Juniper: language of flowers and plants

Juniper: language of flowers and plants



Juniperus communis




Juniper in Greek is called arkeuthos from the verb arkéo "To repel an enemy" was in fact considered able to protect both from diseases and from evil spirits thanks to its thorny branches. In many countries there was in fact the habit of planting juniper near the house and even any cracks or cracks in the wall were hit with the leaves to prevent those points from becoming a way for negativity, diseases and evil spirits.

Angelo De Gubernatis (man of letters and scholar above all of social problems born in Turin in 1840 and died in Romanel 1913) says that in Pistoia there was the habit of hanging a branch of juniper on the door of the house because it was believed that witches, at suavista, they could not resist counting his needles, but since there were so many, they lost count and so impatient they went away.

In Germany it was believed that there was a beneficial spirit that bore the name of the plant "Frau Waccholder" and that if invoked with a particular ritual, it caused any thieves who had stolen to return the stolen goods to the rightful owner. This was related to the fact that the thorny and twisted branches of the juniper were able to block the escape of the thief.

Another belief, of Norwegian origin, wanted the houses to be decorated with juniper branches on Christmas Eve because it was believed that it purifies the air with its perfume.

These are just some of the many legends surrounding this splendid plant, partly Christianized by attributing to the juniper (like many other plants) the privilege of having protected the escape of the Holy Family pursued by the soldiers of Herod and grateful Mary would have blessed it by predicting that it would have the honor of providing the wood for Christ's cross.

Meaning of flowers: juniper

Today we will not talk about a flower in the strict sense of the word, but of one arboreal plant for our column on meaning of flowers: we will address the juniper. The Juniperus comunis, tree belonging to the family of Cupressaceae can boast a long pagan and Christian tradition in its curriculum and its meaning is linked to these varied stories that we will tell you.

By translating the secret language of plants into one that is understandable to men, we can speak of relief, of protection. This is because by appearing in any tradition, the juniper reinforced what was its Greek meaning. In this wonderful language this plant is known under the name of "arkeuthos”, From the verb“ arkéo ”which means“ to repel the enemy ”. Its physical characteristics, accentuated by the thorny branches gave this idea of ​​protection. In many ancient countries, juniper trees were planted precisely to protect the house from evil spirits and malicious men.

It even hit the cracks and crevices of the house hoping for the rejection by the same of diseases and evil spirits. In Italy the symbolic tradition of the juniper has always been very strong, especially in the Pistoia area, where there was not a house where there was not a juniper branch against witches and witches. The juniper and its language also occupy a place of honor in many Christmas legends, but the prettiest is perhaps one of German origin, which teaches how according to a particular ritual a beneficial spirit could be recalled capable of forcing thieves to return stolen items.

Envy, slander, falsehood: the unsuspected language of flowers


In the infinite language of flowers and plants - consisting largely of positive concepts - there is no lack of links with negative and malignant states of thought. Feelings such as envy, slander, falsehood and other petty attitudes, primarily for those who try them, also find their place in this or that element of the earth's flora.

There Florigraphy published with great success since the nineteenth century - often used in situations of clear absence of freedom of expression, abuse and arrogance - has allowed an initial cataloging of flowers and plants on the basis of their symbolic meanings handed down since ancient times. From those elegant nineteenth-century prints with precious and romantic binding, rich in author lithographs and precious engravings, it is possible to draw information on that language with an inexhaustible charm, never out of fashion.

Better to be on your guard, therefore, when you receive some flowers or plants, because it is not excluded - if the giver knows the language of flowers and plants and is in bad faith - that it may be a clear and precise message that is not entirely pleasant, concealed by the beautiful appearance of the gift.

As well as in the manifestation of a positive feeling, the various dictionaries of flowers and plants collect, albeit in smaller quantities, negative terms and expressions that can turn into a beautiful floral gift, apparently the bearer of good thoughts.

There are who is pink and who is rodo-inside, one could summarize with irony. When in doubt, it is better not to be caught unprepared so as to be able to exploit the "antidotes" than the many flower books they provide through meanings of flowers and plants in much higher numbers.

The elegant and majestic Oleander, for example, it is part of those plants with a multiple and unpredictable meaning. According to some sources, in fact, in addition to the most accredited meaning of vanity - understood in its most negative sense - it is attributed a meaning of malice among the most narrow-minded: envy. To communicate hatred and bile, therefore, giving an Oleandro as a gift would seem the simplest choice, probably because of its toxicity, also underlined in Pliny's writings. On the other hand, some lovers of the language of flowers deny this meaning, referring to ancient legends and popular traditions of the medieval age that link this plant to St. Joseph.

Other sources, then, recognize meanings of bravado and recklessness always and in any case, not positive meanings. The debate on the meaning of this shrub with abundant and fragrant flowers is therefore very complex. Beyond its varied meanings, when you receive this plant it is advisable to wash your hands after touching the flowers and leaves, in order to avoid serious intoxication as happened to a group belonging to Napoleon's militias. It is said that those soldiers met their death after feeding on game roasted on the branches of Oleandro.

Envy often gives rise to attitudes of meanness of soul and mediocrity, concepts unexpectedly attributable to the meanings of some flowers and plants.

It is the case, however, ofHellebore, plant of scandal and slander. Its beautiful flowers of various colors embellish the apexes of this plant as told by Petronius in his Satyricon. The genre Helleborus it was officially cataloged by the Parisian botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort. The term would seem to emphasize toxicity with the union of the two meanings of the Greek words that compose it: elein (hit) e bora (food that leads to death). Belonging to the family of Ranuncolaceae Helleboreae that are able to withstand even low temperatures, there are about thirty species extremely different from each other. From black hellebore, also known as Christmas rose, to green (or false) hellebore, to white hellebore: the list gathers different plants, mostly united by poisonousness and an acrid smell, irresistible to many insects.

Known by dyers since ancient times who used its roots to color fabrics, the Guarantee (or Madder) is universally associated with the meaning of slander and backbiting. This negative meaning seems to be linked to the image of lambs - greedy for this plant belonging to the family of Rubiaceae - which in the action of grazing are inevitably dyed blood red on the mouth and teeth. A false image that fits perfectly with the attitude of the mediocre who take advantage of a deceptive appearance to defame the innocent. The flowers of this late-spring plant, on the other hand, have shades between white and light yellow.

Among the meanings of flowers, the concepts of falsehood and lies do not escape. There Sardinian buglossa, to for example, it is a very common herbaceous plant in the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. Perennial and very resistant, this plant is small in size, has serrated leaves with inflorescences that make their first appearance in early Spring until mid-summer, in the range of colors between cerulean and purple. Due to the risk of extinction due to human bad behavior, this plant has been included in the list of protected species whose collection is prohibited. Therefore, it is better not to violate the provisions to collect and donate this flower in a rush of romanticism to avoid fines and incorrect interpretations.

F alsity is also said with the plant Digital, a name that is in itself misleading due to the most common application of our times. Lies pass for this plant that easily adapts to different soils and temperatures. The flowers of the Digitalis - from white to yellow, up to pink, sometimes even spotted - bloom dense on one side of the long stem, maintaining the flowering for a long time. This plant - considered magical in Celtic legends - also contains deadly substances. It should be noted, as often happens, that other meanings are also attributed, due to its features. Flourishing and attractive attractiveness to keep, however, away in order to avoid pitfalls and prejudices.

by the Communication Area

Head of Communication Interflora Italy

Meaning of flowers: juniper, the magical Christmas plant!

Regina thanks to his berries in the kitchen, the plant of juniper boasts a long pagan tradition: Christmas plant that decorates your home with its berries, what's so magical about it?

The Greek name of the juniper, arkeuthos, really means "Repel the enemy" and this definition is well suited to an arboreal plant with thorny branches! L'protection idea linked to the plant, it has always lived so much that in ancient times it was planted near one's home for protect the home from evil spirits and malicious men.

Also in Italy tradition has always existed, so much so that for a long time, especially in the Pistoia area, there was no house where a juniper branch against witches and sorcerer. In the areas ofEmilia instead it was customary to burn its branches on the night of Christmas, New Year's Eve and Epiphany as a lucky charm for the future.

Furthermore, a German legend also tells of how, with a particular ritual, thanks to this plant, thieves could be forced to return stolen items!

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