The dahlia flower – named after the 18th century botanist Anders Dahl – is from the genus asteraceae and has more than 30 species within its family. Dahlias are native mostly to Mexico, but actually grow best in cooler temperatures with regular moisture in the soil. These remarkable flowers can range in size, shape and color. The plants themselves can start out at a moderate 12 inches tall, while other variations may grow several feet in height. The flowers are quite the same, beginning at a very petite 1 inch around, all the way to, roughly, the size of a dinner plate. As for color, the dahlia flower has a vast array of hues that can range from bronze, to white, to purple. However, many dahlias may also be bi colored, variegated, or separated into classifications of light or dark blends – the light blend being multiple shades of faint pastels, the dark blend being more muted.
Over time, people have attempted to use dahlia flowers for a variety things. For instance, in 1929 a herbal script that was written in Latin, and was dated as far back as 1550 was discovered. This script recommended the usage of the dahlia flower for the easing of symptoms of epilepsy. In Europe in the 1880s, when disease had ravaged potato crops, an attempt was made to use the tubers of the dahlia as a supplemental food supply. However, as time passed, it was found that, although perfectly edible, these plants were better used for decorative purposes. Today, dahlias are prized solely for their beauty. This is best noted in one of the many competitions and shows that can be found mostly within the United States and Canada. These are often held by dahlia growing societies, which advocate and encourage avid gardeners to grow these spectacular blossoms.
As a symbol, the dahlia flower can offer a great deal of meaning. In general, they are thought to symbolize dignity and elegance, but they are also thought to express an eternal bond between two people. Many people prefer to give dahlia flowers as anniversary gifts, as these flowers are also an emblem for the 14th year of marriage. They also make great gifts for high-profile weddings and even engagement parties, as they not only represent dignity, but a wish that the couple remains strong throughout their years together.