When renowned poet William Wordsworth described the dancing daffodils in the English countryside and how they soothed his aching heart, the appeal of one of the most beautiful flowers and nature’s embellishments rose a notch higher.
Most of us cannot deny the fact that we live in concrete jungles these days and just the sight of some fresh flowers can help uplift our moods. Add to it their fragrance, which elicits a different positivity altogether.
Plant lovers often prefer keeping flowering plants along with dense greens to add a hint of colour to their gardens or balconies.
One of the best gifting options, an ornament during nuptials or a piece of decor — flowers serve all these purposes and are perfect for any mood. Their nectar that attracts bees, their swaying motion on a windy morning, their bright colour or their pleasant scent — no wonder they have always been the muse for most poets from different centuries.
Here are some of the most beautiful flowers in the world
Roses are one of the most beautiful flowers and are often called the ‘Queen of the garden.’ With over 2500 varieties available, these elegant flowers symbolise love, happiness, friendship and new beginnings. There’s a globally known ‘Rose Day’ preceding Valentine’s Day, when partners give this beautiful flower to express love and romance, to each other.
Sakura or Cherry Blossom
The very thought of Japan in spring conjures up beautiful images of cherry blossoms or ‘sakura’. The white and pink flowers signify hope, new beginnings, beauty, love and dominance. The cherry blossom tree holds immense significance in Japanese culture. They can grow at a height of over 22 metres. The pink flower denotes US-Japan friendship and is displayed in full glory at the National Cherry Blossom Festival held in Washington DC, between March and April.
Sunflowers are a gorgeous amalgamation of charm and utility. The bright yellow flowers, initially grown in central and south America, symbolise loyalty, longevity, happiness, mirth and joy. They are also a rich source of natural oil, vitamin E and other nutrients and are often roasted and eaten as snacks.
Lotus is the national flower of India and holds immense cultural and religious significance in Asia. The flower has many varieties besides the light pink shade. An embodiment of purity, new birth and devotion, it is also associated with purity of speech and mind. In Hinduism, the flower is symbolic of spiritual awakening. It has medicinal values and its seeds and stems are culinary delicacies too.
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, tulips are bulbous showy blooms with six distinct petals. While yellow tulips symbolise cheerfulness, white ones mean forgiveness and the red ones stand for true love. The myriad colours make excellent floral arrangements. Tulips are the 11th wedding anniversary flowers.
The national flower of Mexico, dahlia flowers are grown all over the world. Perfect symmetry and bright colours set them apart from other flowers. Representing strong bond, commitment, strength and balance, dahlias have over 30 species.
Orchids are exotic blooms with delicate flowers that are mostly used for decorative purposes. They are best as 14th wedding anniversary flowers and are grown all over the world with uncountable species and varieties. While pink orchids denote affection, cattily ones represent mature charm and a combination of white and pink ones stand for sympathy. The fact that vanilla is an orchid says a lot about the desirability of orchids.
Iris flowers bloom every spring and are identified by their blade-shaped petals, which seem as if sorrow has pierced through the heart. Associated with wisdom, friendship, hope and valour, Irises are the February birth and the 25th wedding anniversary flowers.
A unique feature of the magnolia flowers is that they don’t have petals. Numerous sepals and petals form tepals, which are like concentrated petals. White ones stand for purity and perfection, pink ones for luck and purple ones represent good health.
This beautiful flower is a 4th-anniversary flower. A bunch of tiny flowers grow together to form a thick bush. The star-shaped petals in myriad hues like blue, white, pink and purple make these gorgeous blooms an instant mood lifter. Hydrangeas are native to southern and eastern Asia, specifically Japan, China and Indonesia.
Touted as the flower of the riches and honour, Peonies are a 12th-anniversary flower and are ideal for vases, gifts and bouquets as well as for decorating personal spaces. The ruffled petals and sweet scent make peonies all the more attractive. Suited for an ideal wedding decor, these flowers symbolise happy married life and best wishes.
These pretty flowers are extremely unique with heart-shaped petals that mimic a bleeding heart. The flower is found in several varieties like amore pink, aurora, burning hearts, candy hearts, pearl drops, red fountain, silversmith and snowdrift. However, the flower is only beautiful to see as it is poisonous and can induce vomiting and diarrhoea if ingested.
An exotic flower from the family of lilies, the stargazer variant is a gorgeous bloom that can light up even the dullest of areas. They evoke simplicity, sympathy and romance and are found in colours of pink, yellow and white. This oriental lily variation is often seen in wedding bouquets but is poisonous around pets.
The beautiful flowers have a distinct yellow centre and are also known by the name frangipani. Comprising five oval-shaped petals, the flower’s prettiness gets elevated with its heavenly fragrance. Often used in the essential oil and perfume industry, it is found in various shades of pinks, reds and whites.
Think of lavender and a sweet and soothing fragrance comes to mind. Extensively used in essential oils, perfumes and soaps for its sweet fragrance, lavender is also known for its medicinal values. The beautiful flowers are spike flowers, made of multiple florets and elegant stems. The tiny elegant blossoms symbolise purity, silence, wisdom, wealth and luck.
This flowering plant is native to Spain and Italy and represents both deception and fascination. The flower takes a unique name from its appearance which resembles a dragon’s mouth. When the flower is squeezed from the side it opens like a dragon’s mouth and snaps or shuts when released. Opening the carefully closed petals is believed to unfurl predictions for the future.
Daisies have long been around. Egyptian vases decorated with daisies have also been excavated. Daisies are found all over with over 23,000 species. They can be easily grown anywhere and represent purity, love, innocence, loyalty and beauty. Rich in vitamin C, daisies have a lifespan of only two years.
Symbolising fresh start, hope and prosperity, the light golden hue of the daffodils is what makes the flowers radiant and joyful. When a daffodil bouquet is gifted, it signifies happiness and fortune.
Bird of Paradise
Mimicking a bird in flight, against the backdrop of a blue sky, the bird of paradise has a very unique appearance. The flower also resembles a crane’s head and grows on stems, which are nearly three-metre tall. It is a 9th-anniversary flower and can also be found in pink, white and blue colours. They represent freedom, magnificence and undying spirit.
Representing humility, consistency, love and romance, violets take the name from their beautiful royal colour. The flower is native to cold northern regions but can also flourish in the warm southern areas as well. While blue violets represent spirituality, the white variants represent chastity.
Delicate petals of white and red characterise the beautiful blooms. The flowering shrubs can range between three to twenty metres in height. They hold special importance in Greek mythology and Greeks often give this flower to poets, athletes, actors and other eminent people as a mark of respect and appreciation.
Marigolds are yellow-orange coloured bushy flowers that grow almost everywhere. Ushering a burst of sunshine and joy, these flowers are commonly used for decoration purposes and hold cultural importance as well. In India, the flower is extensively used during prayers and decorating wedding altars. They also have medicinal value and are believed to help in headaches, swelling, toothache, wounds and many skin problems.
Gladiolus is native to Europe, Africa and the Mediterranean region. These large flowers are spikes that emerge from a bulb-like structure called the corm. They can reach a height of 60 to 90 cm and can be found in various colours like pink, red, bright orange, yellow and more.
The anemone belongs to the buttercup family. Also known as the windflower, there are several varieties of these poppy-like flowers. Greek mythology has it that anemones grew out of Aphrodite’s tears as she lamented Adonis’ death. It is believed that gifting anemones brings good luck and wards off evil.
Colloquially called ‘mums’ or ‘chrysanths’, chrysanthemums bear some important cultural significance. In Japan, the flower represents the Imperial Royal family while in Australia, they are typically worn during Mother’s Day. The flower finds its origins in China and the country also celebrates an annual Chrysanthemum festival in Tongxiang. No wonder John Steinbeck described the flower as a “quick puff of coloured smoke” in his 1937 story named The Chrysanthemums.
These are deciduous shrubs or trees with dark green leaves, whose structure may change depending on which of the 25 species it belongs to. The cute flowers have four tiny petals and blossom in huge oval clusters. The common lilac reaches a height of nearly six metres and has several suckers, which are shoots from the stem or roots. They often signify love, confidence and pride.
Part of the Asteraceae family, gerberas look a lot like daisies. They have a large black flower head from which brightly coloured petals radiate, making the flower a favourite among gardeners and florists.
Queen Anne’s lace
It is believed that once Queen Anne of England was challenged by her friends to make a lace as beautiful and delicate as these tiny clusters of flowers. In the process, Queen Anne pricked her finger and thus the flower got the name. Its purple and red centre is said to represent her blood. Also called the wild carrot, the flowers grow in umbels or flat-topped clusters.
Proteas is a member of the Proteaceae family, which is one of the oldest flowering plant families and has been on the Earth for nearly 300 million years. King protea is the national flower of South Africa and represents change and hope. In European nations, the beautiful flower also symbolises diversity and courage.
With their towering spikes and vibrantly hued flowers, it is hard to miss out on delphiniums in a garden. Though the most commonly seen colours include blue and purple, these beautiful flowers can be found in various other shades of yellow and white too. They can symbolise open heart and attachment and can be given to recognise someone’s accomplishments.
These beautiful flowers are one of the best perennial flowers grown all year long. Typically grown in North America in the colder regions, asters are like a bundle of joy for any garden. Over 180 species of aster are found and their colour varies from white, purple, blue, lavender, pink and red. The name is derived from the Greek word ‘star-like’. These stellar flowers stand for patience, love and wellbeing.
These are succulent flowering plants and there are around 10,000 known varieties of Begonias that are cultivated. They occur in bright tones of pink, red, yellow and white with the inner ovary of the same colour. Depending on the variety and species, the generic lopsided leaves of the begonia plant may vary in shape and colour.
The beautiful scented flowering shrub and vine is native to the warm tropical and temperate belt. It is highly acclaimed in various sectors like essential oil, hair oil, perfume and soap. Mainly white in colour, some Jasmines are found in yellow. This beautiful flower is symbolic of love, happiness, life, hope, divinity, care and nurture. When placed in water in corner spaces, the wonderful fragrance can instantly lift up the whole atmosphere.
Morning glories are blooms with trumpet-shaped and unique leaves. Considered an 11th wedding anniversary flower, morning glories have a very short lifespan of just one day and represent love and affection. Though the flowers of this variety are typically blue and purple, some can be white as well. One of the largest species of morning glories is the moonflower, which can reach a size of nearly 15 cm across. They are actually night flowers with a sweet fragrance.
Rich, myriad colours and delicately ruffled petals make carnations not only one of the most strikingly beautiful flowers but one of the most popular flowers as well. The red carnation is the national flower of Spain, Slovenia and Morocco and holds much cultural importance in these regions. Carnations are also a popular choice for cut flowers, only next to roses. The red coloured ones are symbolic of love, the pink one is for remembrance and the white ones denote innocence and luck.
Pansies are known for their round petals, which evoke the image of a person in deep thought. The five petals have a smooth velvet-like texture and occur in combinations of white, blue and yellow. The most commonly grown variety is the garden pansy, a hybrid plant that comes in bright and dazzling colours. Representing loyalty in parts of Europe, pansies are symbolic of lovers too.
Bearing a resemblance to lotus, water lilies are predominantly found in the warm tropical and temperate belts of the world. One of the most beautiful aquatic flowers, they thrive in shallow, still freshwater and help in regulating water temperature along with serving as food for fish.
Cultivated as garden ornamentals, poppy flowers are usually bright red with a dark purple centre, however other colours are also known to exist. The flower usually has four to six petals and many stamens encircling the central ovary. Like roses, poppies also show deep affection and love.
Hibiscus holds strong cultural and religious importance in some parts of India and Asia. Though red is the most commonly found colour, the flower also blooms in shades of pink, orange, yellow and white. The flower is often boiled to make tea and represents courage and strength in Malaysia.
Chamomile, also spelt as camomile, is a daisy-like flower, which has a lot of medicinal values. They are often used to make herbal teas, which help in soothing the mind and getting a good night’s sleep. They are used as an antiseptic as well.
Rhododendrons are beautiful blooms native to the Himalayas and New Guinea. These eye-catching flowers are noted for their thick foliage. The name rhododendron, meaning ‘red tree’ points toward the red flowers and the sturdy woody growth. However, depending upon the variety and species, these plants can either grow low or turn into tall trees too. The dwarf variety may attain a height of about 10 cm, while the tall endangered species may grow up to 12 metres.
Bellflower, also known as campanula, gets its name from the distinct bell-like shape. There are over 300 different species of bellflowers, which can be annual, biennial or evergreen. Blossoming in spring or summer, these beautiful flowers mainly bloom in blue but can be found in shades of purple, pink and white as well.
One of the most unique flowers to add to your garden, globe flowers are rather difficult to grow in evergreen gardens due to their specific requirements. These wildflowers mimic the shape of a ball or globe and bloom in spring around bogs, ponds and streams. Mainly found in yellow and orange colours, these beautiful balls can measure up to 2.5 cm to 5 cm across.
Cypress vines are part of the morning glory family and the two share several similarities. The five-spoked star-shaped flower thrives throughout summer and autumn. They can be found in colours of red, pink and white. Its beautiful sweet nectar attracts hummingbirds and bees.
Sweet peas are known for their captivating sweet fragrance and mesmerising colours. Often seen adorning trellises and fences, they can also be decorated in vases or containers. These spring-summer blooms can be found in red, pink, blue, white and lavender colours and are a great choice for cut flowers as well and for building cottage gardens.
Clivias serve as excellent houseplants. These bright coloured blooms can be grown between late winter and spring and their foliage can remain beautiful all year long. The flower head is surrounded by eight to ten bulbous flowers, which are usually bright orange.
Native to southern Africa, beautiful freesias are popular all over the world for their colours, vase life and sweet scent. These spring and summer blooms can be found in white, cream, yellow, orange, red, pink, mauve, lavender and purple colours.
These gorgeous blossoms have numerous symbolic meanings pertaining to devotion, spirituality, friendship and achievements. Alstroemeria is also called Inca or Peruvian lily and refers to its place of origin, which are the mountains of Peru, Brazil and Chile. Found in multiple bright colours, they have a long vase life.
Native to the Alps, southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, crocuses bloom in early spring and fall. These low-lying flowers are shaped like cups and are very susceptible to changing weather. They droop at night and in dry weather.
Bringing in a fresh dose of sunshine with their huge petals and bright colours, gazanias are perennial plants that grow well in warm weather. The flower has a large head with radiating petals in shades of yellow and orange. Other varieties in shades of pink, red and white also make excellent decorative statements.
(Main and Featured image Courtesy: John-Mark Smith/ @mrrrk.smith/ Unsplash)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India