Dahlia is a genus of tuberous-rooted herbs in the family of Asteraceae, native to Central America and South America.
There are 42 species of this perennial plant and each of them come in different colors, sizes and shapes. Dahlia is considered as one of the most popular garden flowers because of its toothed, green leavesand attractive colorful flowers.
It is unclear where the name actually originated. Many believe that Dahlia was named for the Swedish botanist Anders Dahl.
Dahlia symbolizes elegance, dignity, confidence and beauty.
Interesting facts about Dahlia:
Dahlias in USA
In 1913, the city officials of Seattle declared the Dahlia to be its official flower. There is nowhere better to see them than the Volunteer Park Dahlia Garden where they are in full bloom during August.
Dahlia is also the official flower of San Francisco since 1926. The Dahlias at Golden Gate Park start to bloom in June and continue till September.
Dahlias in Mexico
Dahlia is the national flower of Mexico.
The Aztecs were very familiar with cultivating it. When Conquistadors conquered the Aztecs in the 16th century, they took various plants from the land back to Spain with them and one of the plants was the Tree Dahlia (Dahlia imperialis). They soon spread across Europe where they got their name. During the 19th century, the popularity of Dahlias raised and they became one of the most popular garden flowers in the world.
In 1963, President of Mexico, Adolfo López Mateos, decreed that the Dahlia should be the national flower of Mexico.
The Mystery of Blue Dahlia
Dahlias come in just about every color, except blue.
In the 19th century a London newspaper offered 1 pound to the breeder who would produce a blue Dahlia. Furthermore, the Caledonia Horticultural Society of Edinburgh offered a cash prize of 2000 pounds to whoever produced a blue Dahlia.
Up to today, all attempts to produce blue Dahlia have resulted only in several near blue cultivars, hence “blue dahlia” is used figuratively for something impossible or inaccessible.
Benefits and Uses
Dahlia has been used as amedicine since ancient times.
Prior to the discovery of insulin, in America and Europe in the 20th century diabetics were often given a substance called “Atlantic starch” or diabetic sugar, derived from inulin obtained from Dahlia tubers.
The Aztecs used the plant to treat epilepsy.
The plant is also used for dying.
Dahlias bloom in all colors, except blue.
The species vary in height, from the 40 cm (1 ft) right up to 2 metres (7 ft).
Dahlia performs best in rich, moist and well drained soil that is slightly acidic.