This profusely illustrated archive of more than 200 flowers, plants, and trees was compiled by Ernst and Johanna Lehner — two of the world's foremost collectors of pictorial symbols (who also happen to be devoted flower enthusiasts). Their comprehensive collection, with illustrations selected from rare sources, extends from the image of a pomegranate, the Chinese symbol of fertility, to a basket of flowers in a nineteenth-century Valentine silhouette. A profusion of bouquets, wreaths, flowers of the months, and other floral designs are also included.
In examining the symbolism of flora, the authors consider the religious, magical, and legendary significance of plants such as the mandrake, used as an opiate and love potion; the lotus, revered by the Egyptians and the Mayas of Central America; the mistletoe, a plant believed by the ancients to be capable of raising people from the dead; as well as the Bo tree, sunflower, dragon tree, ice plant, and many other botanical specimens. The development of horticultural images in heraldic devices, emblems, and symbols is also discussed, and a concluding section displays a table summarizing the symbolic meanings of every known species of flora — from absinthe to zinnia.
A visual treat for flower lovers, this volume of royalty-free illustrations is an essential sourcebook for artists and designers. Of value to botanical experts and gardening specialists, it will also appeal to folklore enthusiasts.
By Ernst and Johanna Lehner. Paperback. 128 pages. Published by Dover Publications, 2003.