Introduction to December Birth Flowers
Although they are very different from one another, the narcissus and the holly (paperwhite) are the most recognizable symbols of the festive season. Both add a splash of color when wintertime comes around, and their long tradition of symbolic meaning makes these flowers more significant than stunning decorations.
What Are the December Birth Flowers?
The Holly is most well-known as an evergreen plant with red berries that are visible later in the season of growth. The holly branches have been used as holiday decorations, such as centerpieces and wreaths.
Narcissus (paperwhite) is a bulb that can be grown indoors, blossoming beautiful white flowers just to time the Christmas season. It is a symbol of pureness and love that is unconditional.
Primary December Birth Flower: Holly
Hollies are part of the Aquifoliaceae family, specifically, the Ilex genus. Ilex. Over 400 species of hollies are not just shrubs but also trees that reach up to 50 feet high. A lot of species have shiny green leaves with spines or serrated edges.
The holly is native to North America, China, Japan, Europe, and North Africa; the holly is one of the very few shining spots that can be found outdoors in the winter, particularly in cold climates.
Hollies are dioecious. You’ll need male and female plants to produce the distinctive red berries. They could also be seen in white, yellow or black. They can also appear as pink, white, or black. Only female varieties can produce the berries.
Holly Meanings and Symbolism
- In Christianity, the holly’s sharp leaves have been used for centuries as an image of the crown of thorns placed over Jesus’s head during his death. The red berries symbolize the blood of Jesus.
- It was a custom for old Romans to present holly during Saturnalia, a harvest celebration celebrated around the winter solstice. People who received it could hang it in their homes to guard against evil spirits.
- When it was Great Britain, the druids decorated the homes of their ancestors with Christmas lights on the solstice of winter. It was believed to represent the revival of life and the light.
- Pagans and Celtics believed that holly was associated with their god, the Holly King, who was thought to reign over Earth between winter and summer solstices.
- Many believed that the holy grail symbolized wealth, hope, and fertility. Recently, it is supposed to represent peace and happiness.
- Due to its sharp leaf, the holly plant was considered a symbol of fighting, pain, and tricks. Others saw the plant as an emblem of defense and protection.
- It was believed that putting the holly near your home would keep away evil spirits as well as protect you from lightning strikes.
Holly in History
- It has for a long time been an essential part of decor during the Christmas season.
- It was reported in the 1800s that Scotland’s Duke of Argyll was able to have a new road that was rerouted to prevent cutting down the old Holly tree.
- It was in 1939 that American Holly was called the official tree of Delaware.
- Holly is used to create pieces and chess boards. Whips used by horses to plow or coach were also made of Hollywood.
- American Holly and English holly are two kinds of holly most frequently used as holiday decorations.
Holly in the Garden
Ideal for planting in the fall and spring. The best time to plant hollies is in full sunlight in well-drained and slightly acidic soil.
The varieties of shrubs are ideal as borders, hedges, or foundation plantings. The larger-growing types can be cut back in spring or late fall to ensure a particular size.
The plant is an essential winter food source for many birds living in warmer climates, whereas other options have waned due to the changing seasons. It is, however, toxic to humans as well as many different species of animals.
Secondary December Birth Flower: Narcissus (Paperwhite)
The Genus Narcissus is one of the Amaryllidaceae family and contains a variety of kinds of flowers, including the Daffodil. The majority of species in the genus are flowering spring flowers.
Originating from the Mediterranean region, Narcissus has since been introduced to many areas of the globe, including North America, Asia, and Europe.
A paperwhite bulb can produce beautiful white flowers and more than 12 flowers.
Narcissus Meanings and Symbolism
- In Greek mythology, it is long believed that Narcissus was named after the legend of Narcissus, the son of the god of the river Cephissus and the goddess Liriope. Narcissus was too obsessed with his appearance, became obsessed with his reflection on the river, and ended up drowning. Flowers of the genus were believed to have come after his death.
- The name “paperwhite” comes because of its delicate petals, described as thinner than paper.
- The paperwhite is believed to symbolize purity, faithfulness, and reverence.
- Some believed the flower held an unfavorable meaning, such as being self-centered.
- Then, in Victorian times, the giving of a narcissus signified that you were “the only one.”
- A flower arrangement of white paperwhites is a means to show unconditional love.
Narcissus in History
The Narcissus family Paperwhites are among the oldest, widely spread, and widely distributed, making it one of the most sought-after flowers in the world.
Because it can bloom in mid-winter, the flower can be linked to an event known as the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Due to its strong smell, Paperwhites are employed in producing perfumes. But, the entire components of the paperwhite can be poisonous, The bulb being the most harmful.
Narcissus in the Garden
Paperwhites are great indoor plants in the winter months. Place the bulbs in soilless planters. The pots should drain well. Bulbs do not appreciate being in a watery environment, but be sure that you don’t let the roots dry out. The bulbs can be in shallow water in a glass bowl of tiny rocks.
Once the plant is established, it should be placed in a dark, cool place for a few weeks to encourage healthy root growth. After that, move it to where it will get plenty of light. When the flower stems start to bud, transfer the plant to an area with filtering light to extend the blooms.
To conclude, December’s birth flowers, holly, and narcissus (paperwhite), embody the spirit of the festive season with their unique beauty and timeless symbolism. Holly, with its evergreen leaves and red berries, represents love, protection, and Christian themes, while narcissus, known for its delicate white blooms, symbolizes purity and faithfulness. Both flowers have rich cultural histories, from ancient myths to modern holiday traditions. Whether adorning homes during the winter season or serving as meaningful gifts, these December birth flowers remind us of the enduring power of nature’s symbols to convey warmth, love and hope during the holiday season.
Read about November’s birth flowers