One of the most uplifting experiences many people have throughout their lives is coming upon a field of beautiful flowers. From the serene cherry blossom to the noble rose, flowers are a window into centuries of human culture and mythology. We sometimes forget that flowers have been around for millennia, an integral part of ecosystems around the world, which is no surprise really, as their stunning visual appeal and often times intoxicating aromas can render us unconcerned with any of their history. In the spirit of that mind-numbing beauty, we explore nine of nature’s most pretty creations.
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Tourists swarm the lovely country of Japan in the spring for many reasons, but one of the primary ones is the blooming of the cherry blossoms. This stunning plant is celebrated across the country, and in many other parts of the world for its beauty, elegance, and cultural associations with Zen philosophy. It is no surprise that it is the national flower of Japan, and there are many festivals held in the year to honor it. The cherry blossoms generally have pale pink and white petals, and they cover the tree in a giant sphere that looks like the most beautiful cotton candy you have ever seen. If there is one flower that is worth traveling to see, the cherry blossom just might be it.
Hanging down from droopy stems and shaped like little hearts, the bleeding-heart flower looks like something out of a Disney film. There colors range from red, white, as well as pink. Native to many parts of Asia, the bleeding heart flower is popular in Japanese folklore. As it is said to have blossomed out of the earth after a noble prince committed suicide, casting himself upon his sword after a fair maiden he had fallen madly in love with spurned his affections. The bleeding heart made its way to North America during the 1800s and has since captured the hearts and minds of westerners as well.
One of humankind’s most cultivated flowers, the tulip is primarily bred and exported by the Dutch throughout the world, although Iran can lay claim to creating the first cultivars. Tulips have petals that grow upwards, slanting inwards and creating a beautiful oval shape that is rendered even more splendid by its many vibrant colors. The tulip flower has been a famous flower for as far back as the 15th century when it was the symbol of the Ottoman Empire, one of the most powerful empires to exist in humanity’s history.
Native to many parts of Central America, the dahlia is another gorgeous flower thought to symbolize both dignity as well as gratitude. It is the national flower of Mexico and has a few festivals in its name every year.
Its small petals, known as florets, grow in symmetrical circular patterns around its stem, creating a beautiful looping pattern that can be quite hypnotizing. Many of the cultivars of the dahlia flower are used as a food source for their large tubers. This began as far back as the Aztec times when it was grown as one of the main crops.
Sometimes referred to as the canna lily, the canna flower is, in fact, not a part of the lily family. The name canna stems from the Latin word for cane. Native to tropical America, the canna flower has gorgeous petals that fall back just like the peel of a banana, with vibrant colors ranging from light oranges to darker reds.
Possibly one of the smallest flowers on this list, the plumeria flowers petals grow in clusters of four to five, with a white exterior and circle of yellow in the center that gives it a delicate, noble look. The plumeria is widely known not only for its simple beauty but also for its sweet aroma, which is considered one of the loveliest in the flower kingdom.
Also known as the Egyptian white waterlily or tiger lotus, the white lotus flower is a unique flower that blooms upon the water, using spongy pads it grows to stay afloat. It is found in parts of Asia, as well as in some areas of Africa. Much like the plumeria, it grows delicate white petals with yellow coloring in the center. It spreads its petals wide and flat in a circle upon its pads, and when many are close together, it gives the illusion that the water has become covered in frost.
Lily of the Valley
With pearl-like petals drooping downwards, this flower looks like nothing more than a hanging teacup. A beautiful flower, the lily of the valley is famous in folklore. In ancient times, it was said that this flower sprung up from the blood spilled from St. George, a legendary Christian hero who died in battle against a ferocious dragon he sought to slay to defend his people.
One of the hardiest flowers in nature, the poppy flower can survive heavy droughts and blistering summers by shedding its foliage. It is native to areas of Turkey. This flower is well known because the deadly narcotic opium is harvested from it. Not to be forgotten, though, is that morphine, a very popular drug used by medical professionals to help patients in severe pain, is also made from opium. During world war one the poppy flower became a symbol of those who died during the way, and a famous poem is sung out loud by many children as a remembrance of their heroic deeds.
Choose Them All
For those of you on the lookout for the perfect flower to send as a gift or brighten up your home, the real question you need to ask yourself is, why choose just one when you can have them all? Every single flower on this list is a worthy addition to a garden or windowsill and can liven up any office space in a jiffy. There are so many pretty flowers out there, choosing just one is next to impossible!