Flowers and Their Roots

History of Flowers

In this article, we will be learning about the origins of flowers and their presence in human history. We’ll look into the records of human interaction with these wonderful blooms. These reach all the way back from the Paleolithic era to modern times.

The next section of this article talks about flowers as art subjects in ancient history. We also examine the impact they had as muses for artists of all kinds.

Last, we’ll delve into a list of the most popular flowers and discover the stories behind their names!

Interested in a formal course? Want to get certified as an expert on all things floral? We encourage you to look at institutions that offer programs in floristry, such as:

  • American Institute of Floral Designers (
  • Society of American Florists (
  • American Floral Endowment (


Flowers through Human History.

How far back are flowers recorded in human history? Have they always been diverse? How diverse? How did humans discover and use them in early history?

These are only a few of the things people often ask about flowers. Here is a list of answers to some of the most pressing queries about flowers as recorded in history!

Have flowers always existed? Since when?

Yes, they have. Archaeologists have dug deep to find out when flowers first emerged. Using cutting-edge technology over time, they discovered flower fossils. With these, they established that flowers have been around since the prehistoric period. Their earliest estimate is around the Paleolithic age, about 93 million years ago.

Were flowers always as diverse as they are now? Or did that develop over time with human interference?

Today, there are around 270,000 species of flowers! This number continues to grow with time and scientific developments.

As for the evolution of their diversity, records only go back to about 150 years. History shows only 125,000 species already existed.

Are there flowers that have been here throughout ancient history?

Plants like magnolias and herbs date back to 120 million years old. This time allowed them to evolve into their forms today.

Experts maintain that flowering plants have been around for about 146 million years.

How did humans discover them? Did they use them in their daily lives and routine?

There is no specific record of how humans discovered flowers and plants. But there’s evidence on the purpose of flowers in the everyday life of humans in ancient history!

For example, placing flowers on graves has been a custom long before current times.

Various forms of art have also used flowers both as main subjects and background details. From music, literature, and sculpture, people have used flowers to express themselves. Now we see how blooms have always perked up lives and made occasions more precious.

We’ll explore more on flowers in art below, so keep reading!


Flowers as Art Subjects in Ancient History.

From Ancient Egypt to contemporary pop art, flowers have given rise to masterpieces throughout history. Famous works with flowers range from clay pots to still-life paintings. Its depiction has been vital in creating several art forms and mediums.

In fact, flowers as artists’ muse in history is a course in arts studies programs. This only affirms how important blossoms are in art!

Here, we’ll look at the impression that flowers have on different periods in art history. We’ll figure out what makes them so attractive to artists and audiences alike.

The lotus flower is one of the most prominent subjects in Ancient Egyptian art. This is due to its symbolic meaning in their religious myths. It was often depicted in paintings, amulets, ceramics, and other artworks.. Evidence also indicates the use of florals as jewelry for the royal court.

In medieval times, tapestries became popular as art works. This gave way to the use of flowers as backdrops for several types of scenery. It later birthed the form of millefleur, or a “thousand flowers”. These tapestries had duplicating patterns of delightful florals stitched on it.

Artists from the Renaissance also used flowers in their myth-inspired paintings. Other artists took flowers as a focal point in their work. They produced still-life paintings of fresh blooms and elaborate bouquets.


The Impressionist and Fauvism movements also included the use of flowers in art. Flowers often served as the subject of an indoor scene with a person or two beside it. Fauvism accented this using vibrant colors. Other times, flowers were either the focus of the artwork or the backdrop of the scene.


Today, flowers remain as a well-loved muse among artists through pop art and current 3D art. Pop art imagines simple common objects in a different light and color. 3D artists often use flowers to build a sculpture of another figure. They also pay tribute to art from the Renaissance and Ancient Egypt.


Flower Names and their Origins.

Have you ever thought about where roses and calla lilies got their names from? Look no further! Here is a brief list of beloved flowers and the story behind their names.



Believed to come from the Greek word carnis (” flesh”), describing its original color. Also considered to come from corone (” flower garlands”). This is because they were first used in ceremonial crowns.



First called “lion’s tooth” given the petals’ resemblance to a lion’s sharp teeth. The French translation “dent-de-lion” later changed into the English dandelion.



In Greek mythology, flowers called “asphedelos” covered Elysian fields. Adapting the first d in the name in the future, it translated to the modern daffodil.



Born from Old English poetics, daisies are an evolved variant of the phrase “day’s eye”.



Called the “Holly Tree”. Later known as “holly.” Medieval monks trusted it would protect them from evil and lightning.



From Latin word lilium, from “lily of the valley”. This is because it was often found in valleys.



From Greek word orchis, “testicle”. Greeks presumed if pregnant women ate these, their unborn child would turn into a boy.



Coming from the Spanish and Italian rosa. Used to name red flowers.