Flowers beguile us with their lovely scent and striking beauty, but many flowers have hidden attributes. Flowers and plants have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Some flowers, such as the lotus, have religious or historical significance.
Many flowers may also have unusual characteristics or forms. Dive into the fascinating world of flower-lore and gain a fresh appreciation for these plants.
1. Roses are related to apples, raspberries, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, pears and almonds.
2. Tulip bulbs were more valuable than gold in Holland in the 1600s.
3. Ancient civilizations burned aster leaves to ward off evil spirits.
4. Tulip bulbs can be substituted for onions in a recipe.
5. Chrysanthemums are associated with funerals in Malta and are considered unlucky.
6. The very expensive spice, saffron, comes from a type of crocus flower.
7. The largest flower in the world is the titan arums, which produce flowers 10 feet high and 3 feet wide. The flowers smell of decaying flesh and are also known as corpse flowers
8. Almost 60 percent of fresh-cut flowers grown in the U.S. come from California.
9. Hundreds of years ago, when Vikings invaded Scotland, they were slowed by patches of wild thistle, allowing the Scots time to escape. Because of this, the wild thistle was named Scotland’s national flower.
10. The lotus was considered a sacred flower by ancient Egyptians and was used in burial rituals. This flower blooms in rivers and damp wetlands, but may lie dormant for years during times of drought, only to rise again with the return of water. Egyptians viewed it as a symbol of resurrection and eternal life.
11. Scientists discovered the world’s oldest flower in 2002, in northeast China. The flower, named Archaefructus sinensis, bloomed around 125 million years ago and resembles a water lily.
12. The juice from bluebell flowers was used historically to make glue.
13. Foxglove is an old English name, derived from the belief that foxes slipped their feet into the leaves of the plant to sneak up on prey.
14. Dandelions might seem like weeds, but the flowers and leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and potassium. One cup of dandelion greens provides 7,000-13,000 I.U. of vitamin A.
15. The flower buds of the marsh marigold are pickled as a substitute for capers.
16. Sunflowers move throughout the day in response to the movement of the sun from east to west.
17. Moon flowers bloom only at night, closing during the day.
18. Flowering nicotiana is related to tobacco, from which cigarettes are made.
19. Gas plants produce a clear gas on humid, warm nights. This gas is said to be ignitable with a lit match.
20. When Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, they subsisted on the roots of the Sego Lily Plant. This plant is the state flower of Utah.
21. The cornstarch-like powder known as arrowroot is derived from the plant, Marantha arundinacea, and is native to India. It was used by indigenous people to draw out the toxins from a poisoned arrow wound. Today, it is used to thicken pies and jellies.
22. Angelica was used in Europe for hundreds of years as a cure for everything from the bubonic plague to indigestion. It was thought to ward off evil spirits.
23. Blue cohosh, also known as squaw root or papoose root, was used by Native American women to ensure an easy labor and childbirth.
24. During the Middle Ages, lady’s mantle was thought to have magic healing properties.
25. When Achilles was born, his mother dipped him head first in a bath of yarrow tea, believing it had protective qualities. Yarrow is still known for healing and was used during World War I to heal soldiers’ wounds.
FUN FLOWER FACTS FOR KIDS
Flowers may look sweet, but some are deadly.
Carnivorous plants like the Venus Fly Trap get nutrition from eating insects. The Venus Fly Trap has thick leaves that are covered with small hairs. When an insect lands on these hairs, the leaves snap together—in less than one second. The plant produces digestive juices like those found in your stomach, which digest the bug in just a few days.
In ancient times, people burned aster leaves to ward off evil spirits and serpents.
Some roses are named after celebrities. Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Streisand all have roses named for them.
In the 1600s, tulips were so valued that they were worth more than gold!
Mom might tell you to eat your veggies, but did you know broccoli is technically a flower? The green florets on broccoli stalks are actually immature flowers. If left to grow, they open into tiny yellow flowers.
During Victorian times, flowers were used to communicate feelings or thoughts. For example, a pink carnation meant, “I’ll never forget you,” while a striped carnation sent the message, “No, I can’t be with you.” A purple hyacinth meant, “I’m sorry,” while a yellow one meant, “I’m jealous.”
Lavender is a beautiful purple flower that is native to the Mediterranean region. It has a clean, arresting scent that is known to relax people. Today, lavender is used in wreaths, potpourris and linen sprays. In medieval times, lavender was used to treat illnesses and ward off head lice, cholera and even the plague.
Many orchids don’t need soil to grow — they can get all the nutrients they need from the air instead!
Moonflowers bloom only at night. Their cousins, morning glories, bloom in the morning.
Flowers were popular as girls’ names in the Victorian age. Today, those names are making a comeback. Do you know anyone named Lily, Violet or Chrysanthemum? Would you like to be named after a flower?
Sunflowers produce substances that are toxic to other plants. Other plants growing around sunflowers may slowly die. The famous painter Vincent Van Gogh was fascinated by sunflowers and completed 11 paintings of the cheery flowers.
Dandelions are usually thought of as weeds, but did you know they’re highly nutritious?
The leaves and flowers are a good source of iron, vitamin A and potassium. Dandelion leaves are known to improve skin’s appearance and cleanse the liver. Saute dandelions or add them to salads — just make sure they haven’t been treated with herbicides. Drink a tea made from dried dandelion leaves.
Source - The Gardening Channel