Pulmonaria Officinalis

Lungwort is a perennial herb that normally grows up to a height of one feet or 30 cm. The plant bears wide oval shaped leaves at the base, while the upper leaves are relatively smaller marked with the irregular color pattern, especially white spots. The lungwort plants also bear bunches of pink-purple colored flowers.

Going by the Middle Ages Doctrine of Signatures, an ancient European philosophy, herbs bearing parts that resembled human body parts, animals, or other objects, had useful relevancy to those parts, objects or animals. It may as well indicate to the surroundings or specific places in which herbs grew. Following this theory, lungwort is effective in treating chest ailments and hence its leaves bear resemblance to the lung tissues.

The lungwort plant is native to Europe and western Asia and belongs to the family of Boraginaceae and the Pulmonaria genus of flowering plants. One species of the plant – P. mollissima – is found in the region spreading from east to central Asia. Rough estimates prepared by various herbalists list around 10 to 18 species of Pulmonaria growing in the wild. However, researchers have found it extremely difficult and perplexing to classify or categorize (taxonomy) this species of the plant.

Interestingly, the scientific term Pulmonaria has been obtained from the Latin word Pulmo literally translated to English means ‘the lung’. During the period of ‘sympathetic magic’ (magic based on the belief that somebody or something can be supernaturally affected by something done to an object representing the person or thing) people were of the view that the white spots on the oval leaves of P. Officinalis were a sign of unhealthy lungs affected by ulcers. Consequently, they widely used the lungwort or medicines prepared from its derivatives to treat all pulmonary diseases. Significantly, owing to its properties to heal pulmonary diseases or infections of the lungs, the plant’s name in many languages refers to the lungs.

For instance, in English, it is known as ‘lungwort’, while in German it is called ‘Lungenkraut’. On the other hand, in some languages in Eastern Europe, the plant derives its common name from a word of ‘honey’. Like in Russian it is known as ‘medunitza’, while the Polish call it ‘miodunka plamista’ – both terms meaning ‘honey’ in the respective languages. In addition, in English lungwort also has many colloquial or idiomatic names – Soldiers and Sailors, Spotted Dog, Joseph and Mary, Jerusalem, Cowslip and Bethlehem Sage.

Plant Part Used


Herbal Remedy Use

The mucilage (a gummy substance secreted by some plants) properties of lungwort make it immensely helpful in treating chest problems, especially chronic bronchitis. In addition, lungwort may be blended with other herbs like coltsfoot for an effectual remedy for chronic coughs and also be administered for alleviating asthma. A combination of lungwort and coltsfoot is particularly effective in curing whooping cough. In addition, lungwort may also be used in curing ailments like a sore throat as well as jamming. Years ago, physicians applied lungwort for coughing up blood released owing to tubercular contagion. It may be mentioned here that leaves of lungwort plant are astringent (a substance that draws tissue together) in nature and are frequently used to impede bleeding.

The leaves, as well as the flowering shoots of lungwort, possess diuretic, astringent, demulcent (soothing), a little expectorant, emollient (relaxing) and resolvent (solvent) attributes. These parts of the herb are frequently employed for their curative impact when an individual is suffering from pulmonary ailments and their mucilaginous character makes these parts useful in the treatment of sore throats. The leaves as well as the flowering stems of lungwort are harvested during the spring and dried up for use when necessary afterward. Distilled water prepared from this herb is known to be effectual eyewash for healing tired eyes. In addition, a homeopathic remedy is also prepared using this herb. This homeopathic medication is employed to cure coughs, bronchitis as well as diarrhea.


The leaves of the herb lungwort also have culinary uses and they can be consumed either raw or after being cooked. The leaves may also be included in salads or employed in the form of a potherb. The leaves of lungwort have a rather insipid taste, but they have low fiber content and are favourable for being added into salads, despite their somewhat hairy and mucilaginous texture. However, the leaves of this herb are less acceptable for consumption on their own owing to these attributes. When cooked, the tender leaves of lungwort make a delicious vegetable. Nevertheless, the texture of the leaves has been found to be slightly oily. It may be noted that lungwort forms an element of the beverage known as Vermouth.


Having its origin in Europe and the Caucasus, lungwort grows best in meadows at the foot of mountains and in humid locations. The leaves of lungwort are normally harvested in the latter part of spring.

The herb lungwort thrives well in any type of reasonably good soil, counting heavy clay soils. This herb has a preference for partial shade in a damp soil rich in humus content. Lungwort thrives well in shady places, especially beside tall buildings. The lungwort plants cultivated in shady locales are able to endure drought provided the soil has rich humus content. The leaves of this herb have a tendency to wither during hot weather in places where the herb is cultivated in full sunlight. The plants are resilient up to approximately 20ºC. Plants belonging to this genus are seldom if ever, bothered by rabbits and deer. Lungwort plants are a precious early on resource of nectar, especially for bees. This species has numerous named varieties, and are chosen for their decorative worth. Lungwort easily hybridizes with other plants belonging to the same genus.

Lungwort is generally propagated by its seeds, which are sown in a greenhouse during the spring. When the seedlings have grown adequately big to be handled, prick them out independently and plant them in separate containers. The young plants need to be grown in a greenhouse during the first year of their existence. The plants may be transplanted outdoors into the permanent locations during the later part of spring or early summer when the last anticipated frost has passed.

Alternately, lungwort may also be propagated by means of root division done either during the spring or in autumn. In case the soil is not very arid, the root division may also be undertaken during the early part of summer following the flowering season of the plants. Propagating lungwort through root division is extremely simple and you may directly plant the larger divisions outdoors into their permanent locations. It has, however, been found that it is better to grow the smaller divisions initially in pots in a cold frame in a slightly shady location. When these are properly established, they may be planted outdoors in their permanent positions during the later part of spring or in early summer.


Chemical analysis of lungwort has shown that the herb encloses tannins, flavonoids, saponins, vitamin C. However, dissimilar to many other members of the borage family, lungwort does not comprise pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

Infusions and Tinctures

Lungwort can be ingested both as an infusion as well as a tincture. To prepare an infusion of the herb, add one to two teaspoons of dried up lungwort in a cup of boiling water and leave it to permeate for around 10 to 15 minutes. An individual should drink the infusion prepared from lungwort thrice daily. In the case of your favor lungwort tincture, ingest 1 ml to 4 ml of the herbal tincture daily.


  • German Chamomile – Matricaria chamomilla
  • Roman Chamomile – Anthemis nobilis

The chamomile herb is another well known plant, used in making effective herbal remedies for the treatment of a variety of illnesses. The herb has a great relaxant action on the nervous system and the digestive system. The herbal remedies made from this plant are considered to be a perfect remedy for the treatment of disorders affecting babies and children. The main action of the chamomile is that it brings about relaxation in all the smooth muscles throughout the body of an individual. The herb acts on the digestive tract and rapidly brings relief from any muscular tension and spasms, it alleviates disorders such as colic, and it can reduce the amount of abdominal pain, and remedy excess production of wind and abdominal distension in patients.

The other major affect of the herb lies in its ability to regulate peristalsis along the esophagus, resulting in the treatment of both diarrhea and persistent constipation in a patient. The chamomile is well known for its ability to soothe all types of problems related to the digestive system, particularly when these are specifically related to persistent stress and tension affecting the person. The flow of bile is stimulated by the bitters, at the same time, the chamomile also affects the secretion of digestive juices in the body, as a result it enhances the general appetite and this leads to an improvement in the sluggish digestion of the patient. When used internally and as a topical medication, the volatile oil is known to prevent ulceration’s and is also observed to be capable of speeding up the healing process in areas of the skin affected by ulcers, this ability makes chamomile an excellent remedy for the treatment of gastritis, and in the treatment of peptic ulcers along with varicose ulcers affecting the legs of the patient.

The potent antiseptic action of the chamomile is also very valuable, the herb is very active against all infections arising from bacteria, and it can be used in the treatment of various illnesses, including common thrush – caused by the Candida albicans. Herbal chamomile tea is also another way to use the herb, and this tea helps in lowering the temperature of the body during a persistent fever and furthermore, the herbal tea is also effective against colds, flu, common sore throats, persistent coughs, and against all kinds of digestive infections such as the common gastroenteritis which affects a lot of patients annually. Inflammation in the bladder and cases of cystitis are soothed easily by the antiseptic oils in the chamomile – leading to effective and rapid relief from the condition.

Herbal remedies made from the chamomile also helps in relieving persistent nausea and sickness felt by a women during the term of her pregnancy, the herbal remedy can also help bring relaxation from uterine spasms and aids in relieving painful periods, it also helps in reducing painful menopausal symptoms, the remedy can also be used to bring relief from mastitis, it is effective against premenstrual headaches and migraines. In addition, the remedy is also used in the treatment of absent flows during menstrual period – if the condition is due to the presence of stress felt by the women. The pain felt during the contractions of labor can be relieved by drinking herbal chamomile tea; the tea can also be drunk throughout the process of childbirth to help relax the tension in the muscles. The herbal remedies made from the chamomile also function as an effective general pain reliever, thus the chamomile can be taken to treat persistent and painful headaches, it can be used in the treatment of migraines, it can be used to treat neuralgia, and it can also be used to relieve a toothache, an earache, or the achiness which occurs during flu, it is effective against muscular cramps, it can be used to treat rheumatic and gout pains in the body. Inflammation in arthritic joints can also be effectively relieved by consuming herbal remedies made from the chamomile.

The property of the chamomile in the role of a natural anti-histamine has also been observed during recent researches conducted the chamomile herb – thus there is a possibility that the herb can be used in this role. Herbal remedies made from the chamomile are also used in the treatment of asthma and to treat hay fever and the herb is used externally as a topical remedy against skin disorders such as eczema. As an antiseptic remedy, the chamomile has been used topically in the treatment of all kinds of wounds, it has been used in the treatment of different types of ulcers, it can be used to treat sores, and to treat burns as well as scalded skin.

Chamomile in the form of steam inhalations can effectively aid in bringing relief from asthma, it can ward off hay fever, and it can also alleviate catarrh and sinusitis in patients. Topical chamomile cream has also been used to treat sore nipples and this cream is also used as a vaginal douche for the treatment of all kinds of vaginal infections in women. Soothing relief from cystitis and hemorrhoids can be had by sitting on a bowl of chamomile herbal tea. The anti-septic actions of the chamomile herb is also excellent in the role of an antiseptic eyewash to treat sore and inflamed eyes and it can also be used as a lotion for the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions including eczema and common fungal infections such as ringworm.

Chamomile herbal remedies must be considered by anyone who has ever suffered from an occasional migraine headache and this remedy is also effective in treating hyperactive children, the famous French herbalist, Maurice Messegue, had great success with herbal remedies made from the chamomile in treating such ailments. In one example, a man affected by debilitating migraine attacks was cured after just 14 days of intensive treatment using herbal remedies made from the chamomile herb – such is the power of this plant. Herbal teas made from the chamomile can be very relaxing to the body, preparation of such teas involve relatively simple steps, just steep about 2 tablespoons of some fresh or dried chamomile flowers in a pint of water, boil the water for about 40 minutes. After removing the pot, cool down the broth and strain the liquid, it can then be sweetened using some pure maple syrup and this herbal tea can be drunk in doses of 1-2 cups at a time on a regular basis for long term treatment of headaches.

The chamomile has also been frequently praised for its properties by many European herbalists, who have often raved about its big cosmetic benefits – especially when used as a topical herbal application. A healthier and softer glow can be detected for example, when the face is washed several times every week, with the herbal tea made from the chamomile. At the same time, this tea also has other uses, it is considered to be a wonderful hair conditioner and has great benefits, and particularly when treating blond hair, the herbal tea makes hair more manageable and induces a shinier surface on the hair. This herbal tea can be prepared by bringing one pint of water to a boil, once the boiled water has been removed from the heat, immediately add 2 tsp. of dried chamomile flowers.

Now cover the pot and let the herbal essences steep into the water for about 45 minutes. After this infusion process, the water can be strained and the resulting tea can be used while still lukewarm or when fully cooled down.


All external conditions of the body, including inflammation in the skin can be treated using the chamomile as an herbal compress or in the form of an herbal wash; the herbal oil can also be rubbed into affected areas of the body to treat muscular stiffness and to alleviate temporary cases of paralysis in the limbs. Prepare a consumable herbal tea from the chamomile – which can also be used as a wash – by bringing about 1-2 pints of water to a boil, to this boiling water add 2 heaped teaspoons of dried or fresh chamomile flowers. The pot containing the water must then be removing from the heat at once and the herb can then be allowed to steep into the water for about 20 minutes or so-it can then be cooled and strained to get the tea. This herbal tea made from the chamomile can be drunk one cup at a time about 2-3 times every day and the tea can also be used as a herbal wash to treat inflamed areas of the skin, by applying it on the affected area several times per day. Paralysis and stiffness in the limbs can also be treated using a chamomile massage oil, this oil can be topical used to treat all aches such as lower backaches, prepare this herbal oil solution by filling a small bottle with some fresh chamomile flowers and pour some olive oil until it completely covers the flowers inside the bottle. Once the oil and the flowers are sealed into the bottle, place a tight lid over the mouth of the bottle and place the bottle under direct sunlight for two weeks at a stretch, during this time, the herbal essences from the flowers will seep into the olive oil and the remedy is ready, it can then be stored in the refrigerator and used as a topical healing oil whenever necessary. Any oil that is going to be externally applied on the skin must always be warmed before it is massaged into the affected areas of the skin. To gain immediate and incredible relief, and to help you soothe your tired or irritated eyes, soak some chamomile tea bags in some ice water for a little while, this solution can then be used as an application on the eyelids for rapid relief from the tiredness and irritation. The particular topical eyewash is an especially good idea during allergy season when eyes are typically affected because of irritants such as pollen in the air.

chamomile herbA chemical compound known as azulene is one of the chief chemical components in all species of chamomiles, and particularly so, in the German variety of the herb. This particular chemical compound is a very potent anti-allergen and has been recorded as helping in the prevention of allergic seizures, up to an hour following its administration even in experimental guinea pigs. A possible cure to hay fever might lie in careful use and administration of the azulene. In little children as well as in adults, the herbal remedies made from the chamomile are effective in relieving sudden asthmatic attacks – this is another very important ability of the herb. In a majority of health stores, a very effective chamomile throat spray is marketed under the name CamoCare, this spray has been used to relieve the distress and blockage during an asthma attack. Patients suffering from asthma can benefit from this herbal spray by spraying some of this chamomile concentrate into the mouth right at the very back of the throat, the spray will aid in relieving the sudden choking sensations during an attack and it will also help in facilitating respiration during the attack. During allergy season, vulnerable adults are advised to drink 3-4 cups of warm chamomile tea on a daily basis, young children can also benefit by taking 1-2 cups per day during this time, concurrently such vulnerable individuals are advised to inhale the warmed herbal vapors while keeping their heads covered using a heavy bath towel and they should do this while holding the face 8-10 inches above the pan which has some freshly made chamomile tea, inhalation must lasts for 12-15 minutes every sitting for beneficial results.

The ability to inducing regeneration in the body is a property possessed by only a very few herbs in the plant kingdom, such abilities as producing brand new liver tissue belong to very few herbs. German chamomile possesses this unique property, and so does the common tomato juice among herbs. The chemical compounds azulene and guaiazulene present in herbs were identified as being able to initiate the growth of new tissues in experimental rats which had a portion of their livers surgically removed, this experimental results were obtained in one research recorded in Vol. 15 of Food & Cosmetics Toxicology published in the year 1977. Patients with wasted liver tissues are advised to take up to 6 cups of the herbal chamomile tea every other day or in an average dosage amount of 3-4 cups every day – this regimen is ideal for encouraging the regeneration of liver tissues in the body of the patient. Compared to the powdered capsules, for example, it is known that the herbal tea works much better and is a more efficient way of treatment over the long term. In the treatment of patients, and especially patients already suffering from some severe degenerative liver diseases such as infectious hepatitis or the complications due to the AIDS virus, the consumption of this remedy will prove to be extremely beneficial in the long term.

Chamomile hair rinse

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dried chamomile flowers

Boil together for 5 minutes. Strain. Apply to the hair after washing.

Herbal shampoo with chamomile

  • 2 Tbs. dried chamomile flowers
  • 2 Tbs. dried rosemary
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp. borax
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup dried mint leaves, crushed
  • 2 cups no detergent shampoo

Pour boiling water over the herbs in a medium bowl, cover, and allow the herbs to steep for 1 hour. Remove the herbs.
Beat the egg until frothy, and beat into the shampoo, along with the borax. Combine with the herbal infusion. Bottle, and keep stored in the refrigerator. It will keep about 1 month. Use as regular shampoo.

Chamomile cleansing milk

Chamomile cleansing milk is excellent for people having dry skin. The ingredients used to prepare this herbal cleanser include:

  • 2 tablespoonfuls (30 ml) of chamomile flowers
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) of milk containing full fat

To prepare this cleansing recipe, you should first gently heat the two ingredients together in a double boiler for about 30 minutes. However, be careful not to allow the mixture to boil. Allow the mixture to cool down for two hours, filter it and store the preparation in a refrigerator. This herbal cleanser ought to be used within seven days of preparation.

The Slipper Orchids

The slipper orchids are not likely to be confused with any others; with the exception of a single species, all the members of the subfamily Cypripedioideae have the lip or labellum modified into a pouch, an inflated bag-shaped organ. If you can imagine a dainty foot nestled in this pouch, you’ll comprehend these orchids’ charming familiar designation as “lady’s slippers.”

The highly pragmatic purpose of the pouch, however, is to lure an insect, entrap it, and force it to leave the flower with a load of pollen. The uppermost sepal (the dorsal) is enlarged and conspicuous. The other two sepals are fused and are called a synsepalum; located at the bottom of the flower, the synsepalum is often hidden by the pouch. Two of the petals extend laterally and the third is the pouch.

The flowers are generally waxy and thick textured, lasting well both on the plant and when to cut. The leaves are strap-shaped and either plain green or mottled (tessellated). They arise as fan-shaped growths from the rhizome and live for many years, though they flower only once. Old plants can have many growths and produce many flowers. The flower stalks emerge from the center of the new growths; those most commonly grown bear a single flower, though some species bear more.

cypripedium_guttatum_lg2Cypripedium, paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium, and Selenipedium are the four genera in the subfamily. Of these, Selenipedium is of little horticultural interest; the plants are large and the flowers generally insignificant. Cold-winter-climate orchid fanciers and wildflower enthusiasts alike would like to grow cypripediums, but they are difficult both to propagate and to grow.

Paphiopedilum is a favorite of orchid fanciers. At one time all the slipper orchids were called Cypripedium, and a slowly diminishing group of fanciers continues to call the paphiopedilums Cypripedium, or cyps (pronounced sips) for short. The more up-to-date call them paphs.

All of these are Old World orchids, native from the Himalayas to Taiwan and eastward to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Most cultivated slipper orchids belong to this genus. The tropical New World slipper orchids in Phragmipedium are less widely grown, but interest in that genus is increasing.

Most slipper orchids thrive given nighttime temperatures of 60° to 65°F (16° to 18°C), considered an intermediate range for paphiopedilums. The warm growing slipper orchids require nighttime temperatures of 65° to 70°F (18° to 21°C); some cool growers prefer 55° to 60°F (13° to 16°C). Daytime temperatures should be around 20°F (11°C) warmer. If daytime temperatures exceed 90°F (32°C), provide shade as well as increased humidity.

All of these orchids are shade lovers, but they differ in the degree of shade preferred. Most thrive given about 1,000 foot-candles of light. These preferences and their low stature make them favorites for growing indoors, either at windows or under artificial lights.


Lady_Slippers_in_old_growth_forest_near_a_lake_in_Lunenburg_County,_Nova_Scotia,_Canada (1)Paphiopedilums grow in a range from sea level (sometimes even within reach of salt spray) to high, cool, moist mountains. Some make their home in trees, but most are terrestrial, growing in moss and leaf mold on rocks or on banks where seepage keeps them supplied with moisture.

Because they lack pseudobulbs in which to store moisture, their roots must never go completely dry. They also require air around their roots, so the planting mix should be porous. Commercial mixes are available, but fine- or medium grade fir bark mixed with perlite and peat may be used. Hard water containing calcium carbonate is not harmful, but water containing sodium and other salts can be fatal. Never water late in the day; water standing in the fans at night encourages decay.

These slipper orchids need repotting every 2 or 3 years, as the potting mix breaks down and becomes less porous. Repotting is best done after bloom. Remove the old mix and replace it with moistened new mix, packing it carefully but firmly around the roots. The leaf fan should rest on the surface of the mix. Water only lightly until new growth begins; then resume regular watering. If plants are very large, they may be divided at repotting: cut or break them into divisions of at least three fans each.

Feed with a half-strength solution of liquid fertilizer every week during spring and summer, and every other week during the winter months.

The genus paphiopedilum consists of roughly 70 species and named selections have been made from many of these. Hundreds of primary crosses (crosses between two species) exist, and the number of complex crosses (those with three or more species in their ancestry) is legion.

Keep in mind when buying a slipper orchid that plants are sold either as divisions or as seedlings. Divisions of mature plants will exactly resemble the parent whereas seedlings will resemble it more or less. The few species and hybrid types it is possible to describe here favor intermediate temperatures and light unless otherwise noted.

Paphiopedilum argus
The leaves are tessellated, and the 12- to 18-inch scape carries a single 5-inch flower. The white dorsal has green stripes and purple spots. Wavy-edged petals are white blushed with pink, veined in green, and lavishly sprinkled with blackish purple spots. The pouch is green and brown. It blooms midwinter to spring.
Paphiopedilum armeniacum
A rambling rhizome produces well-spaced clumps of boldly mottled 4-inch leaves. The 9- to 10-inch flower stalk bears a single pale to bright yellow 4-inch flower with a small dorsal sepal and a large lip with faint red markings near the mouth. It grows best in intermediate to warm conditions. Grow it in a basket of slats or wire mesh to accommodate the running rhizome. Spring or summer bloom.
Paphiopedilum barbatum
Clumps of tessellated leaves produce 12- to 14-inch stalks bearing one or two 4-inch flowers. The large dorsal is white, with green and purple stripes. Slightly drooping maroon petals have blackish purple warts. The pouch is purple. Blooms in early winter, sometimes re-blooming in spring.
Paphiopedilum bellatulum
This dwarfish plant has strongly mottled leaves and a flower stalk that hold the nearly round flower just 1 1/2 to 3 inches above the foliage. The flower is white, finely sprinkled with spots and blotches of maroon; its small pouch is the same color. The dorsal sepal and petals are nearly round. This intermediate to warm grower likes both night temperatures and brightness in the higher ranges and needs excellent drainage. A midwinter rest, with slightly less water and at slightly lower temperatures, will induce summer to fall bloom. Paphiopedilum concolor; P godefroyae, and P. niveum are all similar in appearance and requirements.
Paphiopedilum callosum
Resembles P. barbatum, but with more intense pinkish tones in the petals and pouch. Blooms early spring through autumn.
Paphiopedilum charlesworthii
The 4-inch flower rises above the green foliage clump on a 6-inch stalk. The very large dorsal sepal is pink, with deeper pink veining and a narrow white rim. The smaller petals and pouch are brownish flushed with pink. Autumn bloom.
Paphiopedilum delenatii
Dark green 4-inch leaves are marked above with paler green and below with purple. The clumps are spaced out along a rambling rhizome. The 9-inch flower stalk produces one and sometimes two 4-inch pale pink to white flowers with a pink pouch. This species blooms in spring.
Paphiopedilum druryi
Long rhizomes produce scattered clumps of 6- to 18-inch light green leaves and 10-inch flower stalks bearing a single, nearly 4-inch, yellow to greenish flower with a bold purple stripe on each petal and on the dorsal sepal. This intermediate grower blooms in late winter and early spring and likes strong, indirect light and warm days coupled with cool nights.
Paphiopedilum fairrieanum
The leaves are green, sometimes faintly tessellated. The 5- to 18-inch flower stalk bears a single flower 4 inches tall and somewhat narrower. The tall dorsal sepal has frilled edges and is white, heavily marked with green and purple stripes. The similarly colored petals droop for two-thirds of their length, then turn sharply upward, giving the flower a somewhat whimsical aspect. Colors can vary from white and green to white and deep purple. An intermediate to cool grower, it blooms in late fall and early winter.
Paphiopedilum haynaldianum
Yellowish green, large leaves surround flower stems that can reach 20 inches and carry two to four 5- inch flowers. The dorsal sepal is narrow at the base and white with purple stripes in the lower half; it has a sprinkling of maroon spots. The narrow, widely spreading petals are yellowish green heavily marked with maroon spots near the base. The large pouch is greenish tan with dark green veins. Bloom occurs in late winter and spring.
Paphiopedilum henryanum
The leaves are somewhat more than 6 inches long, plain green with some purple suffusion underneath. The 6-inch flower stem carries a single 3-inch flower having a yellow dorsal heavily marked in dark purple with deep pink petals and lip. This species blooms in winter to early spring.
Paphiopedilum insigne
This widely grown and variable species has plain green leaves and a 9-inch stalk bearing a single 5-inch flower. The dorsal sepal is yellowish green or pale green with a white edge and raised spots of purple or brown. The narrow petals are yellowish green to yellowish brown. The flower has a high gloss. Plants are hardy to almost 32°F (O°C) but intolerant of protracted warmth. Bloom period is fall and early winter.
Paphiopedilum javanicum
The leaves are sparingly tessellated, and flower stalks 6 to 14 inches tall carry a single 4-inch flower. Its dorsal sepal is narrow and greenish white, striped green and with a sharp white tip. Narrow, spreading petals are green with purple tips. Bloom season is irregular, but usually in summer.
Paphiopedilum malipoense
The 4- to 8-inch leaves are boldly mottled. The 10-inch flower stalk carries a single 3-inch flower whose dorsal sepal and petals are green marked with faint purple lines. The large, baggy pouch is somewhat translucent and stained pink by profuse maroon dotting inside. A warm grower, it blooms in fall and winter. Grow it in a basket of slats or wire mesh to accommodate the running rhizome.
Paphiopedilum micranthum
As in P. armeniacum, the foliage clumps are spaced along a wandering rhizome. The leaves are 2 to 6 inches long and dark green mottled in lighter green. The 3- to 8-inch flower stalk carries a single 3-inch-wide flower with a short, nearly round dorsal and petals or greenish yellow marked with purplish pink lines. The very large, puffy lip is 3 inches long and pink. This is an intermediate to warm grower.
Paphiopedilum spiceranum
Clumps of green leaves produce 10-inch arching flower stalks that carry a single 3-inch flower. The large white dorsal sepal is narrow at the base, then spreads upward and folds back to emulate a small calla (Zantedeschia). A maroon vertical streak decorates the front. Petals are yellowish green suffused with brown, and the margins near the flower center are deeply crimped. This intermediate to cool grower blooms in autumn and early winter.
Paphiopedilum sukhakulii
Clumps of tessellated leaves produce 10-inch stems bearing a single 5-inch flower. The dorsal sepal is white with a fine striping of green. The horizontally spreading petals are green, heavily spotted with blackish purple. Bloom is in autumn, sometimes also in spring. This species has been a parent to many fine hybrids.
Paphiopedilum superbiens
The 6- to 10-inch leaves are strongly mottled. The 6- to 10-inch flower stalk carries a single 5-inch flower with a broad, sharply pointed dorsal of white flushed pink and heavily streaked with green and purple veins. Long, narrow, downwardly angled petals shade from green at the base to purple toward the tips. The glossy lip is dark maroon and 2 1/2 inches long. This intermediate grower blooms in summer.
Paphiopedilum venustum
Heavily tessellated leaf clumps give rise to 5- to 10-inch flower stalks carrying a single 5-inch flower. The low, broad sepal is white, heavily striped in dark-green. The petals are greenish white with green veins; their outer third is copper or purple. The lip is yellow or coppery with strong green veining. Bloom is in winter.

Multi-Flowering Paphiopedilums

lady-slipper-orchids-matt-dobsonSeveral species of paphiopedilum have flower stalks that carry from 2 to (rarely) 20 flowers. These typically open sequentially-one fading and falling as the next opens-but some have several flowers open at a time. These are not the easiest plants to grow, and beginners are urged to gain experience before attempting them.

Paphiopedilum glanduliferum (P. praestans)
Dark green leaves are 14 to 16 inches long. The 12- to 20-inch flower stalk carries from two to five flowers. The tall, narrow dorsal is 2 inches long and half as wide, yellow with pronounced purple stripes. The lower sepals are similar. Narrow petals angle downward at a 45° angle; they are yellow veined with maroon and are fringed at the edge. The lip is 2 inches long or more, yellow marked with maroon. It blooms in summer.
Paphiopedilum glaucophyllum
The leaves are 12 to 20 inches long and either green or faintly mottled. The flower stalk can reach 2 feet and produce up to 20 flowers usually one at a time, rarely two. The flowers have a broad cream to green dorsal heavily spotted and striped with purple. Petals are 1 1/2 to 2 inches long and white, with many deep pink to maroon spots as well as tufts of short hairs along the edges. The lip or pouch is 1 1/2 inches long and pink finely stippled with maroon. The variety P. g. moquettianum is slightly larger, and the dorsal is speckled rather than veined. It blooms in summer or at any time and is a warm grower.
Paphiopedilum philippinense
Clumps of dark green 6- to 20-inch leaves produce flowering stems to 20 inches, each bearing two to five flowers. Both the dorsal sepal and the fused lower sepals are 2 inches long, white striped with maroon. Petals are narrow, yellow at the base fading to maroon. They are somewhat drooping, twisted, narrow, and up to 5 inches long. This species blooms in late winter or spring bloom.
Paphiopedilum rothschildianum
This spectacular species is slow to reach blooming age after division and seems to resent transplanting. Its dark green leaves can reach 2 feet in length, and the 18-inch flower stalk carries from two to four flowers with a petal span of up to 10 inches. The 2 1/2-inch-long dorsal sepal is cream, green, or yellow. The long, narrow petals are yellow or cream striped with maroon, the pouch tawny or yellowish suffused with dark red. Bloom is in late spring or early summer.
Paphiopedilum sanderianum
The dark green, strap-like leaves are 12 to 18 inches long. The flower stalk is 18 inches tall and carries two to five flowers. The 2 1/2-inch dorsal sepal is yellow, striped in deep maroon. Narrow, twisting, drooping petals are 12 to 36 inches long, yellow at the base with maroon spots and becoming deep maroon in their last three-quarters. This species is rare and expensive.
Paphiopedilum stonei
The leaves can reach 28 inches in length, and the flower stem can reach 28 inches; it bears two to four large flowers. The dorsal sepal is broadly oval, 2 inches tall and wide, and white with a few dark purple vertical lines. The petals arch out and down and are yellow, dotted and flushed in maroon. The lip is creamy or white at the base, deep pink toward the front. It blooms in late summer or early autumn.
Paphiopedilum victoria-mariae
Heavily mottled leaves are 10 to 12 inches long. The flowering spike can reach 3 to 4 feet in height and must be staked. It elongates as flowering progress, usually one bloom at a time, to a total of 20 blooms or more. Each flower has a 1-inch dorsal of cream or yellow with a green center striped with maroon. The 1 1/2-inch petals are narrow, twisted, and reddish purple; the 1 1/2 -inch lip is purple with a whitish or greenish rim. There is a long bloom season beginning in spring or summer.

Hybrid Paphiopedilums

You are more likely to encounter hybrids than you are the species paphs. Many are first-generation crosses between two species, but much, much more are complex hybrids-hybrids of hybrids, sometimes involving multiple remote ancestral species. The orchid plant you buy may be a seedling, in which case it will bear a grex name. Grexes guarantee only a greater or lesser resemblance to other seedlings from the same cross. On the other hand, if your plant is a division, it will be more expensive but identical to its parent. For instance, you will come across many plants named Winston Churchill, a grex name. But if you see Winston Churchill ‘Indomitable’, it will be a division of an award-winning plant, not just a relative. New hybrids appear at a frantic pace. During 3 months in a recent year, 80 new hybrid paphs were registered. All tend to be sturdy plants with broad, rounded flowers having clearly defined colors and a high gloss. Here are a few of the countless hybrid grexes.

Paphiopedilum Harrisianum
This, the first hybrid paphiopedilum, dates from 1866. Flowers tend to dark burgundy red, faintly striped with white in the dorsal sepal.
Paphiopedilum Makuli
These flowers have white dorsals striped in green and purple, pale petals spotted with maroon and russet red pouches.
Paphiopedilum Maudiae
These plants bear tessellated leaves and sturdy stalks holding white flowers with green striping. Later crosses involving darker forms of the original species have yielded plants of similar vigor and striping, but in pink (coloratum) and dark red (vinicolor) shades.
Paphiopedilum Winston Churchill
Large, well-rounded flowers of heavy texture characterize this grex. Dorsals are big and broad, white, and heavily spotted or flared with deep red.

Tropical American Slippers

Members of the Central and South American genus Phragmipedium have not enjoyed the popularity of paphiopedilum, but interest in them and their hybrids has been rising rapidly since the introduction of the bright red Phragmipedium besseae. These plants superficially resemble those of the Asiatic slippers, as do their flowers, but there are significant differences. The flower stem is jointed, has conspicuous bracts, may be branched, and normally bears many flowers. Chromosomal differences between the two make intergeneric crossing very difficult. Although both genera are alike culturally, there is one significant difference: Phragmipedium is strongly acid loving, so cannot tolerate lime or hard water.

Phragmipedium besseae
This orchid was discovered only in 1981-rather a marvel, considering its bright color. The dark green foliage clump sends up a bloom stalk that bears from one to six flowers that open in succession. The flowers measure a bit less than 2 1/2 inches wide and 2 inches high. All their segments, including the pouch, are bright red. Recent seedlings and hybrids have shown color variations tending toward orange and yellow.
Phragmipedium caudatum
Leaves of this spectacular orchid are 2 to 3 feet long. The yard-tall flower stem displays two to four flowers open at one time on individual 6-inch stalks. The dorsal sepal is cream colored, with a netting of maroon to brown or green veins. The long, twisting petals open as much as 6 inches in length and elongate over several days to a possible 36 inches. Petal growth stops if the tips encounter a solid surface, so the plant should be grown in a hanging basket or supported on a pedestal. The petals are initially colored like the dorsal sepal, but toward the tips the color becomes deep rose or purplish red.
Phragmipedium klotzscheanum
These clashing consonants belong to a slipper orchid with narrow, sedge-like leaves 12 to 15 inches long. The flowering stem is 2 feet tall and produces as many as six flowers in succession. The dorsal sepal is 2 inches tall and pale greenish brown striped with maroon. The drooping 4-inch petals display the same color. The pouch is yellow, with a white interior and a speckling of purple.
Phragmipedium lindleyanum
The leaves are deep green and 1 1/2 to 2 feet long. The flower spike can be up to a yard tall and bear (one or two at a time) as many as 30 greens and rose flowers with yellow or green lips. The overall flower size is somewhat under 3 inches.
Phragmipedium pearcei
The leaves are deep green and 10 to 18 inches long. The two to four 5- inch flowers are green and white with a suffusion of pink. The lip is just over 1 inch long and is green, often with purple dots at the mouth.
Phragmipedium sargentianum
The green leaves are yellow edged and up to 1 1/2 feet in length. The tall (possibly 4 feet or more) flower stem carries as many as five flowers, which open in succession and resemble those of P. lindleyanum.
Phragmipedium schlimii
The bright green leaves are up to 1 foot long. The branched 1-foot flower stalk produces from two to six flowers. Petals and sepals are broadly rounded and the lip is broad and puffy. The flowers are pink or white, or a combination of the two, and are 2 inches across.

Lotus {Nelumbo nucifera}


  • Bean of India
  • Indian Lotus
  • Lotus
  • Sacred Lotus
  • Sacred Water Lotus

The aquatic plant family Nelumbonaceae comprises two species and one of them is Nelumbo nucifera. Currently, the recognized name of this species is Linnaean binomial Nelumbo nucifera, which is classified under its several earlier names, including Nymphaea nelumbo and Nelumbium speciosum. This is a perennially growing aquatic plant. When the conditions are favorable, the seeds of this plant continue to be viable for numerous years. It is amazing to note that the oldest seeds of lotus that germinated successfully are those that were 1,300 years old and picked up from the dry bed of a lake located in the north-eastern part of China.

There are several instances where the lotus has wrongly been referred to as the water lily (belonging to plant family Nymphaea), a completely dissimilar plant that is evident from the flower’s center that does not have the structure that later on develops into a characteristic rounded seed pod in the case of Nelumbo nucifera (water lotus).

The roots of the lotus plant are firmly set in the mud or wet dirt and it gives out elongated stems. The leaves of the plant are attached to these long stems. While the lotus flowers are at all times found above the surface of the water, sometimes even the leaves can be seen floating on the water. The flowers are large, gorgeous and aromatic and they open in the morning. By the afternoon, the petals begin to fall.

As mentioned earlier, the lotus roots remain planted in the mud under the ponds or the river bed. The leaves are found floating on the surface of the water along with the flowers. Generally, the flowers grow on thick stems that raise a number of centimeters higher than the leaves. Normally, the lotus plant grows up to a height of roughly 150 cm and extends up to a maximum area of 3 meters horizontally. However, a number of reports, which have not been verified, state that the plant grows up to a height of more than 5 meters. The leaves of the lotus plant are circular in shape and very large, often growing up to 60 cm (two feet) in diameter. The attractive flowers usually measure 20 cm across.

The fruits of the lotus plants are cone-shaped pods and they enclosed seeds inside the holes found in these pods. It is worth mentioning here that the term ‘Nucifera’ denotes ‘having hard fruit’. When the lotus seeds become mature they become loose inside the pods. Subsequently, the pod tips downwards to the water and releases the seeds on the water surface.


Flowers, leaves, roots, seed, stem.


Ritan Park
Ritan Park

The water lotus is considered to be a sacred plant in the Orient and, for more than 1,500 years, it has been used in the form of a therapeutic herb. This aquatic plant is extremely versatile and all its parts are used for various purposes. The plant is astringent, febrifuge, cardiotonic, stomachic, resolvent, tonic, styptic and also a vasodilator. The juice extracted from the water lotus plant is used for treating diarrhea. In addition, a decoction of the leaf juice with licorice (Glycyrrhiza spp.) is used for treating sunstroke. In addition, a decoction prepared from the lotus flowers is employed to treat premature ejaculation (PE).

Herbal medicine practitioners often recommend the use of lotus flowers in the form of a cardiac tonic. The floral receptacle too is used to prepare a decoction, which is used for treating bloody discharges, abdominal cramps, and other conditions. The stalks of the flowers possess hemostatic (a medicine that stops bleeding) attributes and are generally used to treat conditions like excessive menstruation, bleeding gastric ulcers and post-partum hemorrhage. The stamens of the lotus are used to treat frequent urination, epistasis, premature ejaculation, uterine bleeding, and hemolysis. The fruits are used to prepare a decoction, which is employed to treat fever, agitation, problems related to the heart and other conditions.

The lotus seeds enclose several therapeutically active elements, which include alkaloids as well as flavonoids. The seeds are sedative, hypotensive as well as a vasodilator. It has been found that the lotus seeds help to lower the levels of blood cholesterol as well as unwind the smooth muscles present in the uterus. The seeds are used to treat enteritis, poor digest, diarrhea, insomnia, spermatorrhoea, palpitations, leucorrhoea and other health conditions. The radicle and plume of the lotus plant are used for treating intense thirst that accompanies diseases with high fever, restiveness, and hypertension. The root possesses tonic properties and the root starch of this aquatic plant is used to treat dysentery, diarrhea, and other conditions. It is used to prepare a paste with water and applied directly to ringworm as well as different skin problems. In addition, the root starch is also used internally for treating hemorrhages, nosebleeds, and excessive menstrual flow.

The roots of the lotus plant are harvested either during the autumn or in winter and dried out for use when necessary. The nodes of the roots are used for treating hemoptysis, nosebleeds, the uterus’ functional bleeding and hematuria. In folk history, the plant also has a reputation for having the aptitude to treat cancer. In recent times, scientists have successfully isolated specific compounds from the lotus plant that reveal its anti-cancer actions.


Believe it or not, the water lotus is the most famous and admired flowers throughout the world. Since time immemorial, the lotus flower has been raved about in religion, folklore as well as the arts either in one way or the other. In addition to the flower’s magnificent exquisiteness, the lotus is considered to be sacred owing to its ability to produce spiritual effects. The mature seeds of this aquatic plant have a healthy influence on people suffering from menorrhea, Neurasthenia (nervous exhaustion) and spermatorrhea. A decoction prepared with the plant’s leaves as well as the seed cores is helpful in treating hemorrhage and insomnia. In addition, several parts of the plant, including the tender leaves, flowers, seeds and rhizomes are safe for human consumption. The rhizomes form the basis of a lotus meal that contains elevated levels of starch. Often, the rhizome was smoked or used to prepare a tea that people believed would bring about a joyful feeling that seeped into the body as well as the mind. The big, circular leaves of lotus, which often measure two feet across, are used for wrapping food. The stamens, which are the male organs of any flower, may be dried out and later used to prepare an aromatic herbal tea in the same manner as we prepared tea with the dried leaves of different herbs.

The seeds, which are often referred to as nuts, are also used in a variety of ways. They can be consumed fresh or dried out and popped as popcorn – the little kernels of the corn explode when heated. Alternatively, you may also boil the seeds till they become soft and make a paste with them. In fact, this paste is generally combined with sugar and is used as a familiar ingredient in pastries like daifuku, moon-cakes, pudding, flour (the finely powdered food that is obtained by pulverizing and sieving any cereal grain), and rice (the grains that are utilized in the form of food, both polished as well as unpolished). The leaves, as well as the rhizomes of the lotus plants, are also used in combination with different herbs for treating several health conditions like fever, sunstroke, dysentery, diarrhea, blood vomiting and light-headed. The entire lotus plant is also used in the form of a remedy for mushroom poisoning.


The seeds of the lotus plant can be consumed in various ways – fresh and uncooked or ripened and cooked. The seeds form a well-liked ingredient in desserts, such as ‘cheng thing’, which are prepared locally. The rhizome of the plant is also edible. The rhizomes are elongated and have the shape of sausages with their central portion being hollow. In fact, they are connected in the same manner as sausages using a string and boiled in soups, used to make pickles or even candied for use as desserts. Even the petioles, as well as the tender roots of this aquatic plant, are consumed. This plant bears large circular leaves which are often used to wrap different foods, especially a preparation called lotus rice. It is worth mentioning here that people in China have been cultivating this plant since ages – probably from the 12th century B.C.

Precisely speaking, almost all the parts of the lotus plant, including its rhizomes (roots), flowers, tender leaves as well as the seeds are edible. People in Asia occasionally use the petals for garnishing purpose, whereas the large spherical leaves are used to wrap foods like zongzi. Although usually the leaves are not consumed, the tender leaves, petals, and rhizome may be eaten uncooked. However, consuming them raw may often result in transmission of parasites like Fasciolopsis buski. Hence, it is advisable that one should essentially cook these before consuming.

The rootlets of the lotus plant are regularly used to make pickles along with rice, sugar, vinegar, garlic and/ or chili. The texture of this preparation is crunchy and it tastes sweet-tangy. The rootlets are also popular in various Asian cuisines and well-liked with prawns, salads, coriander leaves and/ or sesame oil.

Even the stamens of the lotus flower can be dried out and use to prepare an aromatic herbal tea, which the Chinese call liánhuā cha. In Vietnam, people often use the dried lotus stamens to add essence and aroma to tea leaves. The lotus tea prepared by people in Vietnam is known as chè ướp sen, chè sen, or trà sen. The seeds or nuts of the lotus plant can also be used for several purposes. They can be consumed raw and also popped as popcorn – the popcorn from lotus seeds is called Phool makhana. In addition, you can also boil the seeds/ nuts till they become soft and make a paste or boil them with dried out longans plus rock sugar to prepare a sweet soup called tong Sui.

People residing in the southern part of India slice the lotus stem, marinate it using salt and allow them to dry. Later, they fry these dried lotus stem slices and use them in the form of a side dish. People in south Indian states Tamil Nadu and Kerala called the fried lotus stem slices ‘Thamara Vishal’.

In Vietnam, people use the bitter flavored lotus seed germs to prepare a tisane called trà time sen.

It is interesting to note that only people residing in the Inle lake area in the Union of Myanmar use the fibers of the lotus plant to make an exceptional fabric, which is used to weave unique dressing robes for the images of Buddha. These robes are known as lotus robe or kya thing an.


The seeds of lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) are also used for craft purposes. Typically, the dried out seed heads of lotus have an appearance similar to that of the watering cans sprouts. They are sold across the globe for the purpose of decorating and also used in dried flower arrangements.


Lotus flowerThis aquatic plant is indigenous to the regions of Asia as well as Queensland in Australia. Generally, the lotus is grown in water gardens. Significantly, the lotus is also the national flower of two Asian countries – India and Vietnam.

Commercial cultivation of lotus requires a very fertile loamy soil. The plant grows well when cultivated in 2.5-meter deep water. However, if you are cultivating the plant in places having cooler climatic conditions, it is necessary to grow it in less deep water, but never less than 30 cm in depth. Growing the plant in shallower water will help to warm up the plants more rapidly and, at the same time, promote superior growth as well as flowering. The lotus plant thrives best in water having temperature levels ranging from 23°C to 27°C during its growing season, which extends for five months. These plants do not like any disturbance to their roots and need to be transplanted directly into the stable positions at the earliest.

When the plants are well established, they may often turn out to be invasive, especially when they are being cultivated in appropriate conditions. The lotus is an extremely ornamental plant and a number of its named varieties has been developed for edible purposes. Commonly, the variety producing pink flowers is preferred as its seeds are best for consumption. On the other hand, the roots of the varieties producing white flowers are said to be best for consumption. The aroma of lotus flowers is sweet and fruit-like. In India, the lotus is considered to be a sacred plant and the flowers are used in various religious ceremonies. In the Orient, the lotus is often cultivated for its edible properties.

The lotus plant is mostly propagated by its seeds, which need to be filed across their center, being extremely careful so that you do not cause any harm to the seeds’ flesh. Prior to sowing, the seeds need to be soaked in tepid water and it is essential to change the water two times every day till they show indications of germination. Usually, the seeds start germinating within three to four weeks of soaking in warm water, provided they are maintained at 25°C. The new seedlings should be planted in separate containers, initially in very shallow water, but the level of water should be increased depending on the growth of the plant.

The lotus plant can also be propagated by root division, which should be ideally undertaken during the spring when the growing season of the plants begins. It is advisable that you need to be extremely careful while propagating the lotus plants through this method, as these plants extremely loathe any kind of disturbance to their roots.


Chemical analysis of the lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) rhizome has revealed that it encloses several alkaloids. The leaves of this aquatic plant also enclose alkaloids luciferin, nerenyuferin, and romerin. The dried out seeds of the lotus plant enclose 66.6 percent carbohydrate, 17.2 percent protein, and 2.4 percent fats. In addition, the herb also contains calcium, sugar, iron, and phosphorus. The stem of this herb lies underground and contains 83.8 percent moisture, 9.25 percent starch, 2.7 percent protein, 0.41 percent sucrose and 0.11 per cent fats. Besides these, it also contains a number of vitamins – vitamins Band C.

It has been found that the roots of the lotus plant contain elevated amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B6, riboflavin, thiamin, dietary fiber, copper, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese. They also contain little amounts of saturated fats.


When consumed in standard doses, this herb does not have any toxic effect. However, like any other herb, consuming it in excess may result in health problems.

Jasmine {Jasminum spp.}


  • Catalonian Jasmine
  • Common Jasmine
  • Common White Jasmine
  • Italian Jasmine
  • Jasmin
  • Jasmine Flos
  • Jessamine
  • Mo Li Hua
  • Pikake
  • Poet’s Jasmine
  • Royal Jasmine
  • Spanish Jasmine
  • Yasmin

Jasmine belongs to the olive family, also known as Oleaceae. This shrub and vine genus comprises about 200 species that are indigenous to the warm temperate and tropical regions of Asia, Europe, and Africa. Plants belonging to this genus are cultivated extensively for the typical aroma of their flowers.

Jasmines may be evergreen (having green leaves throughout the year) or deciduous (shedding their leaves in autumn). In addition, plants belonging to this genus may be of various types – erect, climbing shrubs, spreading or even vines. The leaves of these plants appear alternately or opposite to one another on the stem. In addition, the leaves of jasmine may be simple, pinnate or trifoliate. Usually, the flowers of jasmine measure about 2.5 cm (0.98 inches) across and their color may either be white or yellow. Although rare, in some cases jasmine flowers may even be somewhat reddish. The flowers appear in clusters and each cluster contains no less than three blooms. However, in many instances, solitary flowers can also appear at the terminal of the small branches.

Each jasmine flower comprises anything between four and nine petals, one to four ovules and generally two locules. Every flower contains two stamens having very small filaments. The bracts of the flowers are either ovate or linear while the shape of the calyx is akin to that of a bell. Generally, the calyx is extremely aromatic. Jasmine bears berry-like fruits whose color changes to black when they mature.


Oil, flowers.


Jasmine AbsoluteJasmine flowers and the essential oil obtained from them have numerous uses. While they are frequently used in perfumes and to flavor foods, a tea prepared from the flowers is taken internally for therapeutic purposes.

Traditionally, people have used jasmine flowers in aromatherapy to treat various conditions, including, depression, tension, anxiety, and coughs as well as for relaxation. Initial findings of scientific studies have revealed that jasmine flowers may also be effective in enhancing alertness and improving memory.

In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian herbal medicine system, jasmine has been traditionally used to lessen breast milk secretion. Moreover, initial studies on humans have shown that applying the juice or oil of jasmine flowers to breasts helps to lessen breast engorgement as well as milk secretion. However, further and more in-depth studies are necessary to corroborate these early findings.

In aromatherapy, jasmine flowers are frequently and extensively used to induce relaxation. Nevertheless, the initial evidence related to jasmine’s effectiveness in enhancing attentiveness is assorted.

Findings of initial studies on humans have hinted that consuming a tea prepared from jasmine flowers may not have the desired effects in certain forms of cancer. However, findings of other studies have shown that people who consumed jasmine tea, oolong tea or green tea have found them to be beneficial, especially in diminishing the chances of developing cancer. Further studies are necessary in this regard too.

In addition, aromatherapy has also used jasmine for massage. Findings of studies have shown that it may also be used to alleviate the symptoms related to menopause and regulate blood pressure. However, further studies are necessary for this field too, before arriving at any conclusion.

Findings of initial studies have shown that consuming jasmine tea may help to diminish the chances of having a stroke. Nevertheless, it has been found that the effect of jasmine tea is less compared to green or black tea. This is an indication that the benefits related to diminished stroke risk may not be associated to jasmine.

The aroma of jasmine is also said to possess tranquilizing attributes.


jasmine-teaIn China, people often consume jasmine tea, known as the jasmine flower tea there. People also make use of the flowers of Jasminum sambac, usually prepared with a base of white tea or green tea. However, sometimes it also has an oolong tea base. The tea and jasmine flowers are mated in machines, which can regulate the temperature as well as humidity. On average, it takes about four hours for the tea to take up the flavor and fragrance of the jasmine flowers. In order to obtain the best quality teas, it may be necessary to repeat the process several times – maximum seven times. It is also necessary to ‘refire’ or process the tea in order to prevent it from decomposing. Once the process is complete, you may or may not get rid of the used up flowers from the end product, as they have become completely dehydrated and fragrance-less by then. The tea is denser compared to the flower petals and you require giant fans to blow away the petals if you wish to remove them from the final product.


Jasmines are indigenous to places having tropical as well as temperate climatic conditions and have their origin in Asia, Australasia, and Africa. As of now, 200 different species of this genus have been identified. Some jasmine species are also found in South and Southeast Asia.

Despite the fact that this genus is not indigenous to Europe, several species of jasmines have been naturalized in the continent, especially in the Mediterranean region. For instance, the species called Catalonian jasmine or Spanish jasmine (botanical name Jasminum grand forum) was originally brought from Iran and some regions in the west of South Asia. However, now this species has become naturalized in the Iberian Peninsula.

how-to-grow-jasmine-Jasminum-officinale-280939337-1280It is also possible to grow jasmines in containers. Jasmines grew in full sunlight bloom abundantly and produce the best flowers. However, plants belonging to this species also have the aptitude to endure partial shade for some hours every day. It is advisable that you should move the jasmine plants growing in pots when the temperature soars on hot summer days. Doing this will save the plants’ leaves as well as flower buds from the scorching heat. When you are growing jasmines indoors, you should ensure that the pots are positioned in a sun-lit place or in the south or west facing part of your room beside a window. They grow best when placed in such positions.

Jasmines have the ability to grow in all soils, provided they are well drained. These plants cannot endure soil that is constantly damp or soggy. When grown in such soils, the plants can develop fungal diseases resulting to root decay. However, jasmines have a preference for watering at regular intervals during the flowering season. When the flowering season is over, the plants can be rested.


Therapeutic formulations prepared from jasmine flowers do not have any specific standard dosage. Hence, the dosage mentioned below will not be applicable for all jasmine products. Therefore, before commencing therapy with these products, it is essential that you go through the product labels thoroughly and also consult a qualified healthcare professional to ascertain the appropriate dosage.

Adults (18 years and above)

Jasmine is usually taken orally in the form of a tea along with the plant’s flowers. These are boiled or immersed in water or used to prepare a tincture. On the other hand, jasmine essential oils can be blended with shea butter for external application on the skin. In addition, the essential oils obtained from jasmine are also used in aromatherapy.

In order to enhance your alertness or attentiveness, mix one ml of 20% jasmine oil solution in sweet almond oil and apply the blend to the stomach for about five minutes. Subsequently, cover the area with a plastic film. For reducing breast milk secretion, apply 50 cm of stringed jasmine flowers to both the breasts every day for five consecutive days.

People have been wearing a surgical face mask preparation using jasmine to improve alertness. There are a number of such surgical masks. You may either use masks layered with jasmine absolute ether in measures of 100 microliters; wear surgical masks swathed with jasmine absolute ether in measures of anything between 20 microliters and 50 microliters for about 30 minutes; or surgical facial masks packed with the aroma of jasmine.

Similarly, you should use a jasmine-scented incense stick to fill your room with its aroma and inhale the scent to enhance memory.

Children (below 18 years old)

For treating children, there is no jasmine dosage that has been verified to be safe as well as effective.


jasmine growingIn case you are suffering from any health problem or are using any drug, herbal product or supplement, it is necessary that you consult a qualified healthcare professional prior to beginning any new therapy. Moreover, you should also check with a healthcare professional right away if you experience any adverse effect after using jasmine products.

It is advisable that people who are sensitive to jasmine or have allergic reactions when they use this herb, experience side effects from using any plant belonging to the Oleaceae family; are allergic or sensitive to the fragrance of jasmine flowers or any other fragrance, for instance lemongrass, ylang-ylang, sandalwood and narcissus, should always keep away from using them. There have been instances of people exposed to jasmine flowers or the essential oils obtained from it suffering from side effects like itchy rashes and skin allergies on the scalp as well as the hands.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the use of jasmine for therapeutic purposes is safe, especially when it is used in amounts approved for foods. Even the use of jasmine essential oils is considered to be safe, provided it is diluted appropriately using any suitable carrier oil and applied directly to the skin.

However, it is important to exercise utmost caution while using jasmine products, especially when using by pregnant women. It should also be used in small quantities, as there is not data available regarding the safe use of this herb. Even nursing mothers should use this herb very cautiously, because when jasmine flowers are applied to the breasts, they work to diminish breast milk production.

Use of jasmine flowers may also have an effect on the blood pressure. Therefore, it is advisable that people suffering from blood pressure related problems or those taking drugs, herbal preparations, and/ or supplements which have an effect on the blood pressure should use jasmine with extreme caution.

Moreover, people whose heartbeat is irregular or who are suffering from health conditions that bring down the heart rate should also exercise caution while using jasmine or products containing this herb. You should know that jasmine possesses the aptitude to bring about changes in the width of the blood vessels as well as the heart rate.

People taking diuretics (medicines that increase urine flow) should also be careful while using jasmine, as this herb may also have similar actions.

As jasmine has a sedative action, its use may result in drowsiness or stupor, hence, it is advisable that you should not undertake any task that requires alertness, such as driving a vehicle or operating any machine. Also do not use any other sedative or tranquilizer when you are using jasmine.

Never use any essential oils, including jasmine essential oil, orally. It has been found that they may be poisonous when taken internally.


GENUS: Dianthus
D. plumarius ‘Spring Beauty’-mixture of double flowers; colors range from pink to rose, salmon, and white with interesting markings. D.p. ‘Essex Witch’-dwarf variety; only 5 inches tall; rose-pink; easy to grow. D.p. ‘Aqua’-white, double flowers on stalks 10 to 12 inches tall. D. caryophyllaceae-garden or florist carnation; 18 to 24 inches.
FAMILY:  Caryophyllaceae
BLOOMS: summer
TYPE: perennial
DESCRIPTION:  Members of the genus Dianthus include both the florist’s carnation and the garden pinks. They are lovely, clove-scented flowers worthy of the attention they have received. Colors generally range in the pink and red tones, though there are white varieties, as well as a yellow species, D. knapii, native to Yugoslavia.
CULTIVATION:  Pinks grow best in very well-drained, slightly alkaline soil. Optimum conditions include full sun but relatively cool weather. Keeping the faded flowers picked will lengthen the blooming period, and removing lateral buds promotes a larger and stronger center flower.
pinks flower
The sweet, spicy scent of pinks, combined with their lovely blossoms, has made these flowers favorites of kings and noblemen, as well as common folks, for many centuries. Pinks were thought to be the favorite flower of William the Conqueror, Edward III, Charles II, and George V.
All members of the genus Dianthus are called “pinks,” including the species D. caryophyllus, the florist’s carnation. The name pink is from the word pinct, which means “pinked” or “scalloped,’  referring to the jagged edges of the petals. To pink something is to cut a jagged edge, as you would do with pinking shears.
The earliest mention of carnations was in connection with the Crusaders, who were stricken with the plague near Tunis in the thirteenth century. They drank wine mixed with leaves of the pinks to help control the raging fevers. They took the flowers back to France, where they were called tunica.
Designs of carnations are found on tiles dating back to the fifteenth century, and it is thought that the Turks have been cultivating these flowers since the 1450s. Pinks became a symbol of the high point of civilization during Roman times. It was called the flower of flowers in ancient Greece, and the genus name means “divine flower” because of its fragrance and beauty. It was called flos Jovis, or “Jove’s flower,” in Rome.
Because the original flowers were flesh colored, they were called carnations, from the Latin word carnatio, meaning “flesh.” A Christian legend tells us that when Mary saw Jesus carrying the cross, she began to cry, and where her tears fell, carnations began to grow. Perhaps because of this legend, the pink carnation became a symbol of a mother’s love and in 1907 was chosen as the emblem for Mother’s Day.
An Italian legend tells of a young woman, Margherita, who fell in love with a knight, Orlando. Orlando was called to war and carried with him a white carnation that Margherita had given him. When Orlando was mortally wounded, his blood stained the center of the flower. The flower was returned to the heartbroken Margherita, who planted the seeds. Every flower that came from these seeds was white with crimson centers. Margherita never married, and it became customary in her family to bring a vase of carnations to each baby girl born into the family.
During the Renaissance, pinks were associated with happiness and carefree days, and because of this, they were used to “combat melancholy and cheer the heart,” according to an ancient herbal.
Dianthus-Flavora-Rose-Shades-Oasis-Horticulture-Pty-LtdCarnations were at one time called gillyflowers, perhaps a corruption of the Italian word meaning “clove,” for the spicy, clove-like scent.
John Gerard, in his sixteenth-century herbal, wrote that a conserve made from the flowers of pinks and sugar was good to “comfort the heart” and was useful in expelling poison and fevers. By the early seventeenth century, fifty varieties could be found growing in England.
For over 400 years, well into the eighteenth century, carnations were used to flavor beer. ale, and wine. Tavern keepers would sometimes grow this plant in their own gardens and called it sops-in-wine. In 1748 a recipe was published that recommended using carnations to dye the hair black.
In Korea, carnations were used to tell fortunes. A girl placed a cluster of three blossoms in her hair. If the top one died first, this signified that her last years would be difficult. If the middle one died first, the earlier years would be hard. If the bottom flower died first, superstition held that her entire life would be miserable.
In the Victorian language of flowers, yellow carnation means disdain and rejection, purple signifies antipathy and capriciousness, red means admiration, and white is pure and ardent love and a good-luck gift to a woman.
In addition to their beauty in the garden, carnations can also be used for their delicate flavor. The fresh petals can be chopped and added to sweet bread or muffin batter, or made into a syrups or conserves.
Denise Diamond, in her book Living with Flowers, offers the following recipe for carnation syrup:

1 cup plain yogurt
6 to 10 pink carnations {petals only}
1/4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend half the petals and yogurt in blender. Fold in remaining ingredients.
Serve over pancakes or warm gingerbread.

Color In the Garden

Many factors contribute to the beauty of a flower. Its form, texture, fragrance, and intricate detail all add to its loveliness. Ask anyone to describe a flower, however, and the first thing mentioned is likely to be the color of the blossoms. Not only does each flower have its own personality based on its history and usage, but different colors of the same flower will also connote different personalities. According to the Victorian language of flowers, white flowers tend to symbolize purity and innocence, while yellow flowers denote a negative feeling. The red rose symbolizes ardent love; the pink suggests a softer and more innocent emotion. Consider the emotions evoked by different colors when planning a flower garden. Bright colors should be placed toward the front of the border, allowing the softer and more subtle shades to recede into the background. Use colors such as reds, oranges, and bright yellows in areas where the activity will occur, near a children’s play yard, or by a swimming pool. Save softer colors for quiet areas-a bench along a woodland path, perhaps. Flower colors do more than contribute to a mood. In many instances, they set the mood. Nearly everyone has a favorite color, and the psychology of color preference has become quite a sophisticated science. certain traits and characteristics are common to most people who share a favorite color. though not everyone can successfully wear the colors he or she likes best, what better place to “show your true colors” than in the garden? The flower color you choose to surround yourself with might reveal much about your personality.

Red Suggests, Passion, Impulse, Enthusiasm

red flowersChoose a great deal of red for your gardens and you are probably an extrovert and impossible to ignore. You are enthusiastic and prone to impulsive moods and actions. Red is such a passionate color that it must be used carefully in the garden, perhaps as an accent or as a motif in a large area. Red blends well with white and yellow flowers or gray foliage plants. Without the benefit of other colored blossoms, red flowers look wonderful against a background of dark evergreens. Fences or walls in a red garden should be painted a stark white. Love red and you might choose some of the following plants for your garden: canna lily, chrysanthemum, clematis, dahlia, dianthus, flax, geum, gladiolus, hollyhock, larkspur {red}, Maltese cross, nasturtium, Oriental poppy, peony, petunia, phlox, potentilla, red-hot poker, rose, salvia, snapdragon, stock, tulip, yarrow, zinnia.

Blue’ Introspection, Sensitivity Favors Blue

blue-flowersGardeners seem to be always looking for blue garden flowers. Not only does blue look spectacular outdoors, but as cut flowers, shades of blue and violet add great beauty indoors.  Blue is most often chosen as a favorite color. A preference for blue indicates introspection, sensitivity, and conservatism. You tend to weigh your options carefully and are cautious about taking action. In the garden blue is easy to blend with other colors. It goes particularly well with yellow, white, or pale gray foliage. Alone, however, it will get lost against a backdrop of evergreens. Blue flowers to include the garden are ageratum, aster, balloon flower, bellflower, columbine, delphinium, flax {blue}, for-get-me-not, gentian, glory of the snow, grape hyacinth, hyacinth, iris, lupine, morning glory, petunia, phlox, primrose, sage {blue}, scilla, vinca, violet.

Yellow’ Imagination, Intellect, Ideals

yellow floursThose who love yellow will find that it contrasts well with red or blue. Many consider blue and yellow the most beautiful of all color combinations in the garden. If you love yellow, you have a great imagination and a tremendous drive for self-fulfillment. Yellow is often chosen by intellects and idealists. You make a good confidant and a true friend. Flowers in shades of yellow are abundant. Among the most popular are: allium, basket of gold,  calendula, canna lily, chrysanthemum, clematis, columbine, coreopsis, cosmos, dahlia, daisy, daylily, gaillardia, gazania, Gerber daisy, geum, gladiolus, globe flower, hyacinth, iris, marigold, narcissus, nasturtium, nicotiana, pansy, petunia, portulaca, potentilla, primrose, rose, Saint John’s wort, sedum, snapdragon, strawflower, sunflower, tulip, violet, wallflower, winter jasmine, yarrow, zinnia.

Pink’ Charm E~Warmth in Personality

rose wildMany consider pink the finest of all garden colors. Lacking the passion of red but warmer than the cool blues, pink seems to take the best characteristics of all other colors. A love of pink indicates wealth, a good position in society, and a character full of charm and warmth. Those who love pink are usually pampered, loved, and cared for. In the garden pink flowers can be successfully blended with pale blue or pale yellow flowers or plants with pale gray foliage. Architectural features such as fences or walls should be light gray or white. For the “pink of perfection” plant:  ageratum, anemone, aster, astilbe, baby’s breath, balloon flower, begonia, bleeding heart, candytuft, Christmas rose, chrysanthemum, clematis, cleome, colchicum, coral bells, cornflower, cosmos, dahlia, daylily, foxglove, geranium, gladiolus, hibiscus, hollyhock, impatiens, morning glory, peony, pink, poppy, purple coneflower, scilla, sedum, snapdragon, spiderwort, stock, sweet pea, tulip, vinca, yarrow, zinnia.

White for a Simple Life. Naivete’ E~Innocence

white flowersWhite is the great ameliorator in the garden. It often comes in two colors that would otherwise clash. White flowers are often best enjoyed in the evening, for their fragrance is usually strongest then, and they seem to illuminate the garden. It is difficult to go wrong with white in the garden. It blends well with red, blue, purple, pinks, and yellows. White flowers look most spectacular by themselves against a backdrop of dark evergreen. People seldom choose white as a favorite color. Those who do generally enjoy a simple life. A preference for white indicates naivete and innocence; alyssum, aster, astilbe,baby’s breath, balloon flower, begonia, bleeding heart, calla lily, candytuft, Christmas rose, chrysanthemum, clematis, cleome, cosmos, crocus, dahlia, daisy, four-o’clock, gazania, geranium, gladiolus, glory of the snow, grape hyacinth, hollyhock, hosta, hyacinth, impatiens, iris, jasmine, lily, lily of the valley, narcissus, pansy, peony, petunia, phlox, pink, poppy, primrose, rose, scilla, snapdragon, spiderwort, stock, tulip, vinca, wisteria, zinnia.

The Victorian Language of Flowers

The language of flowers was quite suited to Victorian England, for it allowed for communication between lovers without the knowledge of ever-present chaperons and parents. Messages that would be a social impossibility if spoken could be conveyed by sending certain types of flowers. How these flowers were sent was of great importance as well, for this was also part of the message. If the blossom was presented upright, it carried a positive thought. If the flower came upside down, it might mean quite the opposite. If the giver intended the message to refer to himself, he would incline the flower to the left. If the message referred to the recipient, it would be inclined toward the right. If flowers were used to answer a question and were handed over with the right hand it meant “yes’;  with the left hand, the answer was “no.” Other conditions of the plant were important as well. For example, if a boy sent a girl a rosebud with the leaves and thorns still on it, it meant ” I fear, but I hope.” If the rosebud was returned upside down, it meant, “you must neither fear nor hope.” If the rosebud was returned with the thorns removed, the message was “you have everything to hope for.” If the thorns were left but the leaves removed, the message was “you have everything to fear.” If the young lady kept the rosebud and placed it in her hair, it meant “caution.” If she placed it over her heart, the message was clearly “love.”
The Victorians took the language of flowers a bit further and actually began attributing personalities to various flowers, as Thomas Hood exemplified:
The cowslip is a country wench,
The violet is a nun;-
But I will woo the dainty rose
The queen of everyone.

language of flowersDuring the last part of the nineteenth century, several floral dictionaries were published. Among these were The Poetical Language of Flowers {1847}, The Language and Sentiments of Flowers {1857}, The Floral Telegraph {1874}, and Kate Greenway’s The Language of Flowers, first published in 1884 and republished in 1978. Because more than one dictionary existed, the possibility of error was great. One of these floral misinterpretations was famous by Louisa Anne Twamley in her poem “Carnations and Cavaliers.” The poem describes how a knight gave his lady a pink rose, meaning our love is perfect happiness. His lady either did not know about the language of flowers or did not care, for she sent back to him a carnation, which means refusal. The result was the tragedy: the lovers died for each other’s love. It was during the Victorian period that tussie-mussies became popular. A  tussie-mussie is a small bouquet of fresh or dried flowers, usually surrounded by lacy doilies and satin ribbons. Tussie-mussies were popular, in part, for the very practical purpose of warding off bad smells and disease. Some of the most useful flowers for this purpose included lavender, rosemary, and thyme. Tussie-mussies made marvelous gifts then, and they still do. They are easy to make, and, accompanied by a card explaining the meanings of the flowers used, make a uniquely personal present. tussiemussiesimageTussie-mussies can be made from either fresh or dried flowers. Choose a relatively large, perfect blossom for the center flower. A perfectly formed rose blossom is wonderful for this. Surround this with smaller blossoms and ferns and put the stems through a doily or starched lace. If using fresh flowers, wrap the stems with damp paper towels and then cover them with plastic wrap or foil held in place with florist tape. If using dried flowers, simply wrap the stems with florist tape. Fresh flowers that are good to use in  tussie-mussies include rose, baby’s breath, cornflower, phlox, aster, and carnation. Suitable dried flowers include strawflower, statice, honesty, ageratum, and sedum.

flower_ephemera_language_3Flowers and Their Meaning

  • alyssum, sweet: worth beyond beauty
  • amaranth, globe: immortality, unfading love
  • amaryllis: pride
  • anemone, garden: forsaken
  • aster: elegance and daintiness, the talisman of love
  • bachelor’s button: celibacy
  • begonia: beware! I am fanciful
  • bellflower {white}: gratitude
  • bluebell: constancy, delicacy, and humility
  • carnation {pink}: the floral emblem of Mother’s Day
  • carnation {purple}: antipathy and capriciousness
  • carnation {red}: admiration
  • carnation {striped}: refusal
  • carnation {white}: pure and ardent love, the good-luck gift to woman
  • carnation {yellow}: disdain
  • Christmas rose: relieve my anxiety
  • chrysanthemum {red}: I love
  • chrysanthemum {white}: truth
  • chrysanthemum {yellow}: slighted love
  • clematis: mental beauty, ingenuity
  • cockscomb: affectation
  • columbine {purple}: resolved to win
  • columbine {red}: anxious and trembling
  • columbine: cuckoldry and deserted lover, a bad-luck gift to men
  • coreopsis: always cheerful
  • crocus: abuse not
  • crocus {spring}: youthful gladness
  • crocus, saffron: mirth
  • cyclamen: diffidence, a bad-luck gift to woman
  • daffodil: regard
  • dahlia: instability
  • daisy: innocence, gentleness
  • daisy, garden: I share your sentiments
  • day lily: coquetry
  • fern: fascination
  • fern, maiden hair: discretion
  • flax: domestic industry
  • forget-me-not: true love, forget me not
  • foxglove: insincerity
  • fritillary, crown: majesty, power
  • fuschia: taste, amiability
  • geranium: folly and stupidity
  • geranium, scarlet: comforting
  • geranium, wild: piety
  • gladiolus: you pierce my heart
  • heliotrope: devotion
  • hibiscus: delicate beauty
  • hollyhock: ambition
  • honesty: honesty
  • hyacinth: sport, game, play
  • impatiens: refusal and severed ties
  • iris: message, faith, wisdom, and valor
  • iris, German: flame
  • Jasmine {white}: amiability
  • jasmine {yellow}: timidity and modesty
  • larkspur: an open heart and ardent attachment
  • lily {orange}: hatred
  • lily {white}: sincerity and majesty
  • lily of the valley: purity and humility
  • marigold: disquietude and jealousy
  • morning glory: farewell and departure
  • narcissus: egotism and conceit
  • nasturtium: conquest and victory in battle
  • pansy: thoughtful recollection
  • peony: healing
  • petunia: anger and resentment
  • phlox: sweet dreams and proposal of love
  • poppy: eternal sleep and oblivion
  • primrose: early youth and young love
  • rose {pink}: our love is perfect happiness
  • rose {red}: love and desire
  • rose {white}: charm and innocence
  • rose {white and red}: unity
  • rose {yellow}: infidelity and jealousy
  • rosebud: beauty and youth
  • rose, withered: fading beauty, reproach
  • Saint John’s wort: suspicion and superstition
  • sedum: lover’s wreath
  • snapdragon: presumption and desperation
  • snowdrop: hope and consolation
  • sunflower: homage and devotion
  • sweet pea: departure and adieu
  • tiger lily: wealth and pride
  • tuberose: dangerous pleasures
  • tulip: a symbol of the perfect lover
  • verbena: may you get your wish
  • violet: modesty and simplicity
  • wallflower: friendship in adversity
  • yarrow: disputes and quarrels
  • zinnia: thoughts of absent friends

Botanical Names

The Victorian language of flowers is sometimes easier to understand than the botanical nomenclature that is assigned to every plant. This method of naming is based on the work done by Carolus Linnaeus {1707-1778}, who established three categories: genus, species, and varieties. Most of these names are from Latin though other languages are represented as well. Although the common names are undoubtedly more fun to use and perhaps easier to remember, the botanical names are indispensable for precise and efficient communication about plants. Many of the botanical names are based on quirks and characteristics of the plants, or on where {or by whom} they were first found growing. The following is a list of commonly used species names and their meanings.

  • africanus: of Africa
  • agrarius: of the fields
  • agustus: majestic or noble
  • albus: white
  • allianthus: with beautiful flowers
  • amoenus: pleasing
  • annuus: annual
  • aurantiacus: orange colored
  • aureus: golden
  • belladonna: beautiful lady
  • bellus: beautiful
  • biennis: biennial
  • biflorus: twinned flower
  • caeruleus: dark blue
  • campestris: of the fields
  • canadensis: of Canada
  • coccinea: scarlet
  • elegans: elegant
  • flava: yellow
  • fragilis: fragile
  • grandiflora: large flowered
  • japonica: of Japan
  • nobilis: of fine appearance
  • officinalis: used in the apothecary shop
  • patens: spreading
  • purpurea: purple
  • repens: creeping
  • splendens: showy
  • tinctoria: used by dyers

Names and Meanings of Flowers

botanical namingFloral communication is at least as old as the Golden Age of Greece. According to Greek and Roman myths, many gods, goddesses, and innocent nymphs were transformed into various flowers which, in turn, took on the characteristics of these personages. For example, narcissus is named for the Greek youth who spent his days looking at his own reflection, and now this plant is a symbol of egotism. Another example is of hyacinth, which, the myths tell us, grew out of the blood of Hyacinthus, a young man who loved sports and games. Hyacinth is now a symbol of sports, games, and play. The Greeks used flowers extensively in their ceremonies and in their day-to-day lives. Though they apparently conveyed messages by sending different flowers in a bouquet or garland, we can only guess which flowers had which meanings for them. Floral symbols seem to have been used by the early Chinese, Assyrians, Egyptians, and Indians. According to The Mystery and Magic of Trees and Flowers, by Lesley Gordon, the first mention of English floral symbols was during the reign of Elizabeth I {1533-1603.} William Hunnis, an English poet, wrote verses that included the phrases “gillyflowers are for gentleness,” and “marigolds is for marriage,” and “cowslips is for council.” It was the Turks in the late seventeenth century who truly developed the art of communicating with flowers. They could convey almost any sentiment using different flowers. Displeasure, love, compassion, forgiveness  friendship and countless other feelings could be sent by means of a bouquet of flowers. The language of flowers was introduced to England in the early 1700’s by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the English ambassador to Turkey. On March 16, 1718, Lady Montagu wrote to a friend in England telling her that the “fair maidens of the East have lent a mute speech to flowers.” Enthralled with this custom, Lady Montagu published her Turkish Letters in 1763, explaining the floral symbolism for many different kinds of flowers. The custom caught on and appealed to romantics throughout the country. In the early 1800’s the poet Thomas Hood wrote that “sweet flowers alone can say what passion fears to reveal.”