History of Flowers over Centuries

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Since ancient times, people appreciate flowers and they have a special place in their life. Moreover, the flowers attracted men not only by its striking beauty and natural perfection, but they were essential in medicine, in religion, and even in various cultural rituals. Additionally, the flowers were sources of inspiration encouraged people to create masterpieces in various fields, such as music, painting, sculpture ceramics, in the17th, 18thand 19thcenturies. Flowers have witnessed all important historical events and reflected human stories. Each flower has its own birthplace, legend, history and path of life.
Many people and generations worship lilies. The lilies have an interesting and long history. First these elegant flowers were mentioned in Chinese ancient manuscripts, where they had been considered a symbol of freedom and hope. Likewise, sarcophagus of a young Egyptian woman, with a dried lily on her chest, is stored in Paris. Besides the perfume “suzinon” was made exactly from these redolent flowers by ancient Egyptians. In ancient Greece and Rome, brides and grooms were garlanded of lilies and wheat as symbols of purity and abundance. Meadows of lilies were grown in Persian paradise gardens in the 5th century BC. Even their capital was called Sousa – “the city of lilies.” Since the 5th century AD, the image of three golden lilies decorated banners of French kings. According to a legend, the Franks, who won the battle, returned home with helmets and shields, beautified with lilies because they symbolized compassion, justice and mercy.

“Hyacinth” means “a flower of rain”, but at the same time the Greeks called it a flower of grief because of a Greek legend. A young man named Giatsint was an Apollo’s favorite. One day, during competitions, Apollo threw a hard disc and it accidentally dropped right on Hyacinth. So, the fragrant purple-red flowers grew from the blood of a young man-thus, Apollo perpetuated memory of Giatsint. Approximately three thousand years ago, the Hellenes adorned hairstyles with hyacinths on their friends’ wedding day. Furthermore, even Persian poets compared beauties’ hair with swirling petals of hyacinth and, especially, appreciated the scent of this flower. In fact, hyacinth was cultivated only in the East gardens for a long time. It was very popular in the Ottoman Empire, but in Western Europe, a charming hyacinth moved only by the end of the 17th century. Surprisingly, in Holland the hyacinth appeared accidentally- after shipwreck, bulbs of this flower in boxes were stranded, then they sprouted, blossomed and became a sensation. In 1734 the hyacinth was a new source of profits, particularly, for people, who managed to grow terry hyacinth.

A peony is an integral flower in any garden, especially in spring. This flower was named in honor of a legendary doctor Peons, healing gods and wounded men in battles. Originally, peonies were grown by ancient Chinese, and it happened about two thousand years ago. Actually, there were 30 species of these wonderful plants by the 16th century. The peonies are considered imperial flowers in China. Moreover, people worshiped them as symbols of richness, love and success. The Chinese were convinced that the peonies protected them from witchcraft, and all evil spirits left that place, where peonies grew. The Greeks composed hymns a special size in honor of these wonderful flowers. As a matter of fact, in the first century BC Pliny Sr. described minutely a peony and determined what diseases it can cure in “Natural History”. Doctors from many ancient countries – Greece, Rome, China, Arab countries believed the peony’s root was curative… Nowadays tinctures of peonies are sold in drugstores –such tinctures steady one’s nerves, relieve insomnia, feelings of fear, anxiety and fatigue, improve mood.

A camomile is the modest flower, but it is difficult to imagine a bouquet of wild flowers without this flower. According to the legend, once upon a time a young man Roman brought his beloved a tender flower, which he had found on his pillow. She was so fascinated by this flower that asked him for a bouquet of them. After a long search, finally Roman found the world of dreams. The king offered a deal, his girlfriend would get a field of flowers if Roman remained forever in his kingdom. As a result, Roman’s beloved saw an immense field of chamomiles in the morning. However, the Greeks used the chamomiles for fever. The Egyptians even called it a flower of Sun God and valued especially it for medicinal properties. Actually, dried chamomiles were found in Egyptian sarcophagi. Likewise, In Ireland and Babylon salubrious properties of the chamomiles were detected more than 2000 years ago. While, in ancient Rome not only clergy but also women knew such properties of the chamomiles. Beauties used infusions of these flowers for skin whitening, for capilliculture as to give their hair shine and softness. Today there are 350 species of chamomiles- Roman, German, Dalmatian, Caucasian, Persian, and even “gold” of American prairie.

Usually you primarily sniff flowers, but a bell-flower is an exception because fluctuating cups of this flower affect you –thus, you involuntarily listen for, hoping to hear their ring. The legend told the spirit of depths loved fairy of flowers and gifted her emeralds, sapphires, topazes, rubies-stones were beautiful, but they lifeless and silent. As to please and surprise his beloved, the spirit gave her a bouquet of unknown flowers-they were magnificent and, moreover, bell-flowers sound divine symphony because of magic wind. Some kinds of bluebells are essential in medicine. Moreover, it is used as homeostatic, antiphlogistic, sedative and anesthetic. As well, a decoction of the bell-flowers is used for bathing of restless children or who, had epilepsy, from ancient times. Additionally, the bells used even in agriculture for coughing cough of sheep. Roots of the bell Rapunzel are sometimes put in salads. His thick white root tastes like parsnip. In European countries, people eat leaves and roots of Rapunzel as a regular salad. Moreover, in the 17thcentury, this bluebell was considered a delicacy. According to Celtic floral calendar, bell-flowers are flowers for people born from 1 to 11 June. The Celts believed these people kept their secrets from the cradle to the grave. They succeeded almost in all areas and people-bells often found pleasant company and good friends, liked to argue, generally, defended their point of view to the bitter end.

In 1700, when the Spaniards first saw endless fields with poppies, which, like golden rivers, were flowing from hills of California-so, they called this flower Copa de Ora – Golden Chalice. Another name of a poppy was Amarola or Dromidera, which meant sleepy, as these flowers usually closed from cold wind or nightfall. Besides, in 1816 the poet-naturalist Adelbert von Chamisso, a member of Russian scientific expedition, named this flower- Eschscholtzia in honor of his friend and a ship’s surgeon – Dr. Johann Eschscholtz. California poppy was named the state flower in 1903. Nowadays, you can admire field of golden flowers only in the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.

There is an ancient Greek myth about the nymph Syrinx, who, fleeing from the god Pan, understood that she couldn’t save herself and turned into a bush. Disappointed Pan made a mellifluous flute of this shrub and named it Syrinx. Astoundingly, lilac is the closest relative to olives. Thus, wild lilac and olives are neighbors in former Persia, in Iran, and in Turkey. For many years, Persia was considered a birthplace of the lilac-that’s why luxurious plush buds were colloquially called “Persian”. In 1562 the lilac was delivered in Europe, when Austrian ambassador of Turkish Sultan von Busbekius first brought its bushes in Vienna from Constantinople, in 1601-in Paris, and in 1640-in the British Isles. Furthermore, Lilac Garden was founded in Moscow in 1975, by Russian breeder of lilac Leonid A. Kolesnikov, a driver of Marshal Zhukov. Initially, 52 species of lilac were cultivated there. Without doubts, you should be fascinated by this amazing smell of the lilac and see its exciting and marvelous landscape because different kinds of lilac will impress you by soft color transition from white to pink, from light purple to darker shades. It’s worth it!

Gladiolus is named a flower-sword, as ‘gladiolus’ from Latin is translated as “a small sword.” The ancient Greeks called gladiolus “ksifion”, which also meant “a sword” because of its straight and xiphoid leaves, which could reach 80 cm in length. In Rome this flower was considered a flower of gladiators. Traditionally gladiolus is a male flower. “King of Victory” was the first name of gladiolus in Germany. According to a Greek legend, prisoners Sevt and Teres had to fight with each other for freedom, being friends. They were put to death because they refused to struggle and stuck their swords in the ground. Surprisingly, these swords turned into tall wonderful flowers. There is another African legend: a beautiful daughter of the elder was tortured by enemies to find the place, where her father had hidden. But when the enemies decided to execute her, suddenly a sword turned into an amazing flower with purple-red buds. As a result, hijackers kept her alive because of this miracle. A Roman writer Pliny first mentioned the gladiolus in the first century AD. Moreover, the Romans hung gladiolus bulbs around necks as amulets because they could avoid death and gain a victory with such flowers. Astonishingly, In addition, about 300 BC, it was considered only a weed, only by 17thand18th centuries, doctors detected medicinal properties of gladiolus: its corms were added in milk for infants and they were used against toothache. In 1902, an English engineer brought home an elegant cream-yellow flower, which he had found near the Zambezi River – so, gladiolus spread rapidly over the world in several years. In 1981, the gladiolus higher than 2.5 meters was grown in the UK.

Currently, people found gladioli has vitamin C. That’s why petals of black and red gladiolus are comprised in some medicines to strengthen the immune system. However, not all gardeners cultivate gladioli, as these flowers need special care. The gladioli are light-requiring and thermophilic, besides, they should be protected from winds, owing to ancestors of the flowers, which grew in African well-drained fertile soil.
Of course, even the most beautiful and tender flowers are not magic. But each plant can be your talisman and with its help, you can turn dreams into reality. The most important flowers for women are considered callas because they bring luck in love. There is a special legend in honor of these flowers: a cruel and ruthless leader of a neighboring tribe loved a beautiful young girl, so he took her away by force. On their wedding day, the beauty decided to jump into the fire than to live with an evil barbarian. Gods turned her into an elegant and gentle flower, which people named Calla. Therefore, this flower is a female mascot from misfortunes, evil people, and diseases. Exactly the calla is used in bridal bouquets, as it is a key to a happy marriage. As well, callas’ juice is used as antidote from a deadly bite of snakes, although the flower is venomous, , thus callas are often used in the preparation of poisons. The callas were often depicted on clothes and on houses to protect their owners from evil. Likewise, after a quarrel with your beloved, you should give him a bouquet of callas to improve and strengthen relations. In addition, callas help women to make right decisions. If you are not lucky in love, you should buy these flowers, as they not only will give you confidence, but will attract men. The first date will be successful if you take the image of callas as an amulet.

A delphinium is one of the most magnificent flowers because of various shades of blue. Certainly, there are white and pink delphiniums, but blue, navy blue, sapphirine “candles” are especially unforgettable and amazing. It was named delphinium, owing to similarity of its buds with dolphins’ bodies in shape. Additionally, the Russians called this flower-a larkspur, the Germans-a knight’s spurs, the British- funny spurs, the French- the lark’s legs. According to a Greek legend, a young sculptor took away his beloved from Hades; therefore gods punished him turned into a dolphin. Every evening the dolphin swam to a shore, but he could not meet with his love. Once he left a plant with flowers like little dolphins, and disappeared forever. No one saw her bitter tears, dripping in the sea. In fact, every gardener likes delphiniums for their gracefulness and brightness, besides, these flowers are resistant to cold weather, pests and diseases. Today, thanks to modern techniques of plants, breeders have cultivated extraordinarily beautiful species of delphiniums, such as Princess Caroline, Red Caroline, Black Raven, Snowy Lace and Pink Butterfly.

Orchids are considered aristocrats among flowers, as these flowers are exotic and mysterious and exquisite, moreover, some people believe these flowers have intellect. As well, its species have various unusual shapes: orhids -birds, -butterflies, – lizards, -jellyfishes, -spiders, -shoes, -swans. The first orchid Phalaenopsis was found on the island Ambon (the Moluccas) by Georg Rumpfiusom, a German traveler and naturalist. In ancient Greece, orchids were sacred flowers, in China-they are used to protect people from witchcraft and evil. Actually, Charles Darwin thought this flower mysterious. Artists painted the flowers on his canvases, poets have composed in their honor songs. In addition, Confucius compared orchids with the noblest men, who fulfilled themselves. In Europe people prepared an elixir from dried roots of the orchids, which was called “salen”. The Salen was prescribed for very exhausted people, recovering patients, and even infants. As a matter of fact , f all the flowering plants orchids have one of the most numerous families, which include more than 25 000 natural species and about 100,000 cultured hybrids. Most tropical species grow on trees, others- on the cliffs and some Australian orchids-even underground. There are different places especially for these extraordinary flowers – a garden of wild orchids, in Minden, Ecuador, a botanical park in Israel, founded in 2006 and a botanical garden in Kiev, Ukraine.
Flowers were cultivated since ancient times, as they not only fascinate, but also helped people to recover, protected from evil and black magic, decorated altars and were used in sacrifice. Each flower is unique and has its own history. Furthermore, it can tell you exciting stories because many events are associated with certain flowers. Love…passion…revenge…wars…flowers were, are and will be around. They will continue to accompany people throughout their life and will remain miracles of nature.

This article was written by Anna Lia

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