Many cultural tales speak of plants’ power to enchant, charm, or work miracles. Plants are believed to have spirits and souls, acting as metaphors for human feeling and behavior, and possessing powers of transformation when consumed or employed in specific ways.
For example, the ancient Greeks believed that the consumption of thyme brought bravery and life energy, while borage gave courage.
Native Americans have traditionally believed that yucca made into a hoop or hat can render the wearer invisible. Burdock, sorrel, and chamomile are thought to attract money.
In Medieval Europe, leeks were worn as protective amulets; and when bitten, leeks broke hexes. The Roman emperor, Nero, believed that leeks improved his voice, so he ate them before giving oratories.
The orchid, bamboo, pine, plum and chrysanthemum are considered by some Asian cultures to be lucky and virtuous. The plum is like a superior human being, undaunted and unobtrusive. The bamboo is gentle, hardy, flexible, straight and humble.
Orange blossoms recall the past. Cherry blossoms offer happiness and hope. An Oak is strong and enduring, an orchid infrangible.
Since the 19th century in
In the language of roses, pink is simplicity and happy love; red is passion and desire; white is innocence and purity; yellow is jealousy and perfect achievement.
In my own garden, I have found that I rarely fall in love with plants for their flower color or masses of flowers. More often, it is the persona-- a striking profile, a delicate leaf, an arching or crooked stem, its texture or a bizarre flower-- that speaks the loudest to me.