Monthly Columns

Notes from the Apothecary

Notes from the Apothecary: Spring Flowers Special

As the world warms at a variety of different speeds in the Northern Hemisphere, different areas see a range of different flowers popping into bloom. That’s especially true now we’re past the Spring Equinox, and moving quickly towards Bealtaine.

This month, we’re looking at some of the common spring flowers you might see in gardens, woodlands, or hedgerows around your local area. If you see one of your favourites, or want to share a flower with us that we’ve not included, come tell us on Facebook or Twitter!

 

Tulip

 

 

Tulips are such a recognisable spring flower and available in so many places over the world. They come in an astonishing variety of colours, from velvety black-purple to creamy white. Red and yellow tulips are probably the most popular for gardens, and the image of huge fields of them in places like the Netherlands is striking, to say the least.

Tulip correspondences include:

    • Wealth
    • Everlasting love
    • Protection
    • Making the most of the time you have

In some aspects of Turkish culture, the tulip is a symbol of Paradise on Earth.

 

Daffodil

Daffodils or Narcissus are gloriously yellow-trumpeted flowers, often found in great numbers. They’re a true herald of spring, and although often appear in late February through March, can last well into early summer.

Daffodil correspondences include:

    • Happiness
    • Vitality
    • Kindness
    • Trickery
    • Love

A narcissus was the flower used to distract Persephone when she was kidnapped and taken to the Underworld to be with Hades.

 

Crocus

The crocus is the source of one of the most expensive spices in the world: Saffron. These red-gold strands are the stigma of the crocus flower, and it takes 75,000 flowers to make just a pound of saffron! Crocuses are a common sight in spring where I live, but they grow all over the world at different times of the year.

Crocus correspondences include:

    • Love and sex
    • Fun and games
    • Tragedy
    • Regret
    • Transformation

The crocus may be linked to the God Mercury, who accidentally kills the youth, Crocus, with a discus.

 

Poppies

 

In England, where I live, we might not see poppies until summertime as our springtime can be quite cool. However, in regions like California, huge swathes of wild poppies are already in bloom. Poppy seeds have a number of culinary uses, particularly in baking. The seeds also contain ingredients related to morphine and codeine, making it no surprise that they’re been used for drugs, both medical and recreational, throughout the centuries.

Poppy correspondences include:

    • Remembrance
    • Sleep
    • Life, death, and rebirth
    • Hidden meanings

The poppy is the symbol of the Goddess Demeter.

 

Bluebonnet

The Bluebonnet or Lupius Texensisis the official state flower of Texas and quite a sight in the state come April. These blankets of blue are an eye-catching feature of Texas in spring. Take note – it’s considered bad form to go picking bluebonnets out in the wild!

A legend from one of the First Tribes tells how humans were being punished for selfishness, with floods, droughts, and hunger. They had been commanded by Great Spirit to burn their possessions. A little girl overheard the conversation with Great Spirit, and under cover of darkness, burnt her prized possession, her doll. She scattered the ashes while spinning. The next day the land was lush, green and blue with the bluebonnets everywhere – a gift from Great Spirit’s forgiveness.

 

Image credits: Garden/park field of tulips, copyright John O’Neill 2005 via Wikimedia Commons; Welsh Poppies in Post Hill Woods, copyright Mabh Savage 2018.

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About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors & Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.