HYACINTHS | HARBINGER OF SPRING

Culture, Nature

THERE WAS ONCE A “HYACINTH BUBBLE” WHERE THE BULBS MUTATED INTO OBJECTS OF SPECULATION

It is still very cold in some parts of the northern hemisphere, and with just a hint of warmer temperatures creeping in, there are signs of nature preparing wonderful things for the new season and coming to life again under the earths surface. It appears to happen very suddenly, when just one moment it is snowing and the next we see the first shoots of the eagerly awaited spring showing. After a long and cold winter, they always delight with their colorful flowers, whether tulips, daffodils, crocuses or hyacinths, they all announce the arrival of Primavera!

Hyacinths (Hyacinthus) in particular have been used as fragrant flowers in gardens and parks in the eastern Mediterranean since ancient times because of their exceptionally strong, lovely fragrance. They form a small genus of plants in the asparagus family (Asparagaceae), native primarily to the Mediterranean region, and bloom from March to April, just when some color and fragrance are very welcome after a long winter.

The three species of the genus are Hyacinthus orientalis, Hyacinthus litwinowii and Hyacinthus transcaspicus. Only the decorative and fragrant Hyacinthus orientalis is the one that, after many crossings and sorting out over several centuries, has produced today’s garden hyacinth or Dutch hyacinth.

The other two species are rarely cultivated and mainly grow in their native region. In ancient times, the original wildflower was widespread in areas of the eastern Mediterranean, from central and southern Turkey, Lebanon and Syria to Israel, where it grew on rocky slopes at altitudes of up to 2,000 meters.

All of the flowers were bluish-purple with six petals that, when fully open, looked like a star. They are now available in many colors, from white to red, pink and violet to even black, and both as single flowers and double flowers.

 

Read the full article in Issue 22

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