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19 Mar 2019

8 flora facts about dazzling Dahlias

The bright and colourful collection of Dahlias at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah has been bringing a sense of wonder and joy to plant lovers from around the world. The impressive display has an extensive range of colours, shapes, sizes and best of all - quirky names. 

Through selective breeding over many years, florists and horticulturists have been able to change the patterns and colours of the different flowers to create the incredible diversity we see today.

Unlike many other flowers, Dahlias are octoploids, which means that they have eight sets of chromosomes. For reference, humans only have two.

This means there are countless hybridisation opportunities and an amazing genetic diversity which allows us to create the desirable characteristics.

Below is a selection of our favourite flora facts about Dahlias and impressive pics from Curator Manager Greg Bourke.

blue mountains botanic garden, mount tomah, dahlias
Dahlia Yellow

 

1. There are 42 species of Dahlia, but countless numbers of hybrids. New species continue to be described and discovered every year.
 

blue mountains botanic garden, mount tomah, dahlias
Dahlia Winkie Welver

2. Dahlias are actually native to Mexico and are their national flower.

 
blue mountains botanic garden, mount tomah, dahlias
Dahlia Tartan

3. The root tubers were grown as a food crop and eaten by the Aztecs.

 
blue mountains botanic garden, mount tomah, dahlias
Dahlia Rhubarb

4. The Aztecs also used the plant to treat epilepsy and the long hollow stems for water pipes.

 
blue mountains botanic garden, mount tomah, dahlias
Dahlia Nugget

5. Before insulin was discovered, diabetics used ‘Atlantic starch’ extracted from dahlia tubers.

 
blue mountains botanic garden, mount tomah, dahlias
Dahlia Marwark

6. They are part of the Asteraceae plant family and are related to sunflowers and daisies.

 
blue mountains botanic garden, mount tomah, dahlias
Dahlia Ken's Gala

7. Botanists originally thought it was a vegetable because of its edible tubers!

 
blue mountains botanic garden, mount tomah, dahlias
Dahlia Fantasy

8. Dahlias were Queen Victoria and Marie Antionette’s favourite flower.


The year of the Dahlia

The National Garden Bureau, a non-profit organization promoting the pleasures of home gardening, announced that 2019 was the year of the Dahlia.

This must-see display at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah is located in the Formal Garden and will be in full bloom until the end of April. 

The Garden is only 90 minutes from Sydney and is a fantistic road trip for the whole family using the Blue Mountains Road Trip interactive map. Enjoy the breathtaking views from our restaurant, The Potager or plan a weekend getaway and stay at the Jungle Lodge.

blue mountains botanic garden, mount tomah, dahlias
Dahlias at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah. 
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