January 29, 2010

DAFFODIL - Narcissus

Vanity and Death,
Resurrection and Rebirth;
The flower of the underworld.


The yellow daffodil - Narcissus pseudonarcissus - can bring a fresh dose of color and fragrance anywhere. This flower is a native to Asia, Europe and North Africa. Narkissos, name was given by the ancient Greeks, which describes the evoking narcotic scent of the Daffodil.

Daffodil is the national flower of Wales and is symbol of vanity in China. It blooms around the time when  Chinese celebrate their New Year. The Greek mythology tells a  very gratifying tale for the origin of this flower. They say, a handsome youth named Narcissus, was obsessed with his own looks. He could not leave the sight of his own reflexion and fell into the water. The flower sprang from the edge of the water and was named after him. The word 'narcissism' is also associated with the above tale.

Narcissus flower was associated with death and underworld. Exquisite daffodil wreaths have come down from the Graeco-Roman Egypt. At the time of the pharaohs, the daffodil bulb skins were placed on the eyes, nose and mouth of a mummy. It is the promise of an eternal life.

P.S. - Intake of any part of Daffodil is not safe.

Hey friends, checkout my paintings inspired by this flower on this link. Gosh...the name of this flower is really fascinating... NARCISSUS !!

January 25, 2010

PANSY - the Heartsease

There's pansies , 
that's for thoughts.
in Hamlet (Act IV, Scene V)

Botanical Name: VIOLA TRICOLOR

The name of this most mysterious tricolor flower, Viola Tricolor - Pansy, is derived from the French word pensée meaning thought. The flower resembles the human face and for its animated traits it was seen in  Disney's classical Alice in Wonderland, a chorus of singing pansies. This beautiful flower is also the flower of Osaka, Japan.

In Christian symbolism, an eye surrounded by a collar of radiating light was a sign of the trinity and hence the colored lines on Pansy's petals were seen as a reference. Pansy was long been considered to be a sign of loyalty in European countries. After 1810 the Pansy was a rage in Britain, it was cultivated in many variety of forms and in different colors in English gardens.

Infusions made from the leaves of the Pansy can work as a remedy for epilepsy and  prevention of cramps. The sap having anti-inflammatory properties was also said to cleanse the blood and strengthen the powers of the memory. The flowers are considered beneficial for heart diseases and hence the name, heartsease.

January 21, 2010

MARIGOLD - the calendar

Walking the preordained path
 - the Sun's Bride


If it's flowers fail to unfurl by seven o'clock in the morning, then you can expect some rain soon. Its Latin name  - Calendula, small calender is derived from the Roman word calendae, meaning first day of the month. One can tell the time of the day by examining the flower.

In some parts of the world it is called the 'Sun's Bride', because it follows the sun's course. Contradicting its representation, it is also known as the flower of the dead and is planted in graveyards.

The fourteenth-century Dutch hymn : "Marigold, comfort of the world, noble maid, help us towards salvation. Ave Maria", reflects an association of the flower with Virgin Mary, the popular name 'Mary's gold - Marigold'.

Calendula has been a valued plant since twelfth century. It has been used extensively for its medicinal properties. Marigold is a woman's best friend : drinking a brew concocted from the flower helps in regularizing periods. It has been used traditionally as an antiseptic to heal minor injuries.

The petals and leaves of this plant are edible. The bright yellow colored petal has been used as a food dye since the Middle Ages, an affordable alternate to saffron.

January 20, 2010

ANEMONE CORONARIA - the windflower

The first flower of the year ,
Every gardener's pride.
A symbol of Transitoriness.


Anemone, is derived from the Greek word anemos, the wind. The short-lived delicate flower blooms with the gentle spring breeze  and vanishes. The fragile and fleeting beauty has been found throughout the Mediterranean since the prehistoric times. This flower being the garderner's pride was one of the seven  most important garden flowers in the seventeenth century ( Carnation, Tulip, Auricula, Hyacinth, Ranunculus, Primula and Anemone).

The wild population of these beautiful Anemone flowers are in a decline in Israel due  to urbanization and now it is a protected plant in Israel.

The mystic presence of the flower is being associated with ephemeral love and the quick drying tears of woman. Although the flower is found is many colors, the red reminds of the sufferings and death of the lovers Aphrodite and Adonis ( Greek mythology ).

Poppy Anemone, the first flower of the year, is of great sacred importance. Although it belongs to the poisonous family of flowers (Anemone contains an acrid compound called anemonin ) it was formerly used for its medicinal value.

January 19, 2010

AQUILEGIA VULGARIS - an aphrodisiac

(Photograph : http://rosenblads.ax/)

Wisdom and strength, piety and fear;
a symbol of salvation,
the triumph of life over death;
an aphrodisiac.

English Name: COLUMBINE
Bloom Time: May - June

'Aquilegia', the term may be derived from the Latin aquila, the eagle, as the spurs of the flower resemble an eagle's hooked beak and talons. The shape of the nectar gland resemble a dove, hence the English name Columbine (Latin columba, 'dove').

The outline of the flower looks like a pentagon. While drawing an artist may just use the proportions of the 'golden section'. The flower inspired spiritual, mathematical and religious interpretations for artists and mystics of the Gothic era. Because of the pentagram concealed within it, the flower gained a reputation as a plant with powers to ward off evil.

Between 1430 -1580, the columbine appeared in many paintings as a sign of redemption and of triumph of life over death. In the Last Judgement, the aquilegia is shown as the steps that lead to heaven, a mediator between earthly and heavenly spheres.

Aquilegia was planted in the gardens of monastries and castles from twentieth century as a medicinal plant. This beautiful plant is highly attractive to hummingbirds which makes them a great garden plant. The plant is a member of all-poisonous Ranunculus family and it should not be experimented with. The plant has been used to cure diarrhea, alleviate rheumatic pains and the dried crushed seeds kill lice very effectively.

Painting by Albercht Durer, 1503-1533
36cm X 29cm

To know more about the plant, its growth habit, preferred conditions - http://www.soonerplantfarm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/specials.specDetail/recID/21/index.htm

Thanks for reading :)

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