Springtime is a time of renewal for plant and animal life, and after a long, sharp winter, what better way to feel the warmth of the new season than with a handful of fresh spring flowers?
Whether you’re a gardener extraordinaire or simply looking for a new bushel from the grocery store to freshen up your kitchen table, here is a list of twelve flowers you can expect to find this spring:
Traditionally a symbol of pride, this Chilean flower has migrated long and far distances. First spotted in 1828 by a young European doctor hunting for plants in Chile, the amaryllis flower was transported to Europe, where it was hybridized and made into the large-flowered plant seen today.
The Apple Blossom is the state flower of Arkansas. When it was chosen in 1901, Arkansas’s orchards produced more than 400 varieties of apples a year. Though Apple Blossoms no longer dominate the Arkansas landscape, the flower is still a staple in American culture.
The Calla Lily originates from the southern parts of Africa, namely South Africa up to the country Malawi. This area has a tropical climate in which the Calla Lily really finds itself at home with a steady temperature, rainy seasons, and dry seasons. Though not entirely known when it traveled to Europe, the first known record of the Calla Lily outside of Africa appears in 1664 in the Royal Garden in Paris.
Cherry Blossoms are connected to Japanese folk religions, a symbol of reproduction and new life. The Cherry Blossom first came to prominence in the U.S. in 1912 when the Japanese sent over 3,000 trees to symbolize friendship and political alliance. These trees were planted in our capital, lending backstory to the ever-popular “Cherry Blossoms of Washington D.C.”
Freesia is a popular flower often found gracing wedding bouquets and gardens with its fragrant citrus scent. Its origins lay in South Africa, and its first recorded appearance in England was in 1878. They were introduced to America shortly thereafter.
Gardenias are evergreen shrubs that can grow from 2 to 20+ feet in height. Gardenia flowers are white or yellow in color and develop either a single or a cluster of blossoms. The flowers of many species are known for their intoxicating sweet scent, and their typical intolerance of the bitter cold in northern climates makes them a staple of the Southern US.
This much-loved plant is a native of the European Balkan countries, and it has been admired for many years for its beauty, fragrance, and dependability. In 1563, Lilacs were taken by a visiting scholar-ambassador to the court of Austria. A few years later, the same man took Lilacs to Paris. They were soon being passed from garden to garden throughout Europe. Early settlers brought Lilacs in their baggage to North America. Happy with our climate, lilacs readily naturalized and by the mid-1600s were common throughout the colonies.
Peonies have had a long and illustrious history throughout China, Japan, Europe, and North America. In the gardens of China, Peonies were known as far back as 1000 BCE. At the beginning of the eighth century peonies reached Japan. Peonies were originally cultivated in Europe for their medicinal value. It was not until much later in history that peonies began to be grown in Europe solely for their ornamental qualities. Today, North American gardens covet peonies for their beauty.
Poppies have long been used as a symbol of sleep, peace, and death: Sleep because of the opium extracted from them is a sedative, and death because of the common blood-red color of the red poppy in particular. In Greek and Roman myths, poppies were used as offerings to the dead. Poppies used as emblems on tombstones symbolize eternal sleep. This symbolism was evoked in the children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in which a magical poppy field threatened to make the protagonists sleep forever.
Perhaps the most symbolic flower of all time, fossil evidence suggests that the rose is close to 35 million years old. Roses have contributed to symbolizing of love, beauty, war, and politics for centuries. See this rose color guide to know exactly what your rose colors symbolize.
It is generally believed that the first sweet pea seeds were harvested from the wild by a monk living on the island of Sicily and sent to an English schoolmaster in 1699. When discovered, they only came in five colot varieties. They later migrated across the Atlantic, and are now available in almost every color imaginable. Amazing, right?
Though symbolically associated with Holland, the tulip actually is of Turkish origin. The flowers were introduced to Western Europe and the Netherlands in the 16th century, and were generally used for medicinal purposes up until the 17th century—when they began to be recognized for their ornamental qualities.
What is your favorite springtime flower? Share your thoughts with us below!
Photo credit: Kvety Prevas