Flower Power

ALSTROEMERIA: Namedx after Swedish botanist Baron Klas von Alstroemer. He collected seeds on a trip to Spain in 1753, among which were seeds of this South American flower.

•ANEMONE: Or windflower, as it was believed wind made the blossoms open. Another legend says it grew for the gods on Mount Olympus, where prevailing winds blew.

•ANTHURIUM: From a Greek word meaning flower tail (anthus meaning flower, oura meaning tail). Also known as the painted tongue.

•ASTER: In Greek it means star, for its star-like blossoms. Legend says that it was created from stardust when Virgo looked down from the heavens and wept.

•BABY’S BREATH: Named for its small, softly-scented blossoms. The botanical name, gypsophila, means love chalk, referring to its preference for chalky soil.

•BIRCH LEAVES: Given to a man by a woman as a show of encouragement.

•BIRD-OF-PARADISE: Strelitzia as it is also called, is named after actual birds-of-paradise, which are the most beautiful birds in the world, with brightly coloured plumage and fanlike tails.

•CARNATION: From an old Italian word meaning complexion. The earliest carnations bore flesh-coloured flowers.

•CARNATION, WHITE:Pure and ardent love. Good luck to give to a woman.


•CHRYSANTHEMUM: From a Greek word meaning gold flower. In the language of flowers, red shades speak of love, white of truth, and yellow of slighted love. Also cheerfulness and optimism.

•DAFFODIL: Or narcissus. In Greek mythology, Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection. He was turned into a flower, to nod into the water at his reflection forever. Also means “The sun is always shining when I’m with you, regard.”

•DAISY:From the Old English phrase day’s eye - many open in the morning, revealing the centre disc and close again each night. The disc is made up of hundreds of tiny flowers.

•DELPHINIUM:The name is derived from the Greek word for dolphin because of the fancied resemblance of the flower spurs (or partly opened buds) to a dolphin’s head.

•DENDROBIUM ORCHID: Dendron means tree. These orchids grow on trees and are epiphytes,

which means they depend on the tree for structural support but not nutrition.

•FORGET-ME-NOT:Faithful love and undying memory, good luck to give to a woman.

•FREESIA: Named after German botanist Friedrich H T Freese, pupil of Dr Christian P Ecklon who named this genus for Freese.

•GARDENIA: “I love you in secret”. Good luck to give to a man.

•GERBERA DAISY: Named after Truagott Gerber, a German botanist and naturalist who travelled extensively in Russia and wrote an important monograph on Russian specimens.

•GERBERA DAISY: As in gladiator, because of its sword-shaped leaves, derived from a Latin word meaning little sword. Also referred to in history as the sword lily.

•HONEYSUCKLE: A wedding will follow shortly.

•IRIS: “I have a message for you.”

•LILAC: “Do you still love me?”

•LILY: Throughout the ages, the lily has stood for purity and sweetness, modesty, whiteness and fragility. Various species are widely referenced in Greek mythology.

•LILY OF THE VALLEY: “Let’s make up.”

•MOSS: Maternal love, charity.

•NERINE: Named after the Nereids in Greek mythology. The Nereids were sea nymphs, daughters of the sea god Nereus.

•PETUNIA: “I am furious!”

•PROTEA: Named after the sea god Proteus who could assume different shapes. And, indeed the protea comes in many forms, from tiny dwarf flowers, to shrubs, to trees.

•ROSEMARY:Fidelity and love, remembrance.

•SNAPDRAGON:So named because of its snout-like blossoms.

A light pressure on either side of a single blossom will make the jaws of the dragon open.