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Star Of Bethlehem Flower

The star of Bethlehem flower – which is sometimes know by its scientific name, ornithogalum – is a genus of aggressively-growing perennial plants that belong to the hyacinthaceae family. These plants are native to regions of Africa and Europe, but some species may also be seen blossoming in the Caucasus. These flowers bloom from stalks that develop within a rosette of curving basal leaves. The stalks are smooth and hairless, can reach heights of 6 to 9 inches in height and end in a raceme. The flower itself consists of six thick tepals that surround a single pistil, and six yellow or light brown stamens. These blooms come almost exclusively in a shade of bright white; however, they also carry a very recognizable stripe of green along the outer sides of each tepal.

In addition to being called the star of Bethlehem flower, these plants are also known as the Arabian and wonder flower, as well as ‘the florist’s nightmare.’ The latter title is due to the fact that these plants are not only vigorous in their growth habits, but they also have an exceptionally long shelf life – lasting at least two weeks, sometimes longer. The star of Bethlehem flower is best known for its biblical associations. Because of its pure white, star-like shape, it was named after the star that rose over Bethlehem to reveal the birth of the baby Jesus. However, these plants are not only fantastic in name, but fantastic in function. Although it is not widely known, these flowers have many uses in both the culinary world, and the world of folk medicine. Although star of Bethlehems are considered highly toxic to animals, most species are thought to be perfectly safe for human consumption, and the bulbs are frequently dried and ground. The flowers themselves are occasionally baked into uniquely-flavored breads. The bulbs of this plant are also used to treat some forms of cancer; while the essences created from the flower are used in aromatherapy. In fact, Dr. Edward Bach prescribed this flower’s essence for those suffering from shock.

The star of Bethlehem flower is, of course, most frequently associated with the symbol of purity. However, these blossoms are sometimes used in weddings, and given as gifts for special romantic occasions, as they are also representative of hope – a hope for a new life, or the continuation of happiness and love. In addition to purity and hope, these flowers are thought to be an expression of atonement and reconciliation, and are sometimes given as a gift to say, “I’m sorry.”

Star Of Bethlehem Flower Pictures

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Nosegay Flower

With such an unusual name, many people wonder exactly what it means. The nosegay has a long and various history, but both its origin and the meaning of its name are quite simple. The term nosegay simply means “nose” and “happy,” as a single whiff of the delightful fragrance that emanates from a nosegay flower will make the “nose happy.” Although nosegays can be traced as far back as the Elizabethan era, their height of popularity began during the Victorian era. In this particular time period, flowers were a very important staple of every day life. Not only were they touted for their medicinal uses, and their ability to quietly convey a plethora of strong emotion, but they were an essential element to any wardrobe. Aside from being stunning in appearance, this small arrangement of blossoms was considered exceedingly functional. At the time of their conception, personal hygiene was considered non-essential – bathing was an infrequent thing and clothing was rarely washed – so these flowers were considered a stylish way of masking the unfortunate scents that were very common at that time.

Around the end of the 19th century, the nosegay flower was all but replaced by other arrangements, such as corsages and boutonnieres. However, some of their original uses are still being utilized today. Unlike the traditional wreaths and flower garlands of the Victorian era – which were used almost exclusively for wedding ceremonies – the nosegay was worn both in celebration and as an everyday accessory. Today, though, this usage has been flipped. Although they are no longer worn as common fashion ornaments, they are still frequently seen in weddings. Nosegays are most frequently seen as smaller bouquets that complement the color of either the bridal party’s clothing, or the bride’s larger, showier arrangement. Smaller versions may also be seen pinned to the lapels of the groom and groom’s men, or even those of the wedding guests. They are also frequently used as party favors, and left by the side of plates during the wedding dinner. The nosegay flower arrangement for these favors are often meant to represent the shared joy of both the newly married couple and their guests.

Although most blossoms were used during this arrangement’s heyday, today, the most popular nosegay flower is the rose. Because they are so commonly seen in weddings, this is not a surprising fact – as roses are one of the most recognizable symbols of romance. However, stephanotis, irises and carnations are also quite popular, as they are all representative of various shades of love, and all look beautiful in small arrangements.

Nosegay Flower Pictures

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Burning Bush Shrub

The burning bush shrub, or euonymus alatus, is a deciduous, ornamental plant that grows rapidly and can reach heights in excess of 15 feet – depending on the species. Burning bushes belong to the large celastraceae family, and are native to areas of central Japan, Korea and China, as well as more easterly portions of Asia. These plants are made up of ridged, upright stems; ovate leaves that are terminate in a deep point; and small, white, nondescript flowers which develop into small red berries. What makes this shrub outstanding is its range of exquisite colors. During the spring and summer months, this plant’s foliage is a cool blueish green shade; however, when fall hits, their hue changes to a vibrant, fiery red which remains bright for several weeks.

Although the burning bush shrub is undoubtedly lovely to look at, it is – in its native regions – rapidly becoming an invasive plant that is beginning to grow outside of its natural habitat. Even though this may seem like a bad thing now it may, in fact, come in handy. In May of 2010 a study released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes a number of new genetic discoveries. These discoveries indicate that by inserting certain genes of the burning bush shrub into the mustard weed, enzymes become encoded which result in an uncommon compound – acetyl glyceride. In a demonstration, the acetyl glycerides created an oil that was cooler and lower in viscosity than regular oils, and thus, make it an exceptionally useful biofuel for diesel engines. In addition to that, acetyl glycerides contain a considerably low calorie count, and can potentially make for a fantastic substitute to regular vegetable oils.

The Latin word alatus means “winged.” Although this is a reference to the structure of the plant itself, it may very well lend to its symbolism. Even though the burning bush shrub is not rife with concrete symbolism, it is not difficult to associate it with the freedom that goes along with “wings,” or the passion that can be evoked with its wild red hue. It addition to that, because of its unusual name, burning bushes are sometimes considered a religious emblem. As a gift, these plants can be given in large containers, and are almost always given purely for their stunning appearance. Though they are generally maintenance free, these shrubs are best presented to experienced gardeners who know how to tame them.

Burning Bush Pictures

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Candytuft Flower

The candytuft flower is one of several species in the Iberis genus – which consists of about 50 different species – and is a member of the brassicaceae family. These blossoms may be either perennial or annual, and are indigenous to regions of the Mediterranean. Candytufts range in height from 12 to 16 inches and can vary greatly in their growth habits. For example, iberis amara is an upright, erect grower, while iberis umbellata tends to spread out and form mounds. These fragrant blossoms are generally quite compact, and come in shades of deep purple and faint lilac, red and maroon, pink and white.

The candytuft flower name is derived from the Olde English name for the island of Crete – where the plant may have originated – Candie. This name stuck over the ages, as these fluffy blossoms do resemble small puffs of cotton candy. Though edible, these plants are not at all as sweet as the name would imply. They are, however, quite useful. Before and during the colonial period, every part of these plants were used to cure everything from lung problems to gastrointestinal upsets and even arthritis. More recent studies have shown that these plants truly are effective in treating stomach ailments; so much so that it is not uncommon for a patient in Germany to receive a bitter digestive tonic made of the stalks and leaves of this plant. Modern American herbalists also create teas and tinctures of the candytuft flower to help cardiac hypertrophy, gout, asthma and nervousness. It has been established that although small doses can effectively help combat nervous attacks, large quantities – especially of the seeds – may actually cause the opposite reaction – or giddiness. The whimsical appearance of the candytuft flower has brought it into the focus of many fantasy artists. One of the best known examples of this is Cicely Mary Barker’s, “Candytuft Fairy.” This short story – which describes an exciting day in the life of the fairy herself – is accompanied by an illustration of a dainty, winged creature sitting upon pink and white iberis umbellatas.

In the language of flowers, candytufts are said to represent indifference. As a gift, these plants are much too fanciful in appearance to symbolize anything but joy. They are often given on happy occasions like anniversaries, weddings and birthdays. These plants are long-lasting, and are frequently presented within arrangements or bouquets. However, the potted variety can also make for a great gift with an interesting touch – the upright plants remaining erect and regal, while the globe type will cascade along the edges of the pot.

Candytuft Flower Pictures

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Clematis Plants

The clematis is a large genus of flowing plants that contains about 300 species and is a member of the ranunculaceae family. Clematis plants are woody, climbing shrubs and herbaceous perennials with delicate stems, and divided leafstalks and leaflets which allow the plant to become anchored to nearly any structure. These plants are best known for their elegant blossoms. These flowers can grow from a tiny 1 inch to 10 inches in circumference. The lightly-scented heads may form in singles, doubles or both, and can – depending on their environment – drastically change in color throughout their lifespan.

Some of the earliest records of clematis plants can date back as far as 1569, when new species such as C. viticella were introduced into Britain. Despite this fact, the public did not take a genuine interest in these plants until sometime during the 1850s. During this period of time, botanists began hybridizing clematis plants – creating stronger, more attractive breeds such as the Jackman clematis and the gipsy queen clematis. Unfortunately, after years of breeding, hybridizers ran out of ideas for new combinations, and the interest in these plants began to fade. Thankfully, though, this lull in plant breeding seems to have weeded out the weaker species, and today – with the interest in clematis back in full swing – we find that many varieties are hardy and relatively free of disease. With the resurgence of interest in clematis plants, it is not surprising that flower enthusiasts around the world are coming together to show their passion. One great example of this is the American Clematis Society, which has been active for over a decade, and is committed to spreading the vast knowledge of all of its members. The British Clematis Society holds a similar ideal, but rather than simply spreading literature on the plant, this group holds large public events to help broaden awareness.

Clematis was once considered an emblem of deception; today, however, these plants are considered a symbol for cleverness and beautiful brilliance. As a gift, these climbing shrubs are frequently given as a compliment to the recipient – a sweet way to tell them that they are not only stunning, but also absolutely ingenious. These plants are also an emblem for the 8th year of marriage, and make for lovely anniversary gifts. Because they contain essential oils that may be irritating to the skin, they are almost never presented in the form of a bouquet; however, potted varieties are just as stunning, and will last a good deal longer.

Clematis Plant Pictures

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Bougainvillea Plant

The bougainvillea genus – which belongs to the nyctaginaceae family – consists of roughly 18 species that are native to South America. These vigorously-growing evergreens may blossom forth as a creeping vine or as a shrub, and are covered in hooked thorns. Their leaves are simple, alternating, ovate and narrow at the tips. Although people generally think that the spectacular colors of the bougainvillea plant come from the flowers themselves, they are actually tiny tubular white blossoms that develop in small clusters. These clusters, however, are surrounded by three to six brightly-hued bracts that come in shades of purple, pink, red, orange, and gold.

Because of its spectacular beauty, the bougainvillea plant has become the official floral symbol of many locations – from San Clemente, Camarillo and Laguna Niguel, California all the way to the islands of Guam and Grenada. However, this vine’s ability to captivate is not a recent thing. In 1768, during one particular expedition to the Pacific Ocean, the French naturalist Philibert Commerçon discovered the bougainvillea; he then classified it in honor of his friend and shipmate, the French Navy admiral, Louis Antoine de Bougainville. After several decades of naming and renaming this genus – which was once mistakenly spelled “buginvillea” – it finally began a wide distribution. During the early part of the 19th century B. glabra and B. spectabilis were introduced in Europe – becoming particularly popular in France and England, who often traded these plants around the world and, in particular, with Australia. Although B. glabra and B. spectabilis were exceedingly popular in the 19th century, it was not until the late 20th century that the two plants were considered completely different species. Over the years, the appreciation for the bougainvillea plant has made it into art. Photographers such as Peter Clements and Marilyn Harris capture this vine’s natural splendor; while painters like Maryanne Jacobsen and Jean-Marc Janiaczyk feature it as a centerpiece to stunning scenes.

Unlike many other vines, the bougainvillea plant thrives best when placed in a hanging container, which makes it a fantastic gift. In addition to being a cultural symbol, these plants are said to represent prosperity, passion and brightness, and are often presented to those starting out on a new path in life. Bougainvilleas can also make for a superb gift for those who were born between October 23rd and November 21st, as they are associated with the star sign of Scorpio.

Bougainvillea Plant Pictures

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Chenille Plant

The chenille plant is a flowering shrub which belongs to the acalypha genus, and is a member of the euphorbiaceae family and acalyphoideae subfamily. This tropical plant is native to the Pacific islands, and grows its best with minimal moisture, in light soil and full sunlight. It is not uncommon for these bushy shrubs to reach heights of 12 feet; however, there are also dwarf varieties available that will grow – at their largest – to heights of 18 inches. In appearance, these dioecious plants are made up of either arching or upright heart-shaped leaves and unique flowers. In some plants, these flowers may bear a similar color to the leaves; however, the female plants generally carry long, drooping catkins which contain small clusters of pistillate blossoms. These flowers are best known for their vibrant red shade, but they may also be seen in lovely purple or white hues.

Although the chenille plant – much like its cousin, the poinsettia – is considered mildly toxic, they have a surprising folk history in herbal medicine. In Malaya the whole plant is turned into a decoction which is used as both a diuretic and a laxative; in Africa the leaf is used as a treatment for leprosy and the bark to treat lung ailments; while in Indonesia chenilles are used to help cure hemoptysis. In addition to being fantastically useful, these shrubs have also found their place in the artistic realm. Although most pieces are of a photographic nature – such as “Chenille Plant,” by Terra ‘Sunshine’ Fox – other mediums are occasionally used to highlight this shrub’s unusual beauty. For instance, the 1917 painting entitled, “Heliotrope and Acalypha,” which was done by Tanigami Konan, and was featured in the Seiyo Soka Zufu – or A Picture Album of Western Plants and Flowers – series.

Even though the chenille plant does not have any particular symbolism associated with it, it is not hard to see these shrubs as an emblem for luxury – if for nothing other than the soft, silky appearance of their blossoms. As a gift, they are often given as an alternative to the more common house plants. When kept indoors, chenilles sometimes require more care than other plants; however, when placed in containers or hanging baskets, they can make for extraordinary presents.

Chenille Plant Pictures

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Coneflower

The coneflower is a title that encompasses roughly four genera – ratibida, rudbeckia, dracopis and echinacea – which contain about 36 different species, and belong to the asteraceae family. The two best known plants among these genera are the echinacea and rudbeckia flower, which are mostly herbaceous perennial plants; the ratibida flower is also perennial, while the dracopis blossom is annual. All four genera have striking similarities. However, there are some minor differences to be noted. For instance, the dracopis and ratibida contain long central receptacles, while the echinacea is much shorter and smaller, and the rudbeckia contains a petite, button-like disk. The coneflower’s distribution ranges from North America, Canada, and Mexico. They are most commonly seen in yellow and purple, but may also appear in shades of white, red or orange.

Although the purple coneflower – or echinacea – is considered one of the most useful in this group of genera, they all have their own particular applications. For example, both the ratibida pinnata and columnifera are said to ease a toothache, reduce a fever, and make for particularly tasty teas; rudbeckia occidentalis has found its way into spirituality, and is frequently used to connect with the “shadow side” of one’s nature; while dracopis is favored as an easy to grow garden and ornamental bloom. In addition to the plethora of known medicinal uses, the echinacea coneflower is also frequently used in witchcraft.
It is believed that carrying this blossom with you will keep your spirit strong during turbulent times; they are sometimes presented as spiritual offerings, and are thought to enhance the power of any spell that is cast.

In general, coneflowers are a symbol of strength and – depending upon the genus – healing. These bright, beautiful blossoms are great to give as gifts as they are versatile, unique and long lasting – surviving nearly two weeks after cutting. In addition to giving these blossoms in the traditional bouquet, they may also be presented in a potted form or given within dried wreaths. If the recipient is an inexperienced but enthusiastic gardener, you might also like to present them with a gift basket filled with all the necessities, plus a packet or two of the seeds – maybe even one from each genus.

Coneflower

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Dieffenbachia Plant

The dieffenbachia plant is a small genus in the araceae family and aroideae subfamily. These tropical plants are best known for their unique foliage which consists of variegated, oblong leaves and fleshy stems. In color, their apexed leaves are medium green with either yellow or cream centers – depending upon the species – and deep green outlines. Their flowers – which are made up of a spadix that is well concealed by a green spathe – are highly subtle, and often go unnoticed. Dieffenbachia, which is native to South America, grows its best in rich, thoroughly moistened soil, and can thrive in low sunlight.

The dieffenbachia plant is unquestionably one of the most common house plants around. This is not surprising, as they are not only interesting in appearance, but easy to care for as well. Despite its over 150 years of domesticity, the dieffenbachia is still considered a highly poisonous plant. When damaged, this plant releases a sap that is filled with raphides – or needle-like calcium oxalate crystals that contain sharp barbs – which can cause a number of unfortunate effects such as a burning sensation or paralysis of the lips, tongue and jaw; intestinal upsets; redness, itching and skin rashes. These results can occur in both humans and animals, so most dieffenbachia enthusiasts know to keep these plants on high shelves. The toxicity of the dieffenbachia plant first came to light when the ancient physician, Dioscorides, highlighted it in one of his many medical texts. In spite of this, the plant was touted for its positive effects. For example, during the 18th century, dieffenbachia was boiled in wine as a treatment for gout; in the 19th century, it was thought to be a highly effective curative for impotence and edema.

Because the dieffenbachia plant has such a pernicious history, it is easy to identify it with caution. As a gift you may very well be telling the recipient that although the outside of a situation may be beautiful, the inside may be harmful. On the other hand, these plants can also have a more positive expression and are often presented as a welcoming gesture, or simply to let the recipient know that they are being thought of with fondness.

Dieffenbachia Plant Pictures

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Evening Primrose Flower

The evening primrose flower belongs to the herbaceous genus oenothera, which is a member of the onagraceae family. These plants – which may be either perennial, annual or biennial – are native to regions of both North and South America. Evening primroses can grow to heights of 5 feet, but the flower heads themselves rarely grow larger than 3 inches in diameter. The foliage of this plant is rough and occasionally hair-covered, lanceolate, toothy and fragrant. The actual blossoms burst forth from auxiliary branches and are made up of four vaguely heart-shapes petals, four reflexed sepals, at least eight stamens, and an X-shaped stigma. Although yellow blooms are the most commonly seen, these plants may also come in shades of red, pink, magenta, purple and white.

Popping up in pharmacy aisles and beauty counters, the evening primrose flower is probably best known for its medicinal and cosmetic uses. This knowledge, however, is nothing new. Traditionally, this plant was used as a flavorful food staple by Native Americans. The roots – which have a distinct, nut-like flavor – were often boiled, pickled and eaten fresh; as were the leaves and flower buds. It was not long, though, before it was discovered that a poultice made from the whole plant could be used to heal skin abrasions and bruises, as well as treat breathing ailments such as asthma. Although this bloom has had a long-standing place in folk medicine, modern scientists have conducted an extensive amount of research on this plant, and the results are very promising. One study that was conducted at the School of Medicine at the University of Malaga during the late 1990s concluded that the evening primrose flower could very well help protect against cardiovascular diseases. In this study, two rabbits were put on an average diet, while two others were put on an atherogenic diet. One rabbit from either group was given foods that had been enriched with evening primrose. The results indicated that the subject who was placed on the flower-treated atherogenic diet experienced a massive decrease in blood-platelet clumping, while the one that was not had a marked increase.

As a symbol, the evening primrose flower represents youth, eternal love and memory. As a gift, these blossoms are given for a number of reasons. For example, they may be given during an anniversary as a reminder of the couple’s young love; it may be presented to the parents of a newborn child; or simply as an affectionate token to a well-loved companion.

Evening Primrose Flower Pictures

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