It’s staggering when you think about it, the pure variety of flowers that dot the earth, nearly enough to represent every personality type. After a trip to the farmer’s market last weekend, I was presented with a bouquet of perfect, star-shaped sunflowers. The kind you typically only see in photos and the kind I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to grow for years. As I trimmed the long, elegant stems and arranged them in a jar on my counter, I got to thinking about what this specific flower, out of all the others, says about me, and what other plants might say about their admirers.
You see, people have been giving me sunflowers for years, largely unsolicited. Up until recently, I don’t believe I’d ever even expressed my preference for the yellow-petaled flowers, but there they are … for birthdays, anniversaries … everything. Despite their often imposing stature — they can grow as tall as 12 feet — and striking silhouette, the sunflower remains a cheerful and steadfast flower, their yellow petals mirroring the fiery and passionate star of their namesake. Sunflowers follow the sun, a characteristic known as phototropism, which makes them appear to be looking towards the sky, their leaves outstretched. Sunflowers and those like them (think: Daisies) are a happy and confident flower, traits that could describe those that love them. Maybe you have a sunny disposition or the ability to make those around you feel at ease, or perhaps, like the sunflower, you seek out the light, always searching for the positive in any given situation.
These spiny, structured flowers are called sea holly and the purple-green iridescent bulb skirted by a spray of spiky petals is what caught my eye. While this architectural and sturdy bloom may appear standoffish in it’s thorniness, sea holly and it’s ilk (there are about 250 different species) have been providing comfort since the first-estimated cultivation of the plant in the 16th century: the root can be candied like ginger and administered medicinally to ease digestion. If you like flowers such as sea holly and thistle, perhaps your personality is similar to that of the Eryngium family: A tough exterior with a caring, nurturing core. It takes time to get to know eryngium maritimum, to get past the initial prickle and thorn, but once you do, the sea-loving flower (this particular variety thrives in ocean-side landscapes) rewards you with it’s unique beauty and usefulness.
While they might come off as bold and somewhat high-maintenance, zinnias are surprisingly easy to grow and reward their caretakers with their abundance and variety. Skirted in voluminous, bright petals, zinnias bring intense beauty to where they’re planted, and unlike other flowers, each color variation boasts it’s own specific meaning. Magenta is a symbol of affection, while white zinnias represent goodness (to name just a couple). This flower is all at once modern — with it’s straight, leafless stalk — and incredibly feminine — with its decoration of petals — a beguiling and unexpected combination. If you tend to enjoy flowers that are bright and lively yet startlingly complex, like the zinnia, perhaps you strive to always bring beauty wherever you go — whether it’s through decorating the world around you or making gifts for those you love — and might be known for experimenting with all sides of your personality.
What’s your favorite flower? What do you think that choice says about you? Let us know in the comments.