Bright and bold blooms are a great gift and provide a welcome substitute for words, as they enhance the giver’s message with both beauty and fragrance. Each flower has its own connotation, which means the blooms you choose are able to express certain feelings, thoughts, and moods. If you’re wanting to go the extra mile when gifting a friend or family member a bouquet, why not choose their birth flower?
What flower represents August?
The month of August is associated with two birth flowers: the Gladiolus and the Poppy. Both have different qualities and both look superb when displayed in a bouquet during the summer months – perfect for brightening up your kitchen, bedroom or other living spaces.
The gladiolus, or ‘sword lily’ as it is sometimes referred to, represents feelings of calmness, remembrance, integrity, and infatuation. It points towards a heart being ‘pierced with love’ or ‘love at first sight’. This makes it a great option to gift a loved one or to present on a date.
Glads, as they are often nicknamed, are native to South Africa and a variety of tropical climates. They come from the genus Gladiolus. The plant boasts sword-shaped leaves complete with one-sided spikes that feature funnel-shaped, hot-hued blooms.
History of the August birth flower
Gladiator battles were fought ‘to the death or gladioli’ in ancient Rome. The battle would end with the victor being immersed in a mass of gladioli by the cheering crowds in celebration for winning the fight. This is one of the reasons this bloom is known as the ‘sword lily’ or the flower of the Roman gladiators. It comes as little surprise that the flower is symbolic of moral character.
The name of the flower derives from the Latin word ‘gladius’ which translates to ‘sword’. As the plant’s leaves are shaped like swords, it’s easy to see how the gladiolus got its name!
In the Netherlands, Gladioli are the symbol of the Four Days Marches. Every year, the country’s oldest city, Nijmegen, changes the name of one of its main streets to Via Gladiola, and welcomes walkers into its folds on the last day of the Four Days Marches. These walkers have rejoiced as heroes and spectators present gladioli to them in honor. This symbolic gesture views the walkers as being as heroic as the ancient Roman gladiators were in their era.
Hybridization and experimentation
Hybridization and experimentation of this bloom began in the UK in the 1800s. The earliest known Africa gladiolus grown in Europe dates back to the 1680s. It began its life as an inhabitant of the cornfields around the Mediterranean Sea.
Europe received the first South African species of gladiolus between the dates of 1739 and 1745. They were introduced by Dutch and English ships that stopped in Cape Town for supplies and water. The first English hybridization was actioned by William Herbert in 1806.
Gladiolus in medical use
To help relieve colic, powdered corms were combined with goat’s milk to make a drink. Gladiola corms were also used as a medicinal poultice to help remove splinters from the skin.
The other August flower is the poppy. A red poppy is symbolic of pleasure, while white poppies symbolize consolation and yellow poppies are a great gift to give those you wish wealth and success on.
The poppy is a genus of the flowering plant Papaveroideae, which derives from the family Papaveraceae. These herbaceous plants are cultivated for their hot-hued blooms, which makes them a great option to place in a bouquet. One species of poppy, the Papaver somniferum, is the source of the narcotic drug opium. This drug boasts powerful medicinal alkaloids, including morphine and has been in use since ancient times as a narcotic and analgesic medicinal and recreational drug. It also produces edible seeds. Asides from its medicinal uses, it’s the flower of remembrance.
The poppy features between four and six petals that are often different hues. The plant is renowned for its beauty and is usually used for decorative purposes. It’s also another great option to choose as a gift, especially when gifting someone who has a birthday in August.
Sources: almanac.com, whatsmybirthflower.com