Dahlia is a beautiful flower in its unique striking appearance making it extremely popular all throughout the world. The flower comes in varieties of colors except blue. This flower type belongs to the Asteraceae family and is related to Sunflower, Daisy, Chrysanthemums, and Zinnia. There are varieties of patterns as well in its 42 natural and hybrid species. This perennial flower is native to Mexico and Central America. Some species are also found in Colombia.
The bushy and tuberous perennial herbaceous plant is a member of dicotyledonous. The flower of Dahlia has a form that varies depending on species and hybrids. Some can be small in 5 centimeters while some are large in 30 centimeters. As an octoploid, or a flower with eight sets of homologous chromosomes, this flower comes in variations. They also have transposons or genetic pieces that can move from one place to another. The flower head has central disc florets and surrounding ray florets in the shape of a star.
History of Dahlia
The flowers of Dahlia have been seen all throughout Europe for more than 200 years, but they actually originated from the Mesoamerica countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. Reports show that this plant was seen in Mexico in 1525 by some Spaniards however, Dr. Francisco Hernandez had made a description of the flower earlier than the report. In 1789, parts of this plant were sent to Royal Gardens of Madrid by the Director of Botanical Garden at Mexico City, Vicente Cervantes. In 1791, Antonio Jose Cavanilles, Director of Royal Gardens Madrid, called the plant “Dahlia” in honor of Anders Dahl. In 1798, it was first introduced to Great Britain from Spain. From the 20 species shipped and brought to Europe, there are more than 50,000 hybrids of the Dahlia flowers.
The first Dahlias brought to Europe were Dahlia pinnata, Dahlia rosea, and Dahlia coccinea. For many years, Dahlias were used in many purposes. It was used by the Aztecs for the treatment of epilepsy. They also used the long hollow tube-like stem of the flowers as pipes for the water.
Dahlia Flower Meaning
Dahlia is a flower associated and linked to different meanings ranging from positive applause to romantic messages to warnings and signals. When you send a bouquet of Dahlias, you show the recipient that you draw strength from her. You may also want to convey that you are true to your commitment. The flower may also symbolize grace under pressure or changing for the better. It can also be used to convey negative ideas like dishonesty, betrayal, and instability.
On the other hand, the meaning of this flower may mean a different way depending on the color and color combinations. White dahlias mean purity and innocence while pink ones mean grace and kindness and beauty and femininity. Purple Dahlias symbolize royalty, as well as perfection. Red Dahlias mean strength and power, green dahlias mean something new, and black dahlia, which is actually in dark burgundy color, means betrayal, cheating, and unfaithfulness.
To the Victorians during their era, the flowers of Dahlia signify eternal love and long lasting commitment. They used the flowers to convey their deep attraction and appreciation. It can be a gift to parents or to a special someone.
The birth flower of August, Dahlias has been used for different purposes. It is the national flower of Mexico, representing diversity of cultures throughout the world. It is the species Dahlia pinnata. They were found thriving in countries with warmer climate, but most of its species were actually growing in middle range climate. To the Swedish, the name Dahlia sounds like “dal” which means valley which is why this flower was referred to as the valley flowers because of the name Dahlia.
There are several classifications for the flowers of Dahlias. They are: single-flower, ball-type, pompom type, semi-cactus type, cactus type, collarette type, fimbriated type, water lily type, and miscellaneous type.
Dahlia is available in different colors, such as white, red, pink, orange, purple, yellow, green, and black or burgundy. Some are patterned with stripes while some have colors on their tips. It has been believed that the flowers of dahlia are the most popular flower in summer, competing against Sunflowers, Gerberas, and Zinnias.
To the gardeners and hybridizers, this flower is also referred to as the “Queen of the Autumn Garden.” It blooms longer than other flowering plants. However, larvae and species of Lepidoptera feed on the flowers. It will be helpful to keep them protected throughout the blooming season.
The many uses of Dahlias include decoration purposes, objects in floral shows, and as garden plants. The florist also create beautiful flower arrangements from bunches of Dahlias. They have wedding bouquets made from Dahlia flowers or flower gifts to celebrants on special occasions. In addition, other ancient people had been using the flower and plant for medicinal purposes. It was found that it contains chemical properties that can help treat epilepsy, diabetes, and more.
Some exotic cuisines and regional cuisines are added with powdered Dahlia flowers. Its extracts are also used in some beverages to add flavor to drinks. Some bakers also use the flower to decorate cakes, pastries, and breads, even to salads.
Care for Dahlia
Dahlias love moderate climate and moist soil. They may not endure extreme hot weather and full sun exposure and even the coldest snowy months of winter. During summer and spring season, regular watering will help the plant grow and bloom in abundance. However, too much water may cause the roots and tubers to rot. During winter season, adding mulch on the soil will cover the roots and protect the plant from frost. Fertilization will also benefit the plant in 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 mixture.