The dahlia is named after the Swedish botanist Andreas Dahl (1751-89) but came originally from Mexico. Its first appearance in Europe coincided with the French Revolution and the plants perished and were lost. The second introduction coincided with Napoleon being made Emperor of France and it was from this incidents that the dahlia was chosen as the symbol of instability. The tubers contain insulin and were given to diabetics.
Dr. Dahl originally hoped that the dahlia would gain in popularity as a vegetable rather than as a garden flower, but it never rivaled the potato and ne died disappointed, although by the 1800s in Britain the dahlia was “the most fashionable flower in the country.”
Photographs by LaBelle
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