Meet Mexico's National Flower, The Dahlia

Image: @aghaven​​

The national flower of any country is one of great importance. 

It tells the history and life of the people, and is a trademark of the environment. 

With a country, such as Mexico, having such a rich culture and long history, it is only right that a flower as equally colorful and full of life is representative of the nation. 

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Image:​​ @aghaven

Strong, striking, and vibrant, are only a few words to describe the beautiful Dahlia.

Standing roughly between 15 inches and 6 feet (some being even taller), the flower has elongated velvety and colorful petals which stand out against its dark green foliage.

Blooming from the start of summer until the first frost of winter, it has the longest blooming period of any flower. 

Currently, there are 42 different Dahlia species alone with various subspecies.Native to Mexico, this flower was known to the Aztec people as “acocoxóchitl” roughly translating to “flower of hollow stems with water.” 

This multipurpose flower was used to transport water, was incorporated in food, and was used as medical treatments for epilepsy.

It wasn’t until later on that scientists discovered the sugar extracted from the flower was useful in diabetes treatments - prior to the use of insulin. 

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Image: ​​@aghaven

After the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, the love of the Dahlia spread to Europe. 

Some of the first documentation of the flower was written by Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún and a few years later in the Codex Barberini of 1552. 

It wasn’t until 1963 that President Adolfo López Mateos declared the Dahlia as the national flower of Mexico.

Considered as one of Mexico’s gifts to the world, the Dahlia can be found growing in nearly every country today. 

For true Dahlia lovers, this flower will add incredible color to your home and you can try it in Oaxacan cuisine. 

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To learn more about the Dahlia’s and the work of the Asociación Mexicana de la Dalia y Acocoxóchitl click here.

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About the Author

Eliana Flores-Barber

Eliana Flores-Barber is a Mexican-American writer and photographer based out of California. She graduated from Emerson College with a journalism degree and an art history minor. Her love of storytelling comes from her grandparents who always shared stories of their family history and life in Mexico. When she is not working, you can find her on the tennis court.

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