Did you know how the flowers came to the Earth? According to Greek mythology, flowers were gifted to humans by a beautiful nymph named Flora. When Zephyr (the Greek God of the west wind who brings the spring rains and announces the warm weather) married her, he gave her a power to rule over flowers as a wedding gift. With all her goodness, she gave people flower seeds and let them cultivate it. That’s how the nymph Flora became the goddess of spring, flowers and fruit trees.
And now when we know how we got such a wonderful gift, let’s see where some of the most beautiful flowers in the world come from. So many myths and legends are associated with blooms and their origins – Greek gods, their unconditional love, their bitter ends and beliefs… Let’s see what kind of stories these five blooms are bringing.
Sunflower is a bloom that follows the movement of the sun. Stories and legends say it used to be quite ordinary and unsightly flower. All flowers in the field and the animals that lived near it would constantly mock it for its simplicity and loneliness. No other flower wanted it in its vicinity because of the discomfort of its “ugliness” and the fear that it would diminish their beauty.
The sunflower was alone and abandoned, but in the morning, as soon as daylight appeared, the sunflower would raise its head and keep a close watch on the sun until it was up again. Every day. The sun decided to reward the tiny, sad flower and give it the color of its rays – a beautiful golden color. It was rewarded by the sun for his love and faithfulness. Since then, no one has mocked the sunflower anymore because it was the tallest and most beautiful flower in a field lit by the sun’s rays.
There is also a variant of the story, which originates from Greek mythology, and which says that it originated from the sea nymph Clitia, who fled to the desert after being abandoned by the sun god Apollo, who wanted her sister. Without eating and drinking, she kept her eyes on the sun until her death, and after she died, she turned into a sunflower. Sunflower therefore symbolizes worship and strength, but also health and friendship, as FloraQueen blog states.
According to Greek legend Hyacinth was a Spartan prince and a beautiful lover of Apollo. The two of them were practicing discus throwing when suddenly Hyacinth was hit in the head with a disc by Zephyr who was jealous of Apollo because he loved Hyacinth himself. When Hyacinth died, Apollo was devastated and he created a flower: his tears became petals of hyacinth flower. Sad, isn’t it?
Lilac has been cultivated in gardens since ancient times for its lovely and fragrant flowers. It’s one of those plants that survives all epochs and styles. It blooms in mid to late spring and is symbolically associated with renewal and romance. According to Greek legend, Pan, the god of forests and fields met a charming nymph Syringa. He was mesmerized by her beauty and ran after her. Frightened by Pan’s feelings, Syringa escaped him by turning into a fragrant shrub – a flower now called lilac. After that, he started wandering the woods and doing good deeds to everyone, and the name Syringa became the Latin name for lilac.
Another legend says that lilacs were created when the spring threw the snow off the field and raised the sun higher up into the sky. Then the sun met the rainbow and they went across the sky together. In the spring, they took some sunshine and mixed them with some rainbow colors and began to scatter them across the earth. When spring reached the north, only white and purple colors remained. At that moment, the spring was all over Scandinavian countries and it threw the remaining colors on small shrubs that were covered with tiny flowers. In places where white was thrown, white lilacs grew.
Nymphaea alba, a white water lily or white lotus, was known in ancient Egypt, Rome and throughout the Mediterranean and Asian countries. Whether for its medicinal properties or enchanting beauty, people identified this flower with deities and dedicated it to pharaohs, while in the far east it’s believed that the lotus was created as a consequence of the collision of two stars. It’s said that the ancient Egyptians believed that the lotus flower gave life to Ra, Egyptian sun god. At the beginning of the world, in dark waters, a lotus flower floated with its petals closed. The petals opened and Ra, the sun god, rose from the flower, creating the world. In the evening the sun would return to the lotus flower to sleep and rise the next day. Many Mediterranean and Asian civilizations have transmitted the lotus symbol to India, Vietnam, China, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. The lotus, whose root is in the silt and whose tree penetrates through the water to develop leaf and flower on the surface of the water, is a symbol of life journey, but also of spiritual development.
The flower of the daffodil is named after Narcissus, the beautiful son of the god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. It was a young man cold to the love of many fans, causing the sadness and death of some, so the gods decided to punish the young man: when he saw his character on the surface of the lake, he fell in love with himself. He tried to capture the image on the surface of the water but in vain. With each passing day he would gaze sadly at the water, eventually dying of love: next day the water nymphs found a string of unusual flowers – daffodils – instead of a young man.
There are many more ancient legends about these ornamental plants that simply show how much the people once sought to explain in their own way the appearance of plants, flora and divine flowers. Even though we don’t know where all the flowers of this world came from, it may be these facts that will lead you to explore more about this and find a bunch of wonderful stories!