ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian plants: Flowers
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Flowers

Daisy decorations, el Amarna
Source: Jon Bodsworth
Daisies; Source: Jon Bodsworth
 
Faience cornflower
Source: Jon Bodsworth
Faience cornflower. Source: Jon Bodsworth
    Ancient Egyptians loved flowers. They grew them in their gardens, among shady trees and around little artificial ponds:
  • cornflowers
  • daisies
  • mandrakes
  • roses
  • irises
  • myrtle
  • jasmine
  • mignonettes
  • celosia
  • narcissus
  • ivy
  • lychnis
  • small yellow chrysanthemums
  • a Nubian heliotrope species
  • Ploughman's spikenard (conyza dioscoridis)
  • poppies

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, tomb of Petosiris     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:
  • 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 were big business. The Nile god, for instance, received from Ramses III
Flowers: garlands 43,640
Blossoms: bouquets 114,804
Blossoms: clusters 114,804
James Henry Breasted Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Four, § 301
Even if some of these records are suspect (identical amounts of different items) it appears that temples received large quantities of flower offerings.

Picture sources:
Daisy decoration: Jon Bodsworth
Faience cornflower: Jon Bodsworth
Drawing after decorations in the tomb of Petosiris: Gustave Lefebvre: Le tombeau de Petosiris
 

 
 
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