Dahlia: a National Flower

IMG_3659The Dahlia is a flower prized around the world for its ornamental beauty, but did you know that the Dahlia is a native plant of Mexico? There are at least 36 species of dahlia. Related species include the sunflower, daisy, chrysanthemum and zinnia.

In Mexico the plants were used for a food source by the indigenous people, and were both gathered in the wild and cultivated. The Mexicas (Aztecs) used them to treat epilepsy, and employed the long hollow stem of the Dahlia imperalis for water pipes.

The plant was introduced into Europe in 1789.  It was probably Abbe Antonio Jose Cavanilles, Director of the Royal Gardens of Madrid, who should be credited with the attempt to scientifically define this plant, since he not only received the first specimens from Mexico in 1789, but named the first three species that flowered from the cuttings.

The original name of the flower was Acocoxochitl in Nahuatl language (the language of the Mexicas or Aztecs), from a-tl (water), coconut-tli (tube) and Xochitl (Flower), although currently the name Dahlia is commonly used in most of the world except Russia and Ucraine where it is called georgina.

Today I read that the dahlia was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963. I didn’t know it, although I’m Mexican, so it’s a pleasant surprise to know that such a beautiful flower is our national flower.

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11 thoughts on “Dahlia: a National Flower

    • Yes, I know, Frizz. It’s depressing. I guess people outside Mexico, due to the persistence of this kind of news, thinks we live with bullets flying over our heads. Fortunately I don’t experience that in my daily life, although when I see the news, our Country’s reality makes me sad.
      You know, I went to the movies days ago, and I saw a trailer of a Mexican movie with lots of violence and awful atmospheres which led me to the reflection that also Mexican movies insist on give a depressing view of our Country, and of our people. After that trailer, I saw a trailer of another movie from another Country which fortunatelly lifted my spirit, I prefer to watch this kind of movies because I had enough with the news, and I know that in my Country live also people with good principles. Yes, I know it’s a reality that has to be change but I think we also have to see the bright side of our life, and let know other people that we have great and beautiful things over here.
      Kind greetings

      • I thought you usually live with bullets flying over your head – nice, that you can say NO! My first thoughts about Mexico were inspired by the Kingston Trio in the fifties:

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