Ancient Egyptian plants: Flowers
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Ancient Egyptians loved flowers. They grew them in their gardens, among shady trees and around little artificial ponds:
Daisy decorations, el Amarna
Source: Jon Bodsworth
Source: Jon Bodsworth
- small yellow chrysanthemums
- a Nubian heliotrope species
- Ploughman's spikenard (conyza dioscoridis)
and in the pools themselves water plants like the
In palaces they painted the walls and ceilings with flower motifs, lovers offered their beloved flowers, victorious kings were received with nosegays.
Offerings to the gods and the dead included flowers. Bunches of them were given the form of an ankh, a pun on the word for bouquet, ankh. They were a symbol for life: at the very beginning of creation a lotus flower was the first thing to emerge from the primordial waters.
Gods were thought to be present in flower bouquets, the blossoms' fragrance emanating from the divine.
Harsomtus emerged in the form of a child or a snake from a lotus flower, and Uto was identified with the papyrus.
The wreaths and bouquets also contained branches and twigs of plants chosen for their greenery or their fragrance rather than their flowers:
Flowers were big business. The Nile god, for instance, received from Ramses III
- bay laurel, (Laurus nobilis), a small tree
- various kinds of bindweed, one of them convolvulus hystrix, a weed growing in the desert
- euphorbia aegytiaca, another weed
- henna, a shrub with small pink or white flowers
- Rosin cress, (cressa cretica), which grows in salt depressions.
- sweet marjoram
Flowers: garlands 43,640
Even if some of these records are suspect (identical amounts of different items) it appears that temples received large quantities of flower offerings.
Blossoms: bouquets 114,804
Blossoms: clusters 114,804
James Henry Breasted Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Four, § 301
Daisy decoration: Jon Bodsworth
Faience cornflower: Jon Bodsworth
Drawing after decorations in the tomb of Petosiris: Gustave Lefebvre: Le tombeau de Petosiris