Delicate pleasures, Departure
Facts & Folkore:
One of April's birthflowers, the delicate and charming Sweet Pea flower has found its way into the English language as an old-fashioned term of endearment. Today, a bouquet containing sweet peas is often used as a thank you gift from departing guests to a host.
From the legume family, the sweet pea is native to Sicily, southern Italy and the Aegean Islands and known for their flower colours (usually in pastel shades of blue, pink, purple and white, including bi-colours) and for their intense unique fragrance. Scottish nurseryman Henry Eckford (1823–1905) cross-bred and developed the sweet pea, turning it from a rather insignificant if sweetly scented flower into a floral sensation of the late Victorian era. Like the elusive blue rose, today's breeders continually experiment to create an as yet unobtainable yellow sweet pea.
Sweet peas were often used for bridal flowers in France believing that the flower would imbue the bride with a steadfastness of purpose and make her dare to go where duty calls her, fearless of comment and regardless of pain. It also would supposedly prevent deception and cause everyone to tell her the truth!
One special bit of folklore surrounding the sweet pea comes from Ireland, where it is believed that if you plant a sweet pea before sunrise between March 1 and March 20, and especially on St. Patrick’s Day, your April sweet peas will grow to be larger and more fragrant.
Unlike edible peas, all parts of the sweet pea are toxic.
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