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Posted by peoplesflowers on November 2, 2015 | Last Updated: October 15, 2020 Flowers

Dahlia Flowers: History, Characteristics and Meaning

dahliaWhile the radiant and complex dahlia can be found in bright, bold flower arrangements throughout the world now, this wasn’t always the case. The dahlia has origins from 1500s Mexico and the Aztec Empire. During this period Mexico City was ruled by Spanish conquistadors who had conquered Montezuma and his army.

During this era, an Aztec student called Juanes Badianus composed a treatise on the flora, plants, and flowers indigenous to Mexico at that time. After the treatise was translated into Latin by Martinus de la Cruz, one of Badianus’ classmates, it became the first botanical document written about the New World’s plants. The dahlia was featured prominently within this document. While the dahlia once held religious connotations, it now indicates strong emotion and a spirit of “wildness”.

Dahlias Make Their Way to Europe

About 100 years later, the Spanish King Philip II commissioned another book on the plants of the New World. Full of detailed information and illustrations on various species of dahlias, the Rerum Medicarum made note of double layers of petals in some varieties that had been cultivated (dahlias originally were single-petaled.)

Dahlias were much more actively cultivated in Spain in the late 1700s. The 1800s brought interest for New World plants throughout Europe, including dahlias. By 1934, there were 14,000 cultivars of this beautiful, detailed bloom. From centerpieces to autumn-themed bouquets, the dahlia is sure to make a statement.

Symbolic Meaning of the Dahlia

At one time, the dahlia had religious connotations in Victorian Europe; however, today it indicates strong emotion and a spirit of “wildness.” If you know someone who is on the verge of a big change, a step forward, upcoming travel or a new chapter in life, the dahlia can be the perfect gift.

Mexico, the dahlia’s origin country, considers dahlia their national flower. This vibrant bloom can still be seen growing wild on many mountainsides. Dahlia is also widely enjoyed around the world in gardens, bouquets, centerpieces, and gift arrangements.

Combining dahlias with other blooms like roses or lilies creates a more tempered look and feel. The bright, showy dahlia is always a dramatic addition to a garden, bouquet, or centerpiece, bringing a touch of drama and wildness. With complex petals and colors, the dahlia resembles fireworks during a much-anticipated celebration. From larger varieties that can get up to one foot in diameter to small pompons, dahlias bring intense interest, bright colors, and appealing textures to every flower arrangement.

Whether alone or mixed with other blooms, dahlias are sure to delight. Contact Peoples Flowers for more dahlia flower gift ideas or to place an order.