“Be honest, be nice, be a flower, not a weed.”
Aaron Neville, an American singer and musician
Flowers play an important role in many cultures: they are given as gifts, brought to special ceremonies, considered to have a symbolic meaning. For example, the lotus symbolizes purity in Buddhism, the hibiscus means a perfect woman in North America, and the red rose is often associated with love and passion all over the world. Some flowers have become national: the cherry blossom (Japan), iris (France), lily (Italy), twin flower (Sweden). These and other flowers can be found in the table below:
|Twin flower||The twin flower can be found in the northern hemisphere.|
|Lily [‘lɪlɪ]||My room is filled with lilies, my favorite flower.|
|Iris [‘aɪərɪs]||The purple iris brings a message of wisdom.|
|Cherry blossom||In Japan the cherry blossom represents the fragility [frə’ʤɪlətɪ] and the beauty of life.|
|Hibiscus [hɪ’bɪskəs]||I like hibiscus tea.|
|Lotus [‘ləutəs]||The lotus flower is one of the most ancient and deepest symbols of the planet.|
|Peony [‘piːənɪ]||The peony is native to Asia, Europe and North America.|
|Carnation [kɑː’neɪʃ(ə)n]||Dark red carnations denote deep love and affection.|
|Aster [‘æstə]||I have always liked asters.|
(pl. – gladioli /-laɪ/)
|He sold seedlings of gladioli.|
|Dandelion [‘dændɪlaɪən]||The children took turns blowing the dandelion clock.|
|Chamomile [‘kæməmaɪl]||Chamomile tea is very good for health.|
|Forget-me-not||Forget-me-not plants symbolize true love.|
|Lavender [‘læv(ə)ndə]||We have an extensive range of lavender-scented products.|
|Poppy [‘pɔpɪ]||We’re in the middle of the poppy harvest.|
|Sunflower||Sunflower seeds can be eaten or used to make cooking oil.|
|Orchid [‘ɔːkɪd]||He took an interest in orchid cultivation.|
|Petunia [pɪ’tjuːnɪə]||Petunias can tolerate relatively harsh conditions and hot climates.|
|Violet [‘vaɪələt]||The violet is a small plant with pleasant-smelling purple, blue, or white flowers.|
|Bluebell||Bluebells grow in chestnut [‘ʧesnʌt] woods better than anywhere else.|
ADJECTIVES TO DESCRIBE FLOWERS
What adjectives come to your mind if someone asks you about flowers? You might say beautiful or fragrant. But here are some more ideas for different kinds of flowers:
- Brilliantly-colored = colorful = bright
- Delicate [‘delɪkət] = tiny
- Alpine [‘ælpaɪn]
- Lovely = pretty
- Dried = pressed
- Artificial [ˌɑːtɪ’fɪʃ(ə)l] = fake
- Closed / open
Of course there are many flower-related idioms. Here are some common ones:
- As fresh as a daisy – healthy and energetic: She is as fresh as a daisy after the holiday.
- To come up roses – this idiom is used to describe a situation which has developed in a very favorable way: His career has come up roses.
- Shrinking violet – a very shy person: Don’t be such a shrinking violet – everybody wants to know your name.
- To cut down the tall poppies – to criticize people who are extraordinary in some way and stand out from the crowd: Gossips always cut down the tall poppies – that’s the thing they do best.
- Flowery speech – a speech which if full of beautiful and nice words but which may lack substance: Having heard his flowery speech, we didn’t quite understand what it was about.
- To gild [gɪld] the lily – to decorate something that is already decorated: There’s a picture on the wall – we shouldn’t try to gild the lily.
- Late bloomer – a person who achieves success late in life: This actor is a late bloomer but it’s better to become a star late than never.
- To deserve a bouquet [bu’keɪ] of orchids – to deserve praise: You have done a great job and deserve a bouquet of orchids.
- Hearts and flowers – sentimentality: I like this hearts and flowers part of the film.
- Flower of the flock – the best person/thing is a group of people/things: He is the flower of the flock. We should do our best to retain this employee.