Perfection: The World's Most Beautiful And Meaningful Flowers - Udumbara
When we look at a flower, it's almost impossible not to think of its perfection - a true masterpiece of Mother Nature.
The diversity of shapes, colors, and scents makes us think that flowers were created for decoration, both for outdoor and indoor spaces, as well as for the health benefits of alternative therapies.
This time we've chosen six special flowers. It's true that they all have their charms, but there are some that stand out not only for their nature but also for what they represent.
The Most Beautiful & Meaningful Flowers In The WorldUdumbara - A Heavenly Flower
This very small and beautifully fragrant flower has a slender stem and is surprisingly hardy. People who have found the flower in recent years have reported keeping it for long periods of time without it wilting, and it has even been seen sprouting back in spring after being crushed.
In Buddhist legends, the Udumbara flower is said to bloom once every 3,000 years, the last time it bloomed being before the birth of Buddha Sakyamuni. The flower has been seen in the last 20 years or so in many places around the globe, and many have said that the Udumbara flower may herald the coming of a great sage or enlightened being.
The udumbara flower is also a synonym for something that is exceedingly rare, sacred and special. (Image: via secretchina.com)
Udumbara is a word from Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, which means "an auspicious flower from Heaven".
According to Buddhist legends, its appearance heralds the arrival of the Holy King Who Turns the Wheel. This King is said to accept anyone of any religious affiliation, offering salvation to all through compassion.
Buddhist scriptures say that "the Udumbara flower is the product of supernatural auspicious phenomena; it is a heavenly flower and does not exist in the earthly world. Should a Tathagata or the Golden Wheel King appear in the human world, this flower will appear because of its many blessings and great virtue."
Many think that the appearance of this special heavenly flower is associated with the arrival of master Li Hongzhi and the wide-spreading of His universal spiritual practice called Falun Dafa (or Falun Gong), which has at its core the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.
The Udumbara is definitely one of the most beautiful and meaningful flowers in the world.
The Lotus - A Symbol Of Genuine PuritySeeds, stems, moisture, sun, and muddy soil. These are the humble components that evolved into a mythical symbol, a spectacular species of water lily, the famous, beloved, and desirable lotus flower. Eighty species of water lilies are cultivated, eaten, and appreciated worldwide but none are as grand as the Asian lotus - a true symbol of purity and beauty.
The place where the plant is found creates a symbiotic relationship for a variety of fish and amphibians, providing them with food and shelter. Many other creatures, insects, parasites, and water sponges also make their homes around the nut tree. The thin stem of the lotus calms the large waves, helping to keep the water calm.
Some of these seeds have been known for over 500 years. At all banquets during the Chinese dynasties, guests served lotus seeds while sipping exquisite teas. In the 8th century, the lotus was cultivated in many waterholes in the Forbidden City where it graced the imperial palace residences.
The lotus is significant in Asian spirituality because the Buddha is often depicted sitting on a lotus flower. Legend has it that he imagined people as "flower buds in a lake, rising from the mud and trying to reach the surface so that they could bloom".
Not many of us are lucky enough to see lotus buds in a lake, but such a plant can grow on the balcony or in the garden. Carefully cultivated and tended, the lotus flower will bloom delighting all around it with its noble beauty.
Find out more about the lotus story.
Cherry Blossoms - Rebirth And HopeCherry blossom, in many cultures, has a special significance, symbolizing rebirth and hope. The beauty of the blossoms coming after so many cold winter months awakens and energizes us for the coming spring.
Sakura is the name of the Japanese cherry blossom of the Prunus family. The short life of these flowers and their delicate beauty have often been associated with the ephemerality of human life, which is why sakura cherry blossoms are loaded with symbolism and are often used in Japanese art.
Sakura is so popular that it has even come to be printed on consumer products such as kimonos, stationery, and plates.
During World War II, sakura was used by the Japanese authorities to foster nationalist and militaristic sentiments among the population. Kamikaze pilots sometimes painted these flowers on the fuselage of their planes or took sakura branches with them.
In centuries past, the great warriors, the samurai, identified with the sakura (cherry blossom), sharing a glorious life that could be cut short. Cherry blossoms usually don't last long, and rain or wind can shorten their life, causing the petals to fall off. But they are special, beautiful, and full of meaning and symbolism.
Peony - "The Queen Of Flowers"In Europe, it is also called the "thornless rose". The peony has always been associated with beauty, femininity, and vitality, but also with honor and wealth, romance, friendship, the balance of soul, or a happy marriage.
In some cultures, a beautiful girl is said to be "a girl's peony", and the redness in the cheeks, which denotes health and vitality, is called "peonies in the cheeks". A handsome man is said to be "as handsome as a peony".
In folklore, the peony is linked to the moon, as it is believed to have been created by the moon goddess to reflect Selene's rays at night.
It is known as one of the most splendid flowers in the world. In Feng Shui, the peony signifies the noble feelings and values of any person. The peony became popular at the imperial court during the Sui and Tang dynasties, earning it the title "The Queen Of Flowers". As a symbol of spring, it is used as a feminine metaphor for beauty. When in full bloom, the peony symbolizes peace.
The peony's scientific name, Paeonia lactiflora, comes from the name Paeon, a healing deity. According to mythology, Paeon, a pupil of Asclepius, the god of medicine and healing, had been taught by the goddess Leto (mother of Apollo and deity of fertility) how to find a magic root on Mount Olympus (Olympus), with the gift of soothing women's pain in childbirth. It is said that Zeus transformed Paeon into a peony flower.
Used to heal the wounds of Mars and Pluto, the peony was endowed with great powers due to its flowering on full moon nights. To use the healing powers of this flower, it was said that the roots should only be picked at night.
The woody peony (Paeonia suffruticosa), a shrub-like variety of peony, can grow up to 4 meters tall and lives up to 200 years.
Lily-of-the-valley - A Delicate And Wondrous FlowerLily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) is a herbaceous plant with beautifully fragrant, small, white flowers. It is also known as St George's grass. It grows in shady woodlands and gardens.
In a legend, it is said that there was once a very poor, fatherless boy. The boy's mother was so needy that she didn't have enough water to drink. He went out into the world and became a shepherd to an emperor. This shepherd boy had a whistle and played with it as if he were bewitched. The emperor had a daughter as beautiful as no other.
While the empress was with child, a woman brought her beautiful forest flowers as a gift, which she received and smelled. The princess was therefore fond of flowers, especially wildflowers. Once, walking through the forest, she came across the shepherd boy playing from his enchanted whistle. She called him to go with her to a glade where the flowers would be more beautiful. He walked ahead, to make room for her through the bushes and thorns.
They arrived, picked an armful of flowers, and turned back. Seeing that the girl was losing more of them, he picked them up and carried them until they reached the sheep. There he gave the princess the flowers. She told him that he had not given him all of them, that he had kept one more in his bag. But he showed her that there were no flowers left in the bag. "But what's this?" the princess asked, pointing to the enchanted whistle. "That's the one I was looking for. It's mine now, and I'm taking it from you." The shepherd gave it to her, for he had no choice.
After he gave it to her, tears began to flow from his eyes like a spring. They ran down his face, fell on the grass, and became beautiful white flowers. The princess picked an armful of them and carried them home. The little shepherd, in sadness, went out into the world and never came back. From then on, the white little flower remained in the world.
Hydrangea (Hortensia) - A Symbol Of Spiritual Enlightenment
Hydrangea (Hortensia) is a symbol of love, gratitude, and spiritual enlightenment. It is said that when we look at hydrangea flowers we lose ourselves in the abundance of petals, regaining our thoughts and thus achieving enlightenment.
With its spectacular beauty, hortensia is an excellent gift to thank people who have helped us with an open heart.
Hydrangeas originated in Japan. References to this flower can be found in mythology: the cult of the goddess of the abyss in the ocean, Bahu, who has five goddess-servants: Thai Tinh Cong Chua (Water Star), Que Hoa (Cinnamon Flower), Bach Hoa (White Flower), Hoang Hoa (Yellow Flower) and Quynh-Hoa Cong Chua (Hydrangea).
The name also means "garden", something that encompasses all flowers.
We hope you enjoyed exploring six of the world's most beautiful and meaningful flowers.