We were curious about the origin of some of the flora that comes to us at Christmastime. So we took the time, in true Wish Pearl fashion, to check out the following:
If you think you have a Christmas cactus and it always blooms around Thanksgiving, this is probably because of one of the following reasons: it is actually a Thanksgiving cactus or it blooms early due to growing conditions waaaay to complicated for us to get into in a blog. But did you know that it could produce buds in February which would technically make it an Easter cactus?
A member of the Schlumbergera species, the Christmas cactus is native to Brazil, where it grows in rainforests, mainly on trees or shrubs but sometimes in shady places among rocks.
Common names for these cacti generally refer to their flowering season. In the Northern Hemisphere, they are called Christmas cacti, Thanksgiving cacti, crab cacti and holiday cacti. In Brazil, the Christmas cactus might be known as Flor de Maio (May flower), reflecting the period in which it buds in the Southern Hemisphere. The flowers open as yellow, white, pink, red, purple or orange. The Whitsun, aka Easter cactus, has flowers in white, red, pink, and orange.
This name comes from the Greek word “amarysso,” which means “to sparkle.” It has its genesis In Greek mythology, which told the story of a shepherdess who yielded her own blood to prove her true love, thus inspiring the naming of this bright red flower.
Amaryllis belladonna, one of two amaryllis species, is native to South Africa’s Western Cape region and is now in South America and the Caribbean.
The Amaryllis is called the "naked lady" as are similar bulb flowers, and may be called the resurrection lily.
The wreath has important meaning for the Christmas season. Eternity has no beginning or end, which is represented by It's circular shape, and from a Christian religious perspective, the unending circle of life. The evergreen, usually the basic material for making wreaths, symbolizes growth and and the Christian promise of everlasting (evergreen) life.
The prickly evergreen represents the thorns worn by Christ on the cross, with the tiny red berries representative of the blood of Christ.
The Christmas Rose
Who would think that The Christmas Rose is actually an herb that perennially grows in the cold, snowy mountains across Europe? Yes, an herb. The flowers are star-shaped, white, and tipped with pink. It is also known as the Winter Rose and the Snow Rose, and it is kind of a miracle when it blooms when other plants are dormant and covered by snow.
When the Angel, as the story goes, came to the shepherds to tell them of the birthplace of the baby, Jesus, they likely brought honey, fruit, and snow-white doves as gifts.
But you may not have heard, as in legend, that a young shepherdess named Madelon overheard the Angel. She followed at a distance all of those pilgrims to came to the manger where Jesus lay.
She watched as they entered the stable and witnessed the Wise Men giving frankincense, myrrh and gold to the child. She further watched as the shepherds gave their gifts of honey, fruit and snow-white doves. Reminiscent of The Little Drummer Boy, most commonly known as “having no gifts to bring” to the King, she ran into the hills to find flowers.
With all vegetation hidden by snow, Madelon cried. The legend said that the Angel used her tears to grow a bush with beautiful roses.
Ostensibly, the Angel told Madelon, “no gold, no frankincense, no myrrh, is as precious, or as fitting a gift for the Prince of Peace as these pure blooms. No gold is born from the pure tears of love, faith and devotion.”
May the Angel visit you during this holiday season.