstituted and stir-fried, grated and used to thicken soup, or processed to extract starch. Their texture and taste draw comparisons with the potato, although the individual bulb scales are much smaller. Yuri-ne (lily-root) is also common in Japanese cuisine, especially as an ingredient of chawan-mushi (savoury egg custard).

The "lily" flower buds known as jinzhen (??, "golden needles") in Chinese cuisine are actually from the daylily Hemerocallis fulva.

Lilies are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the Dun-bar.

Pests and diseases

Aphids may infest plants. Leatherjackets feed on the roots. Larvae of the Scarlet lily beetle can cause serious damage to the stems and leaves. Plants can suffer from damage caused by mice, deer and squirrels. Slugs, snails and millipedes attack seedlings, leaves and flowers. Brown spots on damp leaves may signal botrytis (also known as lily disease). Various fungal and viral diseases can cause mottling of leaves and stunting of growth.


Lilies are usually planted as bulbs in the dormant season. They are best planted in a south-facing, slightly sloping aspect, in sun or part shade, at a depth 2½ times the height of the bulb (except L. candidum which should be planted at the surface). Lilies have contractile roots which pull the plant down to the correct depth, therefore it is better to plant them too shallowly than too deep. A soil pH of around 6.5 is generally safe. The soil should be well-drained, and plants must be kept watered during the growing season. Some plants have strong wiry stems, but those with heavy flower heads may need staking.[16][17]


The botanic name Lilium is the Latin form and is a Linnaean name. The Latin name is derived from the Greek ?e?????, leírion, generally assumed to refer to true, white lilies as exemplified by the Madonna lily.[18] The word was borrowed from Coptic (dial. Fayyumic) hleri, from standard hreri, from Demotic hrry, from Egyptian hr?t "flower". Meillet maintains that both the Egyptian and the Greek word are possible loans from an extinct, substratum language of the Eastern Mediterranean. The Greeks also used the word ??????, krinon, albeit for non-white lilies.

The term "lily" has in the past been applied to numerous different flowering plants, often with only superficial resemblance to the true lily, including lotus, ranunculus, tulip, iris, anemone, agapanthus, zantedeschia, daylily, and others. All English translations of the bible render the Hebrew shushan, shoshan, shoshanna as "lily". For instance, the "lily among the thorns" of Song of Solomon may be the honeysuckle.[19]


Many varieties of lily are extremely toxic to cats, causing acute renal failure even in small amounts. This is particularly true in the case of Easter lily plants, though other Lilium and the related Hemerocallis can also cause the same symptoms.

]]> (Super User) Flower history Mon, 22 Oct 2012 02:10:23 +0000
Daisy Daisy

Asteraceae or Compositae...


Asteraceae or Compositae (commonly referred to as the aster, daisy, or sunflower family), are an exceedingly large and widespread family of Angiospermae.[3] [4] The group has more than 23,000 currently accepted species, spread across 1620 genera and 12 subfamilies. In terms of numbers of species, Asteraceae is rivaled only by Orchidaceae.[3][5] (Which of the two families is actually larger is unclear, owing to uncertainty about exactly how many species exist in each family). The main feature of the family is the composite flower type in the form of capitula surrounded by involucral bracts.The name "Asteraceae" comes from Aster, the most prominent generum in the family, that derives from the Greek ?st?? meaning star, and is connected with its inflorescence star form. As for the term "Compositae", more ancient but still valid, it obviously makes reference to the fact that the family is one of the few angiosperms that have composite flowers.[6] This family has a remarkable ecological and economical importance, and is present from the polar regions to the tropics, colonizing all available habitats. The Asteraceae may represent as much as 10% of autochthon flora in many regions of the world.

Most members of Asteraceae are herbaceous, but a significant number are also shrubs, vines and trees. The family has a worldwide distribution, and is most common in the arid and semi-arid regions of subtropical and lower temperate latitudes.[7]

Asteraceae is an economically important family. Some members provide products including cooking oils, lettuce, sunflower seeds, artichokes, sweetening agents, coffee substitutes and teas. Several genera are popular with the horticultural community, including marigold, pot marigold (also known as calendula), cone flowers, various daisies, fleabane, chrysanthemums, dahlias, zinnias, and heleniums. Asteraceae are important in herbal medicine, including Grindelia, echinacea, yarrow and many others.[8] A number of species have come to be considered invasive, including, most notably in North America, dandelion, which was originally introduced by European settlers who used the young leaves as a salad green.[9]


The Latin name 'Asteraceae' is derived from the type genus Aster, which is a Greek term that means "star".[10] 'Compositae', an older but still valid name,[11] means composite and refers to the characteristic inflorescence, a special type of pseudanthium found in only a few other angiosperm families. The study of this family is known as synantherology.

The vernacular name daisy, widely applied to members of this family, is derived from its Old English meaning, dægesege, from dæges eage meaning "day's eye," and this was because the petals (of Bellis perennis) open at dawn and close at dusk.


Asteraceae have a cosmopolitan distribution, and are found everywhere except Antarctica and the extreme Arctic. They are especially numerous in tropical and subtropical regions (notably Central America, eastern Brazil, the Andes, the Mediterranean, southern Africa, central Asia, and southwestern China).[5]


Asteraceae are mostly herbaceous plants, but some shrubs, trees and climbers do exist. Asteraceae are generally easy to distinguish from other plants, mainly because of their characteristic inflorescence and other shared characteristics.[14] However, determining genera and species is notoriously difficult (see "damned yellow composite" for example).
Roots and stems

Asteraceae generally produce taproots, but sometimes they possess fibrous root systems. Stems are generally erect, but can be prostrate to ascending. Some species have underground stems in the form of caudices or rhizomes. These can be fleshy or woody depending on the species.[7]


The leaves and the stems very often contain secretory canals with resin or latex (particularly common among the Cichorioideae). The leaves can be alternate, opposite, or whorled. They may be simple, but are often deeply lobed or otherwise incised, often conduplicate or revolute. The margins can be entire or lobed or toothed.

Flower diagram of Carduus (Carduoideae) shows (outermost to innermost): subtending bract and stem axis; fused calyx; fused corolla; stamens fused to corolla; gynoecium with two carpels and one locule
A typical Asteraceae flower head (here Bidens torta) showing the individual flowers
Ray floret (as in Cichorioideae, and the outer florets in Asteroideae)
Disc floret (as in Asteroideae)

The most evident characteristic of Asteraceae is perhaps their inflorescence: a specialised capitulum, technically called a calathid or calathidium, but generally referred to as flower head or, alternatively, simply capitulum.[15] The capitulum is a contracted raceme composed of numerous individual sessile flowers, called the florets, all sharing the same receptacle.

The capitulum of Asteraceae has evolved many characteristics that make it look superficially like a single flower. This type of flower-like inflorescence is fairly widespread amongst angiosperms, and has been given the name of pseudanthia.

A set of bracts forms an involucre surrounding the base of the capitulum. These are called "phyllaries", or "involucral bracts". They may simulate the sepals of the pseudanthium. These are mostly herbaceous but can also be brightly coloured (e.g. Helichrysum) or have a scarious (dry and membranous) texture. The phyllaries can be free or fused, and arranged in one to many rows, overlapping like the tiles of a roof (imbricate) or not (this variation is important in identification of tribes and genera).

Each floret may itself be subtended by a bract, called a "palea" or "receptacular bract". These bracts as a group are often called "chaff". The presence or absence of these bracts, their distribution on the receptacle, and their size and shape are all important diagnostic characteristics for genera and tribes.

The florets have five petals fused at the base to form a corolla tube and they may be either actinomorphic or zygomorphic. Disc florets are usually actinomorphic, with five petal lips on the rim of the corolla tube. The petal lips may be either very short, or long, in which case they form deeply lobed petals. The latter is the only kind of floret in the Carduoideae, while the first kind is more widespread. Ray florets are always highly zygomorphic and are characterised by the presence of a ligule, a strap-shaped structure on the edge of the corolla tube consisting of fused petals. In the Asteroideae and other minor subfamilies these are usually borne only on florets at the circumference of the capitulum and have a 3+2 scheme – above the fused corolla tube, three very long fused petals form the ligule, with the other two petals being inconspicuously small. The Cichorioidea has only ray florets, with a 5+0 scheme – all five petals form the ligule. A 4+1 scheme is found in the Barnadesioideae. The tip of the ligule is often divided into teeth, each one representing a petal. Some marginal florets may have no petals at all (filiform floret).

The calyx of the florets may be absent, but when present is always modified into a pappus of two or more teeth, scales or bristles and this is often involved in the dispersion of the seeds. As with the bracts, the nature of the pappus is an important diagnostic feature.

There are usually five stamens. The filaments are fused to the corolla, while the anthers are generally connate (syngenesious anthers), thus forming a sort of tube around the style (theca). They commonly have basal and/or apical appendages. Pollen is released inside the tube and is collected around the growing style, and then, as the style elongates, is pushed out of the tube (nüdelspritze).

The pistil consists of two connate carpels. The style has two lobes. Stigmatic tissue may be located in the interior surface or form two lateral lines. The ovary is inferior and has only one ovule, with basal placentation.

Fruits and seeds

The fruit of the Asteraceae is achene-like, and is called a cypsela (plural cypselae). Although there are two fused carpels, there is only one locule, and only one seed per fruit is formed. It may sometimes be winged or spiny because the pappus, which is derived from calyx tissue often remains on the fruit (for example in dandelion). In some species, however, the pappus falls off (for example in Helianthus). Cypsela morphology is often used to help determine plant relationships at the genus and species level.[16] The mature seeds usually have little endosperm or none.[14]


Asteraceae generally store energy in the form of inulin. They produce iso/chlorogenic acid, sesquiterpene lactones, pentacyclic triterpene alcohols, various alkaloids, acetylenes (cyclic, aromatic, with vinyl end groups), tannins. They have terpenoid essential oils which never contain iridoids.[3]


Diversification of Asteraceae appears to have taken place roughly 42-36 million years ago, the stem group perhaps being up to 49 million years old.[3]

It is still unknown whether the precise cause of their great success was the development of the highly specialised capitulum, their ability to store energy as fructans (mainly inulin), which is an advantage in relatively dry zones, or some combination of these and possibly other factors.[3]

Seeds are dispersed by the wind in Carlina
Epizoochory in Bidens tripartita

Asteraceae are especially common in open and dry environments.[14]

Many members of the Asteraceae are pollinated by insects, which explains their value in attracting beneficial insects, but anemophyly is also present (e.g. Ambrosia, Artemisia). There are many apomictic species in the family.

Seeds are ordinarily dispersed intact with the fruiting body, the cypsela. Wind dispersal is common (anemochory) assisted by a hairy pappus. Another common variation is epizoochory, in which the dispersal unit, a single cypsela (e.g. Bidens) or entire capitulum (e.g. Arctium) provided with hooks, spines or some equivalent structure, sticks to the fur or plumage of an animal (or even to clothes, like in the photo) just to fall off later far from its mother plant.

A Dahlia cultivar

Commercially important plants in the Asteraceae include the food crops Lactuca sativa (lettuce), Cichorium (chicory), Cynara scolymus (globe artichoke), Helianthus annuus (sunflower), Smallanthus sonchifolius (yacón), Carthamus tinctorius (safflower) and Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke).

Many members of the family are grown as ornamental plants for their flowers and some are important ornamental crops for the cut flower industry. Some examples are Chrysanthemum, Gerbera, Calendula, Dendranthema, Argyranthemum, Dahlia, Tagetes, Zinnia and many others.

Other commercially important species include Compositae used as herbs and in herbal teas and other beverages. Chamomile, which comes from two different species, the annual Matricaria recutita or German chamomile, and the perennial Chamaemelum nobile, also called Roman chamomile. Calendula, also called the pot marigold is grown commercially for herbal teas and the potpourri industry. Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea), used as a medicinal tea. Winter tarragon, also called Mexican mint marigold, Tagetes lucida is commonly grown and used as a tarragon substitute in climates where tarragon will not survive. Finally, the wormwood genus Artemisia includes absinthe (A. absinthium) and tarragon (A. dracunculus).

Compositae have also been used for industrial purposes. Common in all commercial poultry feed, marigold (Tagetes patula) is grown primarily in Mexico and central American nations. Marigold oil, extracted from Tagetes minuta, is used in the cola and cigarette industries.

Plants in Asteraceae are medically important in areas that don't have access to Western medicine. They are also commonly featured in medical and phytochemical journals because the sesquiterpene lactone compounds contained within them are an important cause of allergic contact dermatitis. Allergy to these compounds is the leading cause of allergic contact dermatitis in florists in the US.[17] Pollen from ragweed Ambrosia is among the main causes of so-called hay fever in the United States.[18]

Many members of Asteraceae are copious nectar producers and are useful for evaluating pollinator populations during their bloom. Centaurea (knapweed), Helianthus annuus (domestic sunflower), and some species of Solidago (goldenrod) are major "honey plants" for beekeepers. Solidago produces relatively high protein pollen, which helps honey bees over winter.[citation needed]

Some members of the Asteraceae are economically important as weeds. Notable in the United States are the ragwort, Senecio jacobaea, groundsel Senecio vulgaris and Taraxacum (dandelion).

The genera Tanacetum, Chrysanthemum and Pulicaria contain species with insecticidal properties.

Parthenium argentatum (guayule) is a source of hypoallergenic latex.

]]> (Super User) Flower history Mon, 22 Oct 2012 02:04:28 +0000
Gerbera Gerbera

Gerbera is a genus of ornamental plants...


Gerbera is a genus of ornamental plants from the sunflower family (Asteraceae). It was named in honour of the German botanist and naturalist Traugott Gerber († 1743) who travelled extensively in Russia and was a friend of Carolus Linnaeus.[1]

It has approximately 30 species in the wild, extending to South America, Africa and tropical Asia. The first scientific description of a Gerbera was made by J.D. Hooker in Curtis's Botanical Magazine in 1889 when he described Gerbera jamesonii, a South African species also known as Transvaal daisy or Barberton Daisy. Gerbera is also commonly known as the African Daisy.

Gerbera species bear a large capitulum with striking, two-lipped ray florets in yellow, orange, white, pink or red colours. The capitulum, which has the appearance of a single flower, is actually composed of hundreds of individual flowers. The morphology of the flowers varies depending on their position in the capitulum. The flower heads can be as small as 7 cm (Gerbera mini 'Harley') in diameter or up to 12 cm (Gerbera ‘Golden Serena’).

Gerbera is very popular and widely used as a decorative garden plant or as cut flowers. The domesticated cultivars are mostly a result of a cross between Gerbera jamesonii and another South African species Gerbera viridifolia. The cross is known as Gerbera hybrida. Thousands of cultivars exist. They vary greatly in shape and size. Colours include white, yellow, orange, red, and pink. The centre of the flower is sometimes black. Often the same flower can have petals of several different colours.

Gerbera is also important commercially. It is the fifth most used cut flower in the world (after rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, and tulip). It is also used as a model organism in studying flower formation. Gerbera contains naturally occurring coumarin derivatives. Gerbera is a tender perennial plant. It is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds, but resistant to deer.

]]> (Super User) Flower history Mon, 22 Oct 2012 02:01:11 +0000
Carnation Carnation

Dianthus caryophyllus is a species of Dianthus....


Dianthus caryophyllus (Clove Pink) is a species of Dianthus. It is probably native to the Mediterranean region but its exact range is unknown due to extensive cultivation for the last 2,000 years. It is the wild ancestor of the garden carnation
It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 80 cm tall. The leaves are glaucous greyish green to blue-green, slender, up to 15 cm long. The flowers are produced singly or up to five together in a cyme; they are 3–5 cm diameter, and sweetly scented; the original natural flower colour is bright pinkish-purple, but cultivars of other colours, including red, white, yellow and green, have been developed

Growing carnations
Carnations require well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil, and full sun. Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden planting.


For the most part, carnations express love, fascination, and distinction, though there are many variations dependent on colour.

White carnations are the official flower of the fraternities Lambda Theta Phi
Red carnations are originally the official flower of Theta Delta Chi.
Rose carnations are the official flower of the Phi Mu Fraternity.
Pink carnations are the official flower of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority, as they are the longest lasting flowers.
Wine carnations are the official flower of the Pi Beta Phi Women's Fraternity.

Light red carnations represent admiration, while dark red denote deep love and affection.
White carnations represent pure love and good luck, while striped (variegated) carnations symbolise regret that a love cannot be shared.
Purple carnations indicate capriciousness. In France, it is a traditional funeral flower, given in condolence for the death of a loved one.
In France and Francophone cultures, carnations symbolize misfortune and bad luck.
Pink carnations have the most symbolic and historical significance. According to a Christian legend, carnations first appeared on Earth as Jesus carried the Cross. The Virgin Mary shed tears at Jesus' plight, and carnations sprang up from where her tears fell. Thus the pink carnation became the symbol of a mother's undying love.[6][7]
Carnation is the birth flower for those born in the month of January.

Holidays and events

Carnations are often worn on special occasions, especially Mother's Day and weddings. In 1907 Anna Jarvis chose a carnation as the emblem of Mother's Day because it was the favourite flower of her mother.[10] This tradition is now observed in the United States and Canada on the second Sunday in May. Ann Jarvis chose the white carnation because she wanted to represent the purity of a mother's love.[11][12] This meaning has evolved over time, and now a red carnation may be worn if one's mother is alive, and a white one if she has died.[13]

In Korea, red and pink Carnations are used for showing their love and gratitude toward their parents on Parents Day (Korea does not separate Mother's Day and Father's Day, but has Parents Day on 8 May). Sometimes, you can see parents wear a corsage of Carnation(s) on their left chest on Parents Day. Not only on Parents Day, but also on Teacher's Day (15 May), people express their admiration and gratitude to their teachers with Carnations, as Carnation has the meaning of 'admiration', 'love', and 'gratitude'.

Red carnations are worn on May Day as a symbol of the labor movement in some countries, such as Austria, Italy,[14] and successor countries of former Yugoslavia. Red carnation is also the symbol of the Portuguese Carnation Revolution.

Green carnations are for St. Patrick's Day and were famously worn by the Irish writer Oscar Wilde. The green carnation thence became a symbol of homosexuality in the early 20th century.

At the University of Oxford, carnations are traditionally worn to all examinations; white for the first exam, pink for exams in between and a red for the last exam. One suggested reason for this tradition is a story that tells that initially this was a white carnation that was kept in a red inkpot between exams, so by the last exam it was fully red. It is thought to originate in the late 1990s.


Carnations were mentioned in Greek literature 2,000 years ago. "Dianthus" was coined by Greek botanist Theophrastus, and is derived from the Greek words for divine ("dios") and flower ("anthos").[20] Some scholars believe that the name "carnation" comes from "coronation" or "corone" (flower garlands), as it was one of the flowers used in Greek ceremonial crowns. Others think the name stems from the Latin "caro" (genitive "carnis") (flesh), which refers to the original colour of the flower, or incarnatio (incarnation), which refers to the incarnation of God made flesh.

]]> (Super User) Flower history Mon, 22 Oct 2012 01:57:10 +0000
Rose Rose

A rose is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa...

A rose is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae. There are over 100 species. They form a group of erect shrubs, and climbing or trailing plants, with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers are large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows and reds. Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwest Africa. Species, cultivars and hybrids are all widely grown for their beauty and fragrance. Rose plants range in size from compact, miniature roses, to climbers that can reach 7 meters in height. Different species hybridize easily, and this has been used in the development of the wide range of garden roses.

Roses are best known as ornamental plants grown for their flowers in the garden and sometimes indoors. They have been also used for commercial perfumery and commercial cut flower crops. Some are used as landscape plants, for hedging and for other utilitarian purposes such as game cover and slope stabilization. They also have minor medicinal uses.

Food and drink

Rose hips are occasionally made into jam, jelly, and marmalade, or are brewed for tea, primarily for their high vitamin C content. They are also pressed and filtered to make rose hip syrup. Rose hips are also used to produce Rose hip seed oil, which is used in skin products and some makeup products.[citation needed]
Rosa canina hips

Rose petals or flower buds are sometimes used to flavour ordinary tea. Sometimes they may be used as the sole plant material in herbal teas.

In France there is much use of rose syrup, most commonly made from an extract of rose petals. In the United States, this French rose syrup is used to make rose scones and marshmallows.[citation needed]

Rose flowers are used as food, also usually as flavouring or to add their scent to food. [7] Other minor uses include candied rose petals. [8]

Rose Creams (rose flavoured fondant covered in chocolate, often topped with a crystallised rose petal) are a traditional English confectionery widely available from numerous producers in the UK


Cut flowers
Roses are a popular crop for both domestic and commercial cut flowers. Generally they are harvested and cut when in bud, and held in refrigerated conditions until ready for display at their point of sale.

In temperate climates, cut roses are often grown in glasshouses, and in warmer countries they may also be grown under cover in order to ensure that the flowers are not damaged by weather and that pests and disease control can be carried out effectively. Significant quantities are grown in some tropical countries, and these are shipped by air to markets across the world.


The rose hip, usually from R. canina is used as a minor source of Vitamin C. The fruits of many species have significant levels of vitamins and have been used as a food supplement. Many roses have been used in herbal and folk medicines. Rosa chinensis has long been used in Chinese traditional medicine. This and other species have been used for stomach problems, and are being investigated for controlling cancer growth.


Roses are a favored subject in art and appear in portraits, illustrations, on stamps, as ornaments or as architectural elements. The Luxembourg born Belgian artist and botanist Pierre-Joseph Redouté is known for his detailed watercolours of flowers, particularly roses.

]]> (Super User) Flower history Mon, 22 Oct 2012 01:36:15 +0000