Glossary of Flowers: W


In Voltaire’s words, ‘perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time’. In the world of fauna, the painstakingly slow measures by which a virginal bud blossoms into a beautiful flower, attains the stature of perfection when the humanity enthuses over its exotic charms.

The wallflower, a great favourite for bedding and containers among gardeners, is a fragrant biennial, which produces its spring flowers over a long period of time. Biologically, the wallflower belongs to the Cherianthus genus. The Fair Lady series in this family of flowers reflect the gentler shades and hues, while an expansive assortment of bright colours is also available – ruby-red, cream, yellow, orange, purple and yellow when wild. Other forms that are true from seed are ‘Blood Red’ and the ‘Bedder Series’.

Wallflower is coined so since it is often found clinging to old walls. In language however, a wallflower is a person who remains a spectator at a dance, idly without a partner. Thus, in the subtle flower symbolism, a wallflower indicates intense fidelity even in the throes of adversity. As the Bard speaks through the melancholic Jacques in As You Like It: “Sweet are the uses of adversity, which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head”.

Water Lily

Water Lily

Water lily is a common name for a small family of aquatic plants. The botanical name for which family is Nymphaeaceae.

There are about 70 different species of water lilies. These are grouped into night, tropical and hardy. Night lilies bloom in the night. Tropical lilies can be found in tropical climates and bloom at all times of the day. Hardy lilies are able to withstand most conditions and are the most common.

Water lilies live in slow-moving or still, fresh water. The roots are embedded in the mud at the bottom of the water and the stem grows up towards the light. The leaves are very distinctive, they are usually found floating on the surface of the water, have an oval or circular outline and are notched to the center. Water lilies are also able to reproduce by budding. The roots of the plant detach and grow into new water lilies.

The habitat climate of the water lily is usually hot, and in areas where there are few plants so that they don’t have competition for sunlight. This is important because sunlight is the main way that water lilies are able to receive food and energy. Water lilies live in water that is rich in oxygen and receives a lot of sunlight.

The colour of the water lily flowers may be white, pink, yellow, or blue but, hybrid species can have unusual colours and shapes.

The largest water lily is the Giant Water Lily and can be found in the Amazon. It can grow to be 2 feet to 6 feet in diameter. Claude Monet painted many paintings of water lilies. He got the idea because he had a water garden and enjoyed the plants’ beauty and difference.