Flowers and Their Roots

History of Flowers

In this article, we will be learning about the origins of flowers and their presence in human history. We’ll examine the records of human interaction with these exquisite blooms. These reach all the way back from the Paleolithic era to modern times.

The next section of this article talks about flowers as art subjects in ancient history. We also examine the impact they had as muses for artists of all kinds.

Last, we’ll look into a list of the most popular flowers and identify the stories behind their names!

Interested in a formal course? Want to get certified as an expert on all things floral? We encourage you to check out organizations that offer programs in floristry, such as:

  • American Institute of Floral Designers (www.aifd.org).
  • Society of American Florists (www.safnow.org).
  • American Floral Endowment (www.endowment.org).

 

Flowers through Human History.

How far back are flowers documented in human history? Have they always been diverse? How diverse? How did humans identify and make use of them in early history?

These are a few of the things people often ask about flowers. Here is a list of answers to some of the most relevant queries about flowers as recorded in history!

Have flowers always existed? Since when?

Yes, they have. Archaeologists have dug deep to figure out when flowers first emerged. Using modern technology over time, they found flower fossils. With these, they assessed that flowers have been around since the prehistoric period. Their earliest estimate is around the Paleolithic age, about 93 million years ago.

Were flowers always as diverse as they are now? Or did that develop over time with human intervention? Today, there are about 270,000 species of flowers! This number continues to grow with time and scientific developments. As for the evolution of their diversity, records only go back to about 150 years. History shows only 125,000 species already existed.

Are there flowers that have been here since ancient history? Plants like magnolias and herbs go back to 120 million years old. This time allowed them to evolve into their forms today.

Experts maintain that flowering plants have been around for around 146 million years. How did humans identify them? Did they make use of them in their daily lives and regimen?

There is no specified record of how humans identified flowers and plants. But there’s evidence on the part of flowers in the daily life of humans in early history!

For example, placing flowers on graves has been a custom long before modern times. Different forms of art have also used flowers both as main subjects and backdrop details. From music, literature, and sculpture, people have used flowers to express themselves. Now we see how blooms have always enlivened lives and made occasions more precious. We’ll discover more on flowers in art below, so keep reading!

 

Flowers as Art Subjects in Ancient History.

From Ancient Egypt to contemporary pop art, flowers have inspired masterpieces all through history. Notable works with flowers vary from clay pots to still-life paintings. Its portrayal has been vital in cultivating several art forms and mediums.

In fact, flowers as artists’ muse in history is a course in arts studies programs. This only affirms how important florals are in art!

Here, we’ll go over the impact that flowers have on various periods in art history. We’ll learn what makes them so alluring to artists and audiences alike.

The lotus flower is one of the most celebrated subjects in Ancient Egyptian art. This is due to its symbolic significance in their religious myths. It was often depicted in paintings, amulets, ceramics, and other art works. Evidence also points to the use of florals as jewelry for the royal court.

 

In medieval times, tapestries became sought-after as art works. This gave way to the use of flowers as backdrops for different types of scenery.

It later birthed the form of millefleur, or a “thousand flowers”. These tapestries had duplicating patterns of fantastic blooms stitched on it.

Artists from the Renaissance also used florals in their myth-inspired paintings. Other painters took flowers as a prime focus in their work. They produced still-life paintings of fresh blooms and elaborate bouquets.

The Impressionist and Fauvism movements also included the use of flowers in art. Flowers often served as the subject of an indoor scene with a person or two beside it. Fauvism accented this using vibrant colors. Other times, flowers were either the center of the artwork or the backdrop of the scene.

Today, flowers remain as a celebrated muse among artists through pop art and current 3D art. Pop art imagines simple common objects in a different light and color. 3D artists often use flowers to build a sculpture of another figure. They also pay tribute to art from the Renaissance and Ancient Egypt.

 

Flower Names and their Origins.

Have you ever wondered where roses and calla lilies got their names from? Look no further! Here is a quick list of popular flowers and the story behind their names.

Carnation.

Thought to come from the Greek word carnis (” flesh”), describing its original color. Also thought to come from corone (” flower garlands”). This is because they were first used in ceremonial crowns.

Dandelion.

First called “lion’s tooth” because of the petals’ likeness to a lion’s sharp teeth. The French translation “dent-de-lion” later morphed into the English dandelion.

Daffodil.

In Greek mythology, flowers called “asphedelos” carpeted Elysian fields. Adapting the first d in the name in the future, it translated to the modern daffodil.

Daisy.

Born from Old English poetics, daisies are an evolved variant of the phrase “day’s eye”.

Holly.

Called the “Holly Tree”. Later known as “holly.” Medieval monks felt it would defend them from evil and lightning.

Lily.

From Latin word lilium, from “lily of the valley”. This is because it was often seen in valleys.

Orchid.

From Greek word orchis, “testicle”. Greeks suspected if pregnant women ate these, their unborn child would become a boy.

Rose.

Stemming from the Spanish and Italian rosa. Used to name red flowers.