My, My, My Dahlia!

pink-dahlia-oct-6-blogFlowers, you may think, belong to the spring and summer. The colder months of autumn have few, if any, flowers. But there are still some varieties hanging on. Dahlias are one such flower and today I shall share with you some interesting facts about these beautiful plants.

  • Dahlias originated in Central America. They were not brought to Europe until the latter part of the 18th Century
  • Dahlias grow from tubers in the ground, just like potatoes. These were at one time eaten and are said to have a similar taste to carrots
  • Dahlias were still viewed as vegetables until the 19th Century when Belgian gardeners managed to grow varieties with large and beautiful flowers. Since then an immense variety of dahlias have been cultivated
  • There are over 30 species of dahlias and more than 20,000 types. They come in every colour but two – black and blue
  • yellow-dahlia-oct-6Dahlias belong to the same family as daisies and sunflowers – they are all asters
  • Some dahlias are almost 2 metres tall whilst others are barely 30 cm. Their flowers also vary from the size of a 10 pence piece to the size of a dinner plate
  • You may think that the name ‘dahlia’ sounds quite feminine. They are in fact named after a man – Anders Dahl, who was an 18th Century Swedish botanist

Pollen is in short supply at this time of year so all late-flowering plants are welcome additions to a wildlife-friendly garden. That pollen feeds insects which overwinter here and they in turn feed birds. When flowers drop and seed heads form, you may be tempted to remove them. Please don’t, as these seeds are also a valuable food source. Even weeds like thistles will attract birds such as the goldfinch if you let them form seeds.

So now you know a little bit about dahlias, but how well do you know other flowers? Test yourself by playing our Nature quizzes. We have over sixty of them, many of which are all about flowers, trees and other plants. If you fancy yourself as green-fingered, give them a go and see whether you can score 10 out of 10 on them all!

If you’d like to know more about the dahlia, then you could visit the Eden Project website. It’s a great charity which aims to educate us all about the natural world and, as you know, here at Education Quizzes we share those ideals.

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