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Begonia Flowers

The begonia flower comes from a small family with many branches. Begonias are a genus of the begoniaceae family, which only has two other members – symbegonia and hillebrandia. Despite its lack of relatives, begonias – with about 1,500 species to its name – are considered one of the top 10 largest angiosperm genera. Native to tropical regions of Asia, Central and South America, and Africa, the begonia flower thrives in a variety of sunlight – from full sun to full shade – and prefers moist, but well drained soil. The three main types of begonias include tuberous, perennials, and the very common semperflorens. All three types generally grow between six to nine inches in height, and come in varying shades of red, pink, white and yellow.

Given the large variety of species and extensive hybridization, the begonia flower has become one of the most highly prized ornamental flowers throughout Europe and the United States, and is frequently grown not only for its beautiful blossoms, but for its thick, green foliage. Cultivating, growing and tinkering with these lovely plants has become a passion for many avid growers. This can be easily noted by taking a look at the American Begonia Society, which was started in 1932 by Herbert P. Dyckman and a group of fellow enthusiasts. This group discusses the plant and its growth, helps to educate about the varieties of begonias available, and puts on many shows and demonstrations. The begonia flower has also become a part of past and current culture. For example, one cultivar of this flower has become the symbol for North Korea; red blossoms were “tucked into” the hair of the star of “Scarlet Begonias” by the Grateful Dead, and many types of begonias have made their way into botanical and still life paintings.

The begonia flower is sometimes thought to represent fear, and when given to another person, some people believe that it is a warning to beware. On the other hand, it typically represents a person with a dreamy, almost innocent nature. As a gift, these are often presented to creative individuals and children because of their fanciful symbolism and their simple, unsullied beauty. These flowers can be given in the traditional bouquet, as a single flower, or within a hanging basket. However, for a more unique twist, you can easily create an origami begonia leaf and pin it to either a single flower, or place it at the center of a small bundle of blossoms.

Begonia Flower Pictures

Azalea Flowers

Although the azalea flower was once classed in a separate genus, they are now considered a sub-genus of rhododendrons. To many, the distinction between the rhododendron and azalea may be very vague, but to experienced gardeners it is understood that azaleas are deciduous, while the rhododendron is evergreen. Azaleas are a flowering shrub that grow their best during damp portions of the spring season. These flowers are known for releasing a sweet scent, and having bright, cheerful colors. The white azaleas are frequently used by gardeners as a backdrop for other brilliantly hued blossoms; however, these flowers come in a variety of shades from orange and yellow, to pink and red. You may also see these flowers in solid colors, or with patterns that are described as margined (thin margins of two colors), sectored (each petal showing a different color), blotched or striped.

The azalea flower has a rich and varied cultural and historical significance. They are celebrated in festivals throughout the United States and Japan; they are the focus of many poems and stories, and are – in several cultures – a well loved first name for little girls. In Europe during the early to mid-1800s, the azalea was considered an aristocratic flower. The first variates of azaleas to originate in Europe were known at Speciosa and Puchra, and by 1833 Viscount de Schrijnmackers de Dormael began exhibiting his own hybrid, a white azalea that was named Violatia. The azalea flower has also come to be the symbol for many things. For instance, they are the symbol for the city of Sao Paulo in Brazil, and the flower most associated with the astrological sign of Sagittarius.

In China, the azalea flower is thought to be a strong symbol of womanhood. In other parts of the world they are thought to represent passion and fragility; however, these flowers are best known for their expression of “take care of yourself.” These flowers are frequently given as gifts to pass along the wish that the recipient be good to himself – especially during illness or trying times.

Azalea Flower Pictures

Astilbe Flowers

The astilbe flower is thought to be one of the easiest perennials to grow and care for. Although they may be feathery and delicate in appearance, they are hardy plants that develop few diseases, attract very few pests and can survive in a variety of landscapes. Despite the fact that they can be grown practically anywhere, they are best suited to areas with moderate to full shade, and moist – but not drenched – soil. Astilbes come from a small genus of the saxifragaceae family, with only 18 species within in its group. Their foliage is similar in appearance to ferns, and their flowers come in mild, pretty shades of white, pink, maroon and lavender.

The astilbe flower is native to areas of China and Japan, but during the early 20th century, famous German botanist George Arends introduced this plant to the United States. One of George Arends’ best known hybrid groups is the Astilbe Arendsii Group, which is a combination of A. astilboides, thunbergii, chinensis, japonica, and can mostly be seen in creamy white and deep burgundy hues.

Given the fact that the astilbe flower is both lovely to look at and easy to care for they are often given as gifts. Unlike most flowers, the symbolism of astilbe is not exactly prevalent. However, many believe that they are a symbol of patience and dedication to a loved one. When presented to a beloved that will be away for a long period of time, they express the idea that you will wait for them. However, these flowers do not require any specific meaning to be given as gifts. They look beautiful in any bouquet, as potted plants, or even in dried arrangements.

Astilbe Flower Pictures

Anthurium Flowers

The anthurium flower is one of the largest groups in the araceae genus. These exotic flowers are native to areas such as Uruguay, Argentina and Mexico; however, they bloom in many tropical areas, and have even become symbols of certain locations like Hawaii. Despite their decidedly romantic homelands, they have become very popular in homes around Europe and the United States, as they are not only beautiful in appearance, but they also last a long time when clipped and placed into vases – sometimes up to six whole weeks. The anthurium flower – which is lovingly referred to by avid growers as the flamingo flower – blooms from a slender stalk, and develops around a rough, fleshy spadix. What is often thought to be the actual flower head of anthuriums is actually a spathe, which tends to be thick and waxy. The spathe can generally be seen in varying shades of red; however, you may sometimes see them in white, yellow or green hues.

It is understandable why the anthurium flower has become something of a Hawaiian emblem. These flowers were brought from London to Hawaii by S.M. Damon in 1889. With a good deal of care and breeding, these blooms became one of the top decorative flower exports in the state, sending a massive 2.5 million dozen-bouquets around the world by 1980.

In addition to its long-lasting nature, the anthurium flower generally does not require a special season to grow. Their frequent availability is one of the many reasons as to why they have become very popular as gifts. As a symbol, anthuriums are often given to represent a deep romantic attraction. This is due to their beautiful yet unusual appearance – the glossy red spathe, and the open, heart-shaped face. The openness of its blossom is also said to represent hospitality, and many people present these flowers as gifts to friends and relatives. Anthuriums can often be tricky to grow as indoor plants; however, for an experienced gardener, a mature anthurium can make a great and rewarding offering.

Anthurium Flower Pictures

Annual Flowers

Blue annual flower

Unlike perennial flowers, annual flowers grow continuously throughout early spring to late fall, die at the end of the last season and need to be replanted the following spring. Although this may sound daunting, annual flowers give you the chance to have an entirely new garden each and every year. Some of the most common annuals include Bachelor’s Buttons, Begonias and Pansies. These flowers are often planted in addition to perennial and biennial plants, as they can easily be changed out or rotated to fit the style of their more long-lasting counterparts.

The annual flower is frequently the highlight of many flower shows. One great example of this is the Cincinnati Horticultural Society’s yearly flower show. At this event, people from around the world come to see exhibits, go to events, and enter into a competition that judges not only the flowers, but how they are presented. The Horticultural Society is not the only institution in Ohio who judges annuals. During the yearly Harvest Home Fair, different divisions – from the junior horticulturalist all the way to the expert grower – are given very specific standards on how their annual flowers should be grown, how they should look and how they are presented. Annuals have appeared in many books and stories on mythology, medicine and cooking. For instance, marigolds can be used to make sweet buns, lobelia can be used to treat respiratory ailments, while in Greek mythology the cornflower was used to heal the wounds of Chiron.

Annual flowers, as gifts, can convey a large variety of sentiments. Many people prefer to give annuals as mixed bouquets that express a number of emotions. For instance, baby’s breath combined with California poppies can be given to a new or expectant mother. The bold appearance of zinnias combined with the more mellow-looking morning glory can be given to a dear friend to represent affection. Given the transitory nature of annuals, you might want to give them dried. Doing this ensures that they can be enjoyed for a long time to come. You may still choose to give dried annuals as a bouquet, or you may wish to create a wreath, basket or even a potpourri with whole flower heads. For a long lasting gift that is more natural-looking than dried flowers, you can also give pressed annuals. These can be presented in frames, or as part of home made jewelry or talismans.

Annual Flower Pictures

Gardenia Flowers

The gardenia flower is best known for its sweet and intoxicating scent. However, these refined, waxy blossoms are also loved for their exotic, bright white blossoms and heavy green foliage. The gardenia flower is a genus of roughly 250 species in the rubiaceae family (the same family as the coffee plant). These flowers are a native of southern Asia, Australasia and Africa, and are difficult to grow outside of these regions, as they require high humidity and bright, but indirect sunlight. The gardenia shrubs are evergreen, can grow up to 8 feet tall and 6 feet long, with either opposite or whorling leaves.

The gardenia flower – because of its elegant appearance and strong aroma – has long been used in fashion, weddings and cosmetics. In France, it has become a tradition for men to wear gardenias in their boutonnieres; real or silk gardenias can be seen in the hair of both brides and pin-up models alike; while the essential oils of this flower have become a staple in perfume-making because they can be used to create subtle, yet enchanting fragrances. The gardenia also has a short history as a pure romance flower. As with roses today, gardenias were regularly sent to beloved parties (usually in the form of a corsage) for special occasions like anniversaries, Valentine’s day, or just to tell someone that they are loved. Gardenia flowers have also become a favorite of artists. Billie Holiday, for instance, was known for sporting a signature gardenia flower in her hair until the late 1940s. Modern artists such as Linda Hammar, Billie Colson and Lelia DeMello have also taken some inspiration from these beautiful flowers, while writers like Rebecca Wiles use the blossom as a theme for romantic poetry.

In the Victorian “language of flowers” a white gardenia flower worn on Mother’s Day represented the memory of a mother who had passed away; on the other hand, a red gardenia worn on that day was thought to be a symbol of respect towards a living mother. These flowers are also thought to symbolize healing, purity and beauty. As a gift they can represent love from afar and may be given to a crush or unknowing friend, as they were often thought to say, “I am secretly in love with you.” Gardenias may also be given solely for their simple, graceful beauty. With a lot of love and attention, gardenias can make for great house plants, and may be given as a potted present – along with all of the necessary gardening equipment, of course.

Gardenia Flower Pictures

Aster Flowers

The aster flower genus – which is a member of the asteraceae family – once carried over 600 species of blooms; however, after much research the genus was divided, and there are now only 180 species that reside in this genus. All the same, the aster flower remains a remarkably varied and flamboyant bloom, regardless of the species. Some of the more common types include Italian aster, which tends toward a light, almost pastel, purple; the Jenny aster, which comes in vivid reds, and the sky blue aster, which, as its name suggests, is a stunning shade of bright blue.

The name of the aster flower is culled from the ancient Greek word for “star.” This is largely due to the shape of the flower’s head; however, it is also because they grow in a spotted abundance and have an appearance similar to that of the stars in the sky. In mythology, asters were said to have grown from the tears of the goddess Asterea while she wept for the lack of stars on earth. Historically, aster flowers have had many uses. One of the best known is their use as a symbol when placed upon the graves of French soldiers; these flowers were meant to represent a reversal of the outcome of their battles. In ancient times these flowers were smoked, as it was thought that the smokey perfume would ward off wicked serpents. Asters may also be used for their strong medicinal properties. Some varieties of this flower are said to help with migraines, general headaches and colds, while others can aid in treating the pain of sciatica and muscle spasms.

In addition to having a wide array of colors to choose from, the aster flower also has a good deal of meaning to go alongside its good looks. In general, the aster is considered a symbol of patience, daintiness, and a love of variety. Others state that this flower is an emblem for refinement and elegance. As a gift, asters placed in a bouquet with complementing flowers can be representative of love and admiration. They are often given to those born in September, or those celebrating a 20th wedding anniversary. As a more unique gift, you might present a single fresh or dried flower to a lover or friend as a love charm, as asters were thought by some ancient Greeks to hold the mystic power of drawing forth affection.

Aster Flowers

Narcissus Flowers

The narcissus flower – which is a member of the amaryllis family – has become very popular around the world, but has developed a special following in Germany, where in 1981 it became the subject for a campaign to protect wildflowers. These flowers are spring blooming bulbs that are generally white or yellow in hue, and sport either a disc or trumpet shaped corona. There are dozens of varieties of narcissi which include the unadulterated – mainly wild-growing – species, all the way to hybrids. Some of the most popular include daffodils, paperwhites and jonquils – all of which have their own special characteristics.

There are several stories as to where the narcissus flower got its name. In mythology it is said that Narcissus became so entranced by his reflection in a lake that he fell in and drowned. When the other gods mourned him, they left behind handfuls of narcissus flowers. A variation of this story tells of him spending so much time preening at his reflection that he became literally planted to his sport and turned into this flower. The Greek word narke (which translates to stupor or numbness) is also thought to be at the root of the narcissus flower’s name. This is due to the blossom’s intoxicating scent, combined with the poisonous nature of the bulbs and leaves. Despite the fact that, when consumed, the bulbs of the narcissus can be dangerous, ancient Egyptians covered the nose, mouth and eyes of Pharaohs as part of a common death ritual. Given the heady fragrance of the narcissus flower, it has become one of the most frequently used floral scents. Narcissus oil – which is mostly culled from the poet’s daffodil in France and Holland – is said to smell like a distinctive combination of both jasmine and hyacinth.

The narcissus flower is considered one of the many flowers of love. It can also represent appreciation for another person’s beauty when given as a gift. Conversely, these flowers can be a sign of vanity, and can be sent as a warning to keep that vanity in check. In Chinese symbolism, the narcissus can represent the culmination of talent and hard work. In that light, these flowers might make an excellent gift to someone who is changing careers or pursuing their dreams.

Narcissus Flower Pictures

Poppy Flowers

The poppy flower has a surprisingly large family with a good deal of variety. These colorful little flowers can be seen growing wild in subtropical regions, or purposefully grown in gardens. Their colors generally range in basic red and blue, purple and orange categories. However, some of the more home grown types can range in dramatic dark and pastel hues. The poppy flower may be seen to sprout as a single flower or in large groups, and although they are generally considered a herbaceous plant, they may also be seen sprouting from shrubs or trees. These medium to large-sized blooms are fairly recognizable, with a dark, distinctive whorl of stamens at their centers, which are surrounded by four to six papery, brightly colored petals.

The poppy flower is most commonly associated with both death and sleep. These two themes have come about over time both because of the poppy’s anesthetic properties, and because it is said that poppies were given as offerings to the dead by the Greco-Romans. This symbolism has appeared in a variety of art forms. For example, the magical poppy fields of the Wizard of Oz, which caused those who passed through them to sleep for eternity. Poppies also appeared in Lieutenant Colonel John Mcrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields,” and were occasionally worn as a sign of respect to fallen soldiers. In legends, the poppy flower was often connected to the gods of sleep, rest and oblivion. In Christian churches during the medieval era, poppies were occasionally carved into benches to represent our restful nature as we anticipate the Last Day. In more modern times, people like to use poppy seeds for their spicy flavor which can be baked into breads, cakes and pastries. Some forms of the poppy are still occasionally used for medicinal purposes. The California poppy, for instance, is sometimes used as an antimicrobial cleanser for cuts and scrapes, suppressing lactation, and as a pain reliever for tooth aches. Although, the California poppy is considered less potent than the red poppy (which was once used to create opium), it is still frowned upon to use in any medicinal concoction.

Although the poppy flower may commonly be used to represent death and eternal rest, it is also thought to bring many good things. For instance, mystics feel that poppies can be talismans for good luck in love, money and health, and recommend placing a small sachet of petals beneath your pillow. pBecause these flowers can be both lucky and respectful, they make fantastic gifts for someone who is in transition in their life. Either dried and placed in a bag, or freshly clipped and given as a bouquet, these flowers can bring nothing but good to the recipient.

Poppy Flower Pictures

Sunflower Flowers

The name for the sunflower flower comes from the Greek words helios and anthos, which, when placed together, creates a very literal translation for this blossom. Although these flowers are distributed worldwide, they are native to both North and South America. Because of their extensive root systems, sunflowers can withstand the occasional drought; however, they grow their very best in damp, well fertilized soil, under a good deal of sun light. The head of the sunflower contains a large number of small florets clustered within a small space. Sunflowers are hardy plants, and can grow to amazing sizes. In fact, these flowers hold many records in regards to their size. The 2004 Guinness World Records state that the tallest sunflower was grown in the Netherlands to the height of 25 feet, 5.4 inches tall; the largest head was grown in British Columbia at a remarkable 32 inches.

The sunflower flower, due to its bold, human-like appearance, has found its way into art and myth. One such myth is the Greek legend of Clytie, a tree nymph, who fell madly in love with Apollo. Apollo was uninterested in the nymph, and so she spent her days staring into the sun. Because of this, her body began to transform into the slender green stem, her hair into the golden petals, and her head into the broad face of the flower. After being fully transformed into the sunflower, she still turned to the sun whenever it was at its brightest. Some of the most recognizable pieces of art include the Sunflower series painted by Vincent van Gogh. These paintings depict the flowers clipped and in vases, and in slightly muted shades of yellow and orange. Emil Nolde, Diego Rivera and Georgia O’Keefe were also inspired by these bright, beautiful flowers. Artists are not the only ones with a deep appreciation for the sunflower flower. There are many festivals around the United States and several other countries that celebrate these vibrant blossoms. These festivals are often held at farms and in fields that hold a vast amount of these flowers in full bloom. They may also include competitions, flower-themed activities and food, paintings and photography dedicated to the sunflower, and even the occasional parade.

There are many reasons why one might give sunflowers as a gift. The sunflower is the predominant emblem of adoration, and is often given for 3rd anniversaries, as it can represent the message that the recipient is the light of the giver’s life, and they – like the sunflower – will follow them. The openness of their faces can symbolize warmth and fervent attachment as well. They can also be given simply to cheer the recipient’s day, as these flowers are a great symbol for light and happiness.

Sunflower Pictures