These lively, festive flowers originated in Africa and are now
cultivated in a dazzling array of cheerful colors.
Pliny the Elder, a Roman scientist of the first century A.D. named
these stately flowers. Struck by the resemblance between the sheath of the
flower and the weapon that was carried by Roman soldiers, he called the
flower "gladiolus" from the Latin word "gladius" which means sword.
These striking trumpet-shaped flowers are one of the oldest known to man
and are thought to have originated in the Orient. Throughout the ages,
they have been popular motif in both secular and religious art.
These old-fashioned favorites with the whimsical name are native to
the Mediterranean. Their Latin name is Antirrhinum, meaning like a snout.
Other common names for these flowers are calves' snouts, lion's lips,
toad's mouth and rabbit's mouth.
The tulip, a symbol of life, love and immortality, actually dates back
to the time of Confucius. By the late 1600's in Holland, bulb prices often
exceeded the price of precious metals. A single bulb is said to have sold
for more that $2,000.