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Hawthorn Flowers

The crataegus plant – better known as the hawthorn – is a large genus of flowering trees and shrubs from the rosaceae family. The hawthorn flower is native to more temperate areas of Europe, Asia and North America, and can easily grow in either full or partial sun, and within a variety of soil types. Interspersed among strong, toothy leaves, the hawthorn flower blossoms from small white balls into delicate white, five-petaled blooms. These blooms surround tiny, pink-headed stamens, and are backed by five star shaped sepals. The stem of these flowers may appear to be vaguely swollen, this is due to the fact that it contains seeds that will, by the fall, develop into appealing red berries.

The branches of the hawthorn flower were once traditionally used as decorative pieces that were placed in the home on the first day of May. Although this tradition has changed – due, of course, to the use of the Gregorian calendar, which altered the time of flower blossoming – many others can be found. For instance, hawthorns were once thought to be important staples of ancient Greek wedding ceremonies. This is still occasionally true today, as flowering hawthorn branches are thought to be talismans for hope. As well as having many traditions, the hawthorn flower is widely known for its uses as both food and medicine. The flowers themselves are considered potent diuretics, and flavorful additions to salads; the leaves are thought to be effective when used in smoking cessation, while the buds can be boiled and buttered as a side-dish; the berries that burst forth from the flowers are sometimes used to create powerful cardiac tonics, and – when finely crushed – sweet sauces and jams. Hawthorns have also made their way into a variety of folklore. One such example states that, according to Irish legends, the hawthorn tree is the domain of fairies. If the tree is cut before it is in bloom, bad luck will befall the person who damaged the tree.

Depending upon the time period and the region, hawthorns have had their fair share of symbolism. To English poets, these plants have long represented the beauty of spring, while in medieval Europe, the hawthorn signified something more sinister – mainly death. On the other hand, in ancient Rome and Greece these plants were given happier symbolism, as they were thought to represent hope and happy, fruitful marriages. Today, this message is still true. When given as gifts, these delicate, beautiful flowers can be very expressive. By presenting these flowers, you can easily tell the recipient that you wish the best for them.

Hawthorn Flower Pictures

Geranium Flowers

The geranium flower – or pelargonium – is a genus of about 200 species which consists of perennial, shrub and succulent plants that grow best in moist, but well-drained soil and direct sunlight. Geraniums – sometimes referred to as storksbills – are known to bloom abundantly in temperate areas around the world. Both members of the geraniaceae family, the true geranium – also called the “hardy geranium” – is often confused with pelargoniums, as they were once considered a part of the same genus. Due to extensive breeding, the geranium flower comes in many shapes and colors – from funnel to star shaped; fuchsia, purple, orange, red, pink and white. These flowers are also thought to fall into six groups: angel, hanging, royal, zonal, unique and shrubby-leaved.

The geranium flower is quite varied in its uses. These flowers have for many years been cultivated for their culinary, household and medicinal uses. Geraniums are frequently used to flavor everything from baked goods to sugar, and – when dried – are known for their calming effect when steeped to create sweet, soothing teas. As a curative, geraniums are known to treat a number of problems. These flowers are thought to have strong antibacterial properties, and are often used as astringents to treat skin conditions – especially when mixed with witch hazel. They are also said to work wonders for stomach ailments, headaches and arthritis. As a household product, the extracted oils are commonly used to repel insects, as an aromatherapy product, or as a skin-conditioning bath ingredient. In legends, the geranium flower is thought to be both an aphrodisiac and talisman for protection. It is thought that spraying yourself with its scent can attract love, while spraying it around your house can protect you from harm.

The geranium flower has a good deal of mixed symbolism associated with it. The geranium is considered a feminine element and is thought to embody health, love, fertility and protection. These flowers are also said to represent friendship, and when presented to a new or old friend, are thought to symbolize preference for that particular individual. On the more negative side, these flowers may also represent folly, foolishness or melancholy. However, despite the few negative connotations, geraniums can make great gifts as they are a fabulous token of harmonious affections.

Geranium Flower Pictures

Gentian Flowers

The gentian flower is a genus of the gentianaceae family, which holds a staggering 400 species to its name. These flowers are considered to be very hardy and have been known to grow across all of the continents except the Antarctic. The bold, beautiful colors of the gentian tend to vary depending upon their region. For example, the blue gentian flower is prevalent in Europe – with yellow and white flowers also appearing, though with less frequency. On the other hand, in New Zealand and South America, the red gentian is most common. In the United States there are two gentian varieties that dominate – the fringed gentian and the closed gentian. The closed gentian is easy to spot, as their purple blue flowers – which bloom between September and November – never completely open, and remain large, colorful buds throughout their life cycle. The fringed gentian is much less common and harder to spot. These flowers tend to hide in darker, wooded areas, and produce small blue blossoms with a delicate fringe surrounding the outer part of their petals.

The gentian flower has made itself useful in both medical and artistic circles. As a curative, these plants are considered second to none as a stomachic tonic; they are also extensively used to treat jaundice, intermittent fevers, and biliary dyskinesia. The extract of gentian flowers are also a common ingredient in homeopathic cures for things such as hair loss, weight loss and fungal infections. By way of culture, gentians have been mentioned in a good deal of poetry and literature from well known writers like Emily Dickinson who wrote “Fringed Gentian,” and Mary E. Wilkins’ simply titled short story, “Gentian.” Alongside herbal medicine and art, gentian flowers are sometimes used as flavoring agents. Although these extracts have appeared in soft drinks and beers, they are most often used as bitter liquors.

As a gift, the gentian flower is pretty unique. These unusual looking, brilliantly hued flowers are often given as an alternative to the traditional rose or daisy. They represent many things such as loveliness, intrinsic value, and femininity. When given as a gift, gentians are most often presented in mixed bouquets; however, they can also be given in a bouquet made up entirely of this particular flower, or as a simple, single token.

Gentian Flower Pictures

Freesia Flowers

The freesia flower is a genus of roughly 40 species which are indigenous to Africa. These flowers – which are a member of the iridaceae family – are herbaceous plants that sprout from a bulb-like corm, have grassy foliage, and develop wiry, funnel shaped blossoms which form as a cluster atop each stalk. Freesias come in a wide array of colors, from a distinct golden hue to a bright white, a brilliant red to a deep purple, and some may even come in bi-colored shades. Aside from a lovely and unique appearance, the freesia flower is also well loved for its enchanting scent. Most species of freesia give off a distinctly lemon-like odor; however, the freesia leichtlinii and freesia alba are considered two of the most fragrant in the family.

Because of the intoxicating scent of the freesia flower it has long been used for lotions, soaps and perfumes; however, its uses in aromatherapy have become a big hit. The oils that are extracted from these flowers are supposed to have a cleansing and calming effect to the skin, body and mind. These oils are often mixed with other floral or fruit scents and placed into oil burners and vaporizers. They are also used to freshen air, linens, clothing, and potpourri.

The freesia flower is full of warmth when it comes to symbolism. These lovely flowers are thought to be representative of friendship, trust and innocence in general; however, as is that case with many flowers, each color means its own thing. For instance, yellow flowers symbolize renewed energy, while white commonly means purity. Freesias make great gifts, as their message of friendship is universal. They have become very popular as both part of a bridal bouquet, and as part of wedding decorations. Given their fantastic scent and beautiful appearance, these flowers also make great gift baskets. For this you can include the flowers themselves, alongside bottles of perfume, soap and lotion.

Freesia Flower Pictures

Everlasting Flowers

The everlasting flower is a member of the compositae family, which is most commonly linked with the asteraceae family of flowers. Some of the most frequently seen everlasting flowers are the daisy and sunflower, the strawflower and the gobe amaranthus. What makes the everlasting flower so special is that, as its name implies, these flowers can survive indefinitely when dried. Many of these flower types are bred specifically for the fact that they can be easily dried while still maintaining their general structure and color.

The art of flower preservation goes as far back as our earliest recorded history, and has become a popular hobby in modern times. In the Middle East the bones of prehistoric men were discovered alongside of a mantle of dried flowers. Later in history the Japanese art of flower pressing – or Oshibana – became a big hit in Victorian England. Since then it has traveled from Japan, throughout Europe and into the United States. The everlasting flower, as well as being used for its attractive appearance, has become very popular in alternative medicine, and even in ritualistic incantations. The helichrysum arenarium – which is a small, yellow or white flower that is better known as the immortelle – is sometimes used as an herbal infusion to treat gallbladder disorders and rheumatism, as well as easing stomach pains. The anaphalis flower – which is a member of the daisy family, and is more commonly called the pearly everlasting – is frequently used to promote longevity. This can be done in a number of ways, from drinking it in a tea, to leaving it in small bowls around the house.

The everlasting flower makes a great gift for those who love the delicacy of flowers and wants to keep their beauty alive for as long as possible. These flowers are also given to those who enjoy the dainty appearance of certain types of flowers like the rhodanthe or marigold, but would prefer something a little bit more low-maintenance. Everlasting flowers also make great romantic gifts as, along with the symbolism of the flower itself, you can express the desire to forever keep your relationship strong and beautiful.

Everlasting Flower Pictures

Delphinium Flowers

The name of the delphinium flower is derived from the Latin word for dolphin; this is due to the long, sleek appearance of the unopened flower. Delphiniums are a genus of around 300 species in the ranunculaceae family. These flower stems grow from 4 inches to roughly 7 feet in height, the blossoms of which sprout from a raceme and consist of five sepals that grow together and form a hollow bowl shape with a spur at the tip, while four delicate petals grow at the center. These blossoms traditionally come in bright, creamy white, dainty pink, and a marvelous purple blue combination; however, some of the highbred flowers can be seen in shocking reds, oranges and yellows.

The delphinium flower has an interesting story in both real life and in myth. During the early 20th century Frank Reinelt – who was once the head gardener for the Romanian Queen, Marie – relocated to the United States and started his own nursery. In his gardens he began hybridizing delphiniums, and by the 1930s he had fathered one of the more popular breeds, the Pacific Giant. In Greek mythology the delphinium flower was said to have blossomed from the blood of Aias – or Ajax – and the petals were inscribed with the word ai, ai – or alas, alas. The delphinium may also be noted for its uses. Although these flowers, when consumed in large quantities, can be poisonous, many still feel that they have some very potent medicinal uses. The most commonly used flower is the delphinium staphisagria, which is thought to be helpful in curing diseases or irritations of the reproductive system, as well as aiding in mental and acute respiratory ailments. These flowers may also be used to repel pests such as lice, and are thought to have a curative effect on scorpion stings.

The delphinium flower is said to represent big-heartedness and the essence of divine qualities. They are also meant to symbolize levity, fun and a general sense of joy. As a gift, these flowers can brighten up any arrangement, be it fresh or dried. Given their general meaning of warmth and buoyancy, it is not surprising that these blossoms are also representative of summery July births.

Delphinium Flower Pictures

Cosmo Flowers

The cosmo flower is a genus of roughly 20 species in the asteraceae family. These flowers – which can be either perennially or annually blooming – are native to Mexico and nearby areas of the United States, as well as Central and Southern America. These flowers, though simple in appearance, come in a surprising amount of variety. Their leaves may be bipinnate or pinnate, the flowers may be either solid, striped or bi-colored. The colors themselves come in the usual white, yellow, orange, pink and red; however, the cosmos atrosanguineus is a deep brownish burgundy that is well loved, not only because of its unique, romantic coloring, but because of its unusual chocolate-like scent.

Unlike many other blossoms, the cosmo flower does not have a particularly long history; however, what history it does have is various and unique. The cosmo flower was said to have been named by Spanish priests who grew them in their mission gardens. The priests felt that because of their symmetrically aligned petals these flowers should be named after the Greek word for “ordered universe.” Much later in history, during the 1999 World Kindness Movement conference in Tokyo, the cosmos bipinnatus was adopted as the emblem for the organization. Cosmos are also the focus of small tourist attractions. One great example of this is the Cosmo Hanatsumi at Harvest Hill, which runs between late September and early October. At this event a person can amble around a 4,000 square meter farm, and – for a small fee – pick some flowers to take home with them.

The cosmo flower is mostly thought to be the symbol of order, peace and modesty. When given as a gift to a romantic partner, these flowers are commonly meant to represent the notion of walking together hand in hand, or to express the joys that love and life can bring. Along with their harmonious symbolism, cosmos are also representative of October births and 2nd wedding anniversaries, and are frequently given as simple tokens of affection on these particular events.

Cosmo Flower Pictures

Cherry Blossom Flowers

Native to Japan, Korea and China, the cherry blossom flower has become a celebrated symbol of both life and death. This is due to the fact that they burst forth in early spring, then fall to the ground within a week. The cherry blossom tree is from the genus prunus, which holds a moderate 400 species. Although the most popular cherry blossoms – the Somei Yoshino – come in a milky white shade that is tinged with a vibrant pink, many cherry blossoms – such as the yaezakura and shidarezakura – can be seen in delicate shades of an almost violet-hued pink.

The cherry blossom flower, unofficially speaking, is considered the national blossom for Japan. This is not surprising, as these blossoms have long been considered some of the most exotic, delicate and entrancing flowers in the world. Festivals and viewings have become cultural staples not only in Japan, but in Canada, the United States and Germany. They have also become a prominent figure in a number of artistic mediums. Many people use this figure in tattoos; sewn into kimonos and silk screened onto t-shirts; painted onto canvas or walls; dried and used as decorative pieces, or simply used as inspiration for music and poetry. The cherry blossom flower has also become a very popular theme for weddings. This is due largely to its romantic and unique beauty; however, it is also used as means to represent hanging on to one another despite the ephemeral nature of existence.

The cherry blossom flower makes for an unusual, elegant and deeply meaningful gift. Despite the overall idea that cherry blossoms are an emblem for the transience of life, they tend to have a different meaning depending upon location. For example, in China they are thought to be the ultimate symbol for feminine beauty, sensuality and strength. The Japanese blossom, however, is meant to represent the Buddhist teachings of the nobility of strength in acceptance of all phases of life. Although many people present these flowers in their more artistic formats, you can very easily give them as single flowers, as a dried branch, or in their more edible, pickled form.

Cherry Blossom Flower Pictures

Camellia Flowers

The camellia flower grows from evergreen shrubs with alternately arranged, glossy leaves and large, showy blossoms. These flowers are indigenous to south and east Asia, and grow best in partial sun and loamy, mildly acidic soil. Camellias are considered very easy to grow, and given their variety, you can easily find a flower that suits your needs. For example, camellia sasanqua blooms during the fall, while the camellia japonic Adolphe Audusson is an early spring grower. Camellias also come in a variety of colors. Although they naturally bloom in colors of basic red, pink and white, their hybrid counterparts come in a large spectrum of reds and purples.

The camellia flower is considered an ornamental flower; however, this is not strictly the case. Camellia sinensis, for instance, is used to create fine, delicately flavored teas. These plants have a few very important medical uses, as well. In traditional Chinese medicine, they are used to treat asthma and heart disease, bacterial infections and even bad breath. As an ornamental flower, though, camellias have a long and colorful history. The camellia flower was first planted in La Canada Flintridge’s Descanso Gardens by founder E. Manchester Boddy, who amassed one of the largest collections in North America. During the 1940s, the camellia became quite a hit. They were the most popular corsage choice, and in 1945 the Camellia Festival of Temple City, California began. Large floats of flowers were seen in the festival parade, while blossoms were handed out by the appointed queen. In the San Gabriel Valley during the 1950s, the Descanso Gardens’ Queen of Camellialand began, and the reigning queen was given a “crown” of camellia flowers.

When given as a gift, the camellia flower always represents something good. Although they are predominantly considered an emblem for varying shades of love, they are also thought to be lucky – especially when presented to a man. The basic hues are all given their own meaning: red meaning passion, pink meaning longing, and white meaning admiration and perfection. Camellias can be given in the traditional bouquets, corsages or as single flowers. However, they can also be given in small, pretty gift baskets that contain both the flowers, and camellia themed products.

Camellia Flower Pictures

Bird of Paradise Flowers

Orange bird of paradise

The genus strelitzia – more commonly known as the bird of paradise, or crane flower – contains five perennial species, and is a native of South Africa. These strong, hardy plants can grow anywhere from 4 to 6 and ½ feet in height and bear large, thick leaves that are similar in appearance to its musaceae family sister, the banana leaf. The bird of paradise flower grows from a thick spathe, and is made up of three bright orange and three deep blue petals – two of which are fused together to create a spade-like appearance. All of these combined features are said to give the appearance of the beak and plumage of a colorful bird in flight.

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who was an avid botanist, led the way to discovering the bird of paradise flower, and thus, the genus was named in her honor. But this small piece of history is only a tiny part of the flower’s vibrant existence. For instance, the bird of paradise flower has become the focal point of many artists. The bright hues and exotic features of these flowers have made their way into the work of famous and independent painters such as Pam Houle, Marshall White and Derek McCrea.

The bird of paradise flower has come to symbolize many things. To some they are a symbol of freedom and joy. To others they are the emblem for paradise itself, while other people feel that they are the perfect representation of a good and clear perspective on life. When given as a romantic gift, these flowers are often thought to mean faithfulness. This is not surprising, as they are also commonly given on the 9th wedding anniversary. Despite the variety of meaning that these flowers hold, they are mostly given for their unusual beauty alone. These flowers look fantastic by themselves or bundled into bouquets of a variety of blooms. For something a little different you can also create a basket filled with flowers and equally exotic goodies.

Bird of Paradise Flower Pictures