Plants and flowers have a long, rich and colorful history. There are many fun facts and bits of lore to consider concerning some well-known plants that can make them all the more interesting. In this sometimes bleak and cold month of February, when there is not much gardening to be done, it’s a good time to gain some knowledge about plants that, when shared, just may make you the life of summer garden parties!

So, here we go. Did you know. . . .

Tulips were once worth more than gold and were responsible for the crash of the Dutch economy.

Thistles

Thistles

Gingko trees are one of the oldest trees known to man and were found as fossils before they were discovered to still be alive.

The thistle is Scotland’s national flower! The Vikings had a hard time getting through the vast patches of thistle when they invaded Scotland hundreds of years ago, so the Scots were able to escape. They later honored the plant by naming it their national flower.

The name daffodil means “that which cometh early,” which is quite fitting since it’s such an early bloomer. The daffodil’s other name, narcissus, is after the beautiful hunter in Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection. He turned his back on the woman who loved him and gazed downward into a pool of water until he died. Daffodils also have a tendency to turn their faces downward and turn their backs on their admirers.

Every family has members who may seem a little “out there” or “cut from a different cloth,” but are cherished for who they are just the same. Here are a couple “weird” plant family facts:

  • Eggplants and potatoes are part of the same family.
  • Watermelon is actually a vegetable and so is rhubarb.
  • Tomatoes are fruits and the most popular fruit in the world at that.
  • Broccoli and cauliflower are the only veggies that are also flowers.
Tomatoes growing for Tonkadale Greenhouse

Tomatoes growing in the greenhouse

The first gardens were solely functional and only edibles and medicinal herbs were grown.

Early ornamental gardens were often associated with the wealthy, since most people did not have the resources to grow plants that were purely for pleasure and that did not sustain life.

The Romans were first in a great many endeavors, including building the first greenhouses. The Emperor Tiberius wanted to eat cucumbers every day and the greenhouse made this desire possible.

Pineapples are not apples at all. They are actually berries, and are the only edible part of any bromeliad plant.

Fig flowers are carnivorous – they trap and digest the wasps that pollinate them.

Now that you’ve got the inside scoop, share these fun bits of random plant knowledge with your friends and family, especially fellow gardening enthusiasts!