Derived from the Greek words, Lysis (dissolution) and Anthos (flower), Lisianthus has been dubbed, the Poor mans rose even though it wholesales at almost twice the price of roses. It is multifaceted and looks like many different flowers….. roses, peony, poppy, tulip to name a few.
The lisianthus (Lizzy) originated in the arid desert riverbeds and prairies of North America where it is known as the prairie gentian and the Texas bluebell. We call it the Canterbury bell here in NZ. Although originally from American, the Japanese crossed the prairie gentian in the 1930s. This is the Lisi we have today.
Dates back to the Victorian era and symbolised ” a flashy, showy person”. Although it has recently adapted to symbolise Old fashion values, appreciation, calming thought, gratitude and congeniality. How or why the change is a mystery, as the two are polar opposites for the same flower.
Lisianthus grow to 60cm (2ft) tall and the colours range from white, pink to deep purples and blues. a dwarf version up to 15cm. Flowers can have single or double flowers, each with a wavy sometimes ruffled edge that gives them the appearance of a rose or peony. Their stems are long and slender with leaves at every join.
Its name means “Bitter flower” due to the very bitter taste of the herbal medicine brewed from them. Its compounds contain anti cancer and immunity properties.
The Lizzy is a stunningly beautiful flower in any bouquet, weddings, posies and vase arrangements. Their frilled petals are the epitome of femininity and romance. Stunning in buttonholes, head dresses and make spectacle table centrepieces.
Disclaimer: This article is written from my view as a keen gardener and florist for many years. Plant origin and medicinal values are a compact compilation of my research and personal use. Gift presentations and ideas eventuated and are related to NZ lifestyle and celebrations.