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12 November 2020

Floral Diversity: i-Flowers For Your Garden: Indian Blanket, Indian Pink, and the Iris

Indian Blanket, Indian Pink, and the Iris are three (3) flowers that you will love. 


You will love the Indian Blanket and Indian Pink because of their glorious colors.

The scientific name for Indian Blanket is Gaillardia pulchella and the scientific name for Indian Pink is Spigelia marilandica. Both are spectacular red and yellow. I can see why the common name includes the word “Indian” because the bright colors do remind me of clothing worn by Native American Indians.

The Indian Blanket flower is a wildflower that grows all over North and South America. If you live on either of these 2 continents, chances are you've seen this flower but you didn't know the name. Other names for this flower are Fire Wheel and Sundance. Native Americans dry them and use it for medicinal teas. Here is a cool fun fact: Gaillardia is the official flower of the state of Oklahoma. I've never been to Oklahoma. But I live in Texas and the folks here like the flower so much that they chose the colors as the official school colors for the Texas State University.
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The Indian Pink is a wildflower that grows in the greater southeastern United States (from Florida up to New Jersey and over as far as Texas). It has other names like Little Redhead or Pinkroot. Newbie gardeners probably like them because they are perennials, grow in the shade, and are pollinated by hummingbirds. However, there have been many complaints that the flower is disappearing due to overharvesting. Like most wildflowers, this flower has medicinal properties. People use it to get rid of the roundworm and tapeworm. But it also contains tannin which can be used for what seems like “anti” everything! Antibacterial, anticancer, antihypertensive, antioxidant, antitumor, antiulcer, antiviral, etc. It's even anti-HIV. Some Native American tribes use it in ceremonies to induce visions and foretell the future because it has hallucinogenic properties. Experienced herbalists warn that an incorrect dosage of medicines made from Indian Pink could have deadly consequences.
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When I say Iris, you say Which color? This is a beautiful spring flower and it grows in pale blue, mauve, pink, yellow, and blue-violet (what I call purple). All are gorgeous! But I fancy the purple ones.

Irises in Mythology: “According to Greek mythology, when the gods wanted to communicate with mortals on earth they sent a messenger. The messenger was a goddess who, with golden wings, traveled to earth on a rainbow. Legend has it that wherever this goddess set foot on earth, colorful flowers sprung up. The goddess in question was Iris, and the flowers that were said to grow where she set foot bear her name.” (Quote Source: “Iris: A Brief History”)

Irises in Art: Vincent Van Gogh loved painting Irises. Guess what! He started painting them while he was in an asylum. Van Gogh had problems. But at least he did try to get help for himself. After all, he committed himself to the asylum. While he was there, could there be any better mental therapy than painting Irises? I wonder. Did he need a psychiatrist or did he just need a place to getaway? Only Van Gogh knows for sure. 
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Irises have been used for both health and beauty purposes. It was used to cure dropsy and also to remove freckles. 

I'll conclude with these 2 fun facts.

(1) In America, the iris is the state flower of Tennessee.

(2) In France, the iris is the national emblem and it is known as the "fleur-de-lis" or flower of Louis, in honor of the kings of France.


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