Hyacinthus orientalis

Plant of the Month: Hyacinth

A 2021 shortage of hyacinth bulbs brings to mind the long and storied history of its botanical and economic import.
An illustration of flowers and weeds

A Weed is but an Unloved Flower

"Whatever Otherness weeds may possess, it is an outcome of human artifice.”
A bunch of flowering sweet peas

Boosters Used the Sweet Pea to Define California

In the late 19th century, Californians were eager to part with their reputation for wildness, so they adopted an "English" flower as their symbol.
from Bouquet of Flowers in a Sculpted Vase by Jan Frans Eliaerts

The Charities That Gave Flowers to the Poor

Presenting impoverished city dwellers with a fresh bouquet might seem condescending. On the other hand, flowers are awesome.
Dried flowers

Which Flowers Bloom First and Why?

A massive collection of dried flower specimens demonstrates that climate change disrupts the timing of spring blooms.
Source: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/community.29877673

Victorian Botanical Paintings

Amateur botanist Margaret Rebecca Dickinson painted the wildflowers she collected in the English countryside.
from Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici by Antonio Franchi

Plant of the Month: Peony

Peony's effectiveness as an ancient cure translated into a tool of statecraft in the eighteenth century.
Source: . Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, DC

Plant of the Month: Stanhopea Orchids

How did some orchids transform from rare, all-but-inaccessible flowers into popular houseplants you can purchase at a supermarket?
A chrysanthemum overlaid with the chemical formula for pyrethrins

What Do Pesticides and Chrysanthemums Have in Common?

They both contain insecticides called pyrethrins, used in ancient Persia. Today we use them in lice-killing shampoos.
Oscar Wilde with a green carnation

Four Flowering Plants That Have Been Decidedly Queered

The queer history of the pansy and other flowers.