Floral Friday: Dahlia

Dahlia

Good morning from a humid Hastings day.

So it is Friday and time to showcase my florals.  Dahlias are always such a beautiful flower.  There are so many varieties and they always put on a show.  I love them. These photos were taken at Frimley Park  last Saturday.

Dahlia

So here is some information courtesy of Wikipedia about the national flower of Mexico.

Dahlia (UK /dliə/ or US /dɑːliə/)[4] is a genus of bushy, tuberous, herbaceous perennial plants native to Mexico. A member of theAsteraceae (or Compositae), dicotyledonous plants, related species include the sunflower, daisy, chrysanthemum, and zinnia. There are 42 species of dahlia, with hybrids commonly grown as garden plants. Flower forms are variable, with one head per stem; these can be as small as 2 in (5.1 cm) diameter or up to 1 ft (30 cm) (“dinner plate”). This great variety results from dahlias being octoploids—that is, they have eight sets of homologous chromosomes, whereas most plants have only two. In addition, dahlias also contain many transposons—genetic pieces that move from place to place upon an allele—which contributes to their manifesting such great diversity.

The stems are leafy, ranging in height from as low as 12 in (30 cm) to more than 6–8 ft (1.8–2.4 m). The majority of species do not produce scented flowers or cultivars. Like most plants that do not attract pollinating insects through scent, they are brightly colored, displaying most hues, with the exception of blue.

The dahlia was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963.[5] The tubers were grown as a food crop by the Aztecs, but this use largely died out after the Spanish Conquest. Attempts to introduce the tubers as a food crop in Europe were unsuccessful.[6]

Early history

Spaniards reported finding the plants growing in Mexico in 1525, but the earliest known description is by Francisco Hernández, physician to Philip II, who was ordered to visit Mexico in 1570 to study the “natural products of that country”. They were used as a source of food by the indigenous peoples, and were both gathered in the wild and cultivated. The Aztecs used them to treat epilepsy,[8] and employed the long hollow stem of the (Dahlia imperalis) for water pipes.[9] The indigenous peoples variously identified the plants as “Chichipatl” (Toltecs) and “Acocotle” or “Cocoxochitl” (Aztecs). From Hernandez’ perception of Aztec, to Spanish, through various other translations, the word is “water cane”, “water pipe”, “water pipe flower”, “hollow stem flower” and “cane flower”. All these refer to the hollowness of the plants’ stem.[10]

Hernandez described two varieties of dahlias (the pinwheel-like Dahlia pinnata and the huge Dahlia imperialis) as well as other medicinal plants of New Spain. Francisco Dominguez, a Hidalgo gentleman who accompanied Hernandez on part of his seven-year study, made a series of drawings to supplement the four volume report. Three of his drawings showed plants with flowers: two resembled the modern bedding dahlia, and one resembled the species Dahlia merki; all displayed a high degree of doubleness.[11] In 1578 the manuscript,entitled Nova Plantarum, Animalium et Mineralium Mexicanorum Historia, was sent back to the Escorial in Madrid;[12] they were not translated into Latin by Francisco Ximenes until 1615. In 1640, Francisco Cesi, President of the Academia Linei of Rome, bought the Ximenes translation, and after annotating it, published it in 1649-1651 in two volumes as Rerum Medicarum Novae Hispaniae Thesaurus Seu Nova Plantarium, Animalium et Mineraliuím Mexicanorum Historia. The original manuscripts were destroyed in a fire in the mid-1600s.[13]

European introduction

In 1787, the French botanist Nicolas-Joseph Thiéry de Menonville, sent to Mexico to steal the cochineal insect valued for its scarlet dye, reported the strangely beautiful flowers he had seen growing in a garden in Oaxaca.[14] In 1789, Vicente Cervantes, Director of the Botanical Garden at Mexico City, sent “plant parts” to Abbe Antonio José Cavanilles, Director of the Royal Gardens of Madrid.[15] Cavanilles flowered one plant that same year, then the second one a year later. In 1791 he called the new growths “Dahlia” forAnders Dahl.[2] The first plant was called Dahlia pinnata after its pinnate foliage; the second, Dahlia rosea for its rose-purple color. In 1796 Cavanilles flowered a third plant from the parts sent by Cervantes, which he named Dahlia coccinea for its scarlet color.

Dahlia

In 1798, Cavanilles sent D. Pinnata seeds to Parma, Italy. That year, the Marchioness of Bute, wife of The Earl of Bute, the English Ambassador to Spain, obtained a few seeds from Cavanilles and sent them to Kew Gardens, where they flowered but were lost after two to three years.[16]

Dahlia

In the following years Madrid sent seeds to Berlin and Dresden in Germany, and to Turin and Thiene in Italy. In 1802, Cavanilles sent tubers of “these three” (D. pinnata, D. rosea, D. coccinea) to Swiss botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle at University of Montpelier in France, Andre Thouin at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris and Scottish botanist William Aiton at Kew Gardens.[17]That same year, John Fraser, English nurseryman and later botanical collector to the Czar of Russia, brought D. coccinea seeds from Paris to the Apothecaries Gardens in England, where they flowered in his greenhouse a year later, providing Botanical Magazine with an illustration.

In 1804, a new species, Dahlia sambucifolia, was successfully grown at Holland House, Kensington. Whilst in Madrid in 1804, Lady Holland was given either dahlia seeds or tubers by Cavanilles.[18] She sent them back to England, to Lord Holland’s librarian Mr Buonaiuti at Holland House, who successfully raised the plants.[19][20] A year later, Buonaiuti produced two double flowers.[21] The plants raised in 1804 did not survive; new stock was brought from France in 1815.[16] In 1824, Lord Holland sent his wife a note containing the following verse:

“The dahlia you brought to our isle

Your praises for ever shall speak;
Mid gardens as sweet as your smile,

And in colour as bright as your cheek.”[22]

In 1805, German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt sent more seeds from Mexico to Aiton in England, Thouin in Paris, and Christoph Friedrich Otto, director of the Berlin Botanical Garden. More significantly, he sent seeds to botanist Carl Ludwig Willdenow in Germany. Willdenow now reclassified the rapidly growing number of species, changing the genus from Dahlia to Georgina; after naturalist Johann Gottlieb Georgi. He combined the Cavanilles species D. pinnata and D. rosea under the name of Georgina variabilis; D. coccinea was still held to be a separate species, which he renamed Georgina coccinea.

For more information here is the link to Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dahlia

FFF

Thanks for visiting.

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23 thoughts on “Floral Friday: Dahlia”

  1. Excellent shots of these beautiful flowers Raewyn! I love how you captured the little Jumping Spider on the first photo. Interesting info as well. Thanks for sharing. 😀 ♥

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  2. I believe that your beautiful little spider in that first photo is a Hypoblemum albovittatum, a jumping spider commonly called a house hopper. Here’s a link–check out the bottom photo of a female:
    http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/spiders/jumping-spider-hypoblemum-sp.html.
    When some of my blogging friends and I discover wee folk in photos we’ve made, not having noticed them when shooting, we call them bonus bugs (even if they’re not really bugs). She’s a beaut!

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    1. Thanks so much. The light was very strong when I was out taking these photos. I have noticed the sun has dropped quite a bit in the sky so that when I am taking photos around midday it is more of a hit and miss affair with the subject matter. In New Zealand our light is rather strong anyway.

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