Giving flowers their names

ByLt Col S. Hassan Ahmed

(Retired) is a social activist


December 3, 2022

Giving flowers their names

Col Hasan (Retd) describes the origin of names of some

It is always a source of curiosity to find out what is the reason for giving flowers their names associated with many attractive. With their vivid colour and intoxicating fragrance, flowers are one of nature’s most enchanting natural wonders but their botanical names are highly injudicious to their loveliness. Human ingenuity has therefore assigned them quite different yet attractive names.

Some etymologists believe the word carnation comes from “carone,” the Roman word for flower. Others suggest the name derives from the Latin word “caro,” meaning flesh—the colour of the first carnations. Used in Victorian times to illustrate secret coded messages, the flower today is a wedding and Mother’s Day perennial.

Named for Swedish naturalist Baron Clas Alstromer (1736–1794), who discovered it, this tropical wonder has petals that radiate all sorts of meaning including friendship, devotion, and aspiration.

Greek mythology speaks of a beautiful boy called Hyakinthos. The flower’s name is also derived from the word jacinth, meaning a blue gemstone. The flower’s meaning can relate to jealousy or sincerity, depending on its colour.

In Latin, “rana” means frog and “unculus” little. Ranunculus is found in large numbers near streams so perhaps this is why the flower is named as such. Charm, radiance, and attractiveness are all associated with this showy bloom.

With a name borrowed from the Latin word rosa, and with its roots in Italian and Greek dialects, the rose is one of the world’s most popular flowers. It has many meanings depending on its colour, with love, passion, and honour favorite expressions.

Named by the Greeks to honour Iris is the goddess of the rainbow and messenger to the Olympian gods. The flower’s meaning is interpreted widely, but is often associated with royalty. Faith and wisdom are also closely aligned with the bloom.

In Greek mythology Paeon was the physician of the gods, from whom this flower takes its name. The iconic bloom represents ideas and values such as honour and wealth. However, it can also mean shame and reticence.

Named after botanist Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US ambassador to Mexico, the poinsettia has become a cherished symbol of Christmas. Depending on colour, its symbolism relates to the birth of Christ: the popular red variety means the blood of Christ.

One of this plant’s family names is Calendula, which translates from the Latin as little clock. More poetically, Marigolds were once used in place of gold coins as an offering to the Virgin Mary. Among its meanings are the warmth of the rising sun, promoting cheer, and desire for wealth. TW



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