Flowers are powerfully symbolic in many cultures and historically mean different things in various societies. They come freighted with associations to Greek mythology, world events, magical spells and portents and traditional cures, both medicinal and energetic. Some flowers that symbolize forgetfulness can actually induce it and some symbolize contentment in a spiritual context.
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Flowering dogwood trees grow up and down the East Coast of the United States and elsewhere throughout North America. A tree in full bloom looks like a cloud caught in branches – the blossoms are wide and white with four large bracts and a light-green center. Most people think the white bracts are the petals of the flower but the flowers are actually the tiny center of the bloom. Each miniscule flower opens to release seeds. Dogwood trees are associated with durability, constancy and undiminished love, but the flower is commonly considered to represent forgetfulness.
Several poppy varieties are also thought to represent forgetfulness and here it is easy to see the connection. Poppies contain a powerful narcotic that can induce sleep and is the basis for making opium. The opium poppy means forgetfulness. The white poppy stands for sleep, indecision and forgetfulness; the ordinary poppy symbolizes forgetfulness but also imagination, consolation, pleasure, wealth, dreams and success. After World War II, red poppies were adopted as a symbol of remembrance for war dead so no one would ever forget their sacrifice.
Tiny, pale blue-to-white bluets symbolize contentment. They are North American natives that spread across fields and in sunny woodlands and transplant easily. The plants like dry sandy soil and grow well in rock gardens. Their upturned blue flowers are thought to reflect the serenity of the blue heavens.
The lotus is supposed to embody contentment, a fitting symbol as the flower is often associated with Buddhism and is thought by Buddhists to represent the Buddha. The flower's symbolism stems from the way it grows – the roots are buried in mud at the bottom of a pond and the pristine white and pastel blooms rise above the water towards the sky, suggesting the spiritual journey form darkness to light and the peace of perfect understanding.
The day lily is said to ease sorrow by causing forgetfulness. Traders along the Silk Road from China brought day lilies to Europe and Europeans carried them to America to plant as a food and flower crop. They are historically cultivated as edibles, medicinals and ornamentals. The day lily’s name in Chinese, husan t’sao, means “plant of forgetfulness.” In Feng Shui, day lilies are considered vigorous and representative of yearlong good luck.