There are several different stories about how dahlia’s got their name; one myth is that the flowers were given it by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, who named them after one of his student who’s last name was Dahl. However, Carl died before he was able to name the flower. Dahlia sounds the same as Swedish world dal, which means valley, and this is the reason why they are sometimes called valley flowers. Botanist Carl Ludwig Willdenow tried to change the name from dahlia to georgina, after the naturalist Johann Gottlieb Georgi. This attempt was unsuccessful but in some parts of Germany the flowers still go by that name.
The origins of dahlias date back to the Aztecs, and they were known as The War Flower or dahlia coccinea. According to the legend, the earth goddess serpent woman was ordered by the sky gods to impale a flower of Dahlia coccinea on the sharp point of a maguey leaf and to hold both to her heart all night. The next morning she gave birth to Uizilopochti, he was god, fully grown and armed, with a thirst for blood from the flowers’ eight blood-red petals, this is how the flowers got the name The War Flower. Today, Dahlias are the national flower of Mexico.
Dahlias became very popular during the Victorian times, as they worked perfectly within the flamboyant Victorian style of gardening and gardeners started using them extensively in English landscapes. In the Victorian language of flowers dahlia signify commitment to another person and eternal love; lovers would give their partners the flowers to show their deep appreciation and love. Dahlia Societies started forming all over England during the Victorian times, they would hold competitions for who could grow the biggest and best. Today, Dahlia’s are still admired for their stunning beauty, array of bold colours and the layer upon layer of delicate petals.
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