IT'S A FLOWERY AFFAIR!

Little India is home to many Indian businesses from big-scale shopping centres to tiny street stalls. Stalls such as these sell anything from magazines and ‘idlis’ to fruits and flowers. While there are many such pint-sized stalls set up all around Little India, the flower stalls are perhaps the most noticeable, thanks to their brightly coloured blossoms. A single stretch of road in the heart of Little India is usually punctuated by at least two of these flower stalls, boasting a collection of fresh flowers specially flown in from India. Stalls such as these in countries outside of the South Asian nation are one of the main contributors to the boom its floriculture business.


Indian floriculture is seeing accelerated growth over the past two decades, thanks to better freight systems that have hooked up the nation to the rest of the world. This has allowed India to actively expand its export market by engaging with Asian, as well as European countries, enabling it to see high profits due to the currency exchange rates.


However, export or not, India always has a loyal following in its local market, due to the cultural significance of flowers in the nation. A typical day at the local wholesale stores sees millions of blooms that have been brought in by local flower producers and a string of street vendors queuing up to purchase their share of the blossoms. The flowers come into the wholesale market in crates and leave in bags weighing at least a few kilograms each!


Hence, there are hundreds of species of flowers being cultivated in India. Some indigenous, some imported centuries ago and others locally hybridized in recent years. However walk past most Indian flower stalls and you will tend to see a few common types of blossoms on display- namely, Jasmines, Marigolds, Chrysanthemums and Roses. Here’s a summary of some basic information about these flowers.


*Disclaimer

The sole purpose of this post is to provide information on the abovementioned plants and flowers. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health problems, please consult a trained health professional who can assess your needs effectively.


While these flowers are readily available singularly, their beauty is only enhanced when they come together in garlands or used as Kolams/Rangolis (colourful art work to decorate the corridors of Indian homes). Click here to read our article on Kolams. Garlands can be found everywhere in India, as they are one of the oldest ways of using flowers for decoration. Most Indian flower stalls showcase their handiwork, which range from balls of flower strands to hefty mega-sized garlands. They are used for weddings, prayers, funerals, home décor, as well as fashion accessories- bangles, crowns and small garlands adorned in hair. These garlands are commonly strung using cotton threads, banana tree fibres or wires, depending on the size and type of flowers being used.


Sources:

1. APEDA Agri Exchange (2013)Indian Production (Data set). Available from http://agriexchange.apeda.gov.in/

2. BBC (2011) India’s love affair with flowers (Slideshow). Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-radio-and-tv-15735852

3. Chrysanthemum (n.d.). Digherbs. Retrieved from http://www.digherbs.com/chrysanthemum.html

4. Chrysanthemum [PDF document]. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Website: http://agridr.in/tnauEAgri/eagri50/HORT281/pdf/lec38.pdf

5. Chrysanthemum (n.d.) in Flowers of India. Retrieved from http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Chrysanthemum.html

6. Jasmine, Indian flower (June 14, 2013) in India NetZone. Retrieved from http://www.indianetzone.com/3/jasmine.htm

7. Majumder, J. , Rai, P., Perinban, S. & Singh, B. (n.d.) Guidelines for the production of Marigold (Tagetes erecta L.) in North Indian Condition . Retrieved from http://www.krishisewa.com/cms/articles/production-technology/393-mariggold-production.html

8. Marigold. (n.d.) Retrieved January 14, 2015 from the iloveindia: http://www.iloveindia.com/indian-herbs/marigold.html

9. Maharishi Ayurveda (n.d.) Why the Rose Balances the Heart. Retrieved from http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/personal-goals/balance-the-heart-with-roses-and-ayurveda.html

10. Randhawa, G.S. & Mukhopadhyay, A. (2004). Marigold. In Commercial Floriculture. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.sg/books?id=2H4-39ZufiEC&pg=PA387&lpg=PA387&dq=French+marigold+india&source=bl&ots=LbIaZYFzod&sig=AiTXa3QJJVOWFcI_yOmS6InLBAs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=TsS0VKfEG4yxuATgioKYDw&ved=0CD8Q6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=French%20marigold%20india&f=false

11.Viraraghacan,G. (n.d.) The History of Roses in India. Indian Rose Federation-World Federation of Rose Societies. Retrieved from http://www.irf-wfrsindia2014.com/history.html

Images:

1. Adityamadhav83. (Owner). (2013). (Tagetes erecta) Marigold flower at Madhurawada 03. jpg, Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tagetes_erecta_Marigold_flower_at_Madhurawada_03.JPG

2. Ganguly, B. (Owner). (2012). Chrysanthemum- Indian Botanic Gardens-Howrah 2012-01-29 1759.jpg, Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chrysanthemum_-_Indian_Botanic_Garden_-_Howrah_2012-01-29_1759.JPG

3. Jasmine flower.jpg. (Wikimedia Commons Photograph). (2011). Retrieved January 14, 2015, Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jasmine_flower.jpg

4. Rameshng. (Owner). (2011). Rose flowers at lalbagh flower show 2011 7385.jpg, Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rose_flowers_at_lalbagh_flower_show_2011_7385.JPG

So the next time you pass by an Indian flower stall, you will probably be able to identify some of the flowers on display. However, you might find yourself mesmerised by the florist’s nimble fingers as you watch the flowers being strung into lovely garlands. If so, why not learn flower stringing?


Contact Brainworks Education at enquiry@brainwksedu.com for more information on flower stringing and other Indian cultural activities.


Perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson was right, “the earth laughs in flowers”.

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