From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Holman Bible Dictionary [1]


(1) Almond blossoms ( Genesis 43:11;  Exodus 25:33-34;  Exodus 37:19-20;  Numbers 17:8;  Ecclesiastes 12:5 ). This tree, a member of the rose family, had beautiful pink blossoms that the Israelites used as models for engravers to adorn the cups of the golden lampstand.

(2) Bulrush ( Exodus 2:3;  Job 8:11;  Isaiah 18:2;  Isaiah 35:7 ), sometimes is referred to as “flag,” “papyrus” (NIV), “reed” (NAS), or “rush” (NEB). This tall, slender reedlike plant grew along the banks of the Nile River and provided the earliest known material for making paper and covering the frames of boats ( Isaiah 18:2 ).

(3) Calamus leaves ( Exodus 30:23; Song of  Song of Solomon 4:14;  Isaiah 43:24;  Jeremiah 6:20;  Ezekiel 27:19 ). The leaves from this plant were a sweet-smelling cane or ginger grass. The leaves, when crushed, gave a much relished ginger smell. It was apparently imported from India for use in worship ( Jeremiah 6:20 ). Several Hebrew expressions lie behind “calamus.” The basic Hebrew term qaneh means, “cane.” It is modified in   Exodus 30:23 by the word for balsam, apparently referring to sweet cane or Cymbopogon . A similar plant may be meant by qaneh tob in   Jeremiah 6:20 , to meaning either “good” or “perfumed.” Elsewhere, qaneh ooccurs without modification and may refer to different types of cane. For example, in   1 Kings 14:15 the giant reed Arundo donax may be meant. Compare   Job 40:21;  Isaiah 19:6;  Isaiah 35:7 .

(4) Camphire flowers (sometimes referred to as Henna) (Song of  Song of Solomon 1:14; Song of  Song of Solomon 4:13; Song of  Song of Solomon 7:11 —see REB). The camphire was a small plant or shrub that bore beautiful cream-colored flowers that hung in clusters like grapes and were highly scented. It was used for orange dye.

(5) Caperberry flowers ( Ecclesiastes 12:5 ). The caperberry was a prickly shrub which produced lovely flowers and small, edible berries as it grew in rocks and walls. It was supposed to stimulate sexual desires and powers. Kjv, Nrsv, Niv, Tev translate the Hebrew term as “desire” in  Ecclesiastes 12:5 , but REB and NAS follow recent Hebrew dictionaries in translating, “caperberry.”

(6) Cockle flowers ( Job 31:40 ) were the purplish red flowers of a noxious weed called the “cockle” or “darnel” ( Lolium tenulentumro ). This plant grew abundantly in Palestinian grain fields. Its Hebrew name is spelled like the Hebrew word for “stink” and thus is translated “stinkweed” by NAS.

(7) Crocus (Song of  Song of Solomon 2:1;  Isaiah 35:1 ) was a spring flowering herb with a long yellow floral tube tinged with purple specks or stripes. It is sometimes translated as rose. Technically, it was probably the asphodel (REB).

(8) Fitch ( Isaiah 28:25-27 ) KJV calls this flower the “fitch,” but the better designation is probably the nutmeg flower. This flower was a member of the buttercup family and grew wildly in most Mediterranean lands. The plant was about two feet high and had bright blue flowers. The pods of the plant were used like pepper. Technically the plant is probably dill (Nrsv, Nas, Reb ) or more precisely black cummin ( Nigella sativaro ). NIV translates, “caraway.”

(9) Leek ( Numbers 11:5 ), a member of the lily family, was a bulbous biennial plant with broad leaves. The bases of the leaves were eaten as food. The bulbs of this plant were used as seasoning. Israel relished the memory of leeks ( Allium porrumro ) from Egypt.

(10) Lily (1Kings  Numbers 7:19 ,Numbers 7:19, 7:22 ,Numbers 7:22, 7:26;  2 Chronicles 4:5; Song of  Song of Solomon 2:1-2 ,Song of  Song of Solomon 2:16; Song of  Song of Solomon 5:13; Song of  Song of Solomon 6:2-3; Song of  Song of Solomon 7:2;  Hosea 14:5 ). The term “lily” covered a wide range of flowers. The most common was Lilius candidum. The lily mentioned in Song of  Song of Solomon 5:13 refers to a rare variety of lily that had a bloom similar to a glowing flame. The “lily of the valley” (Song of   Song of Solomon 2:1-2 ,Song of  Song of Solomon 2:16 ) is known as the Easter lily. The lily mentioned in  Hosea 14:5 is more akin to an iris. The beautiful water lily or lotus was a favorite flower in Egypt and was used to decorate Solomon's Temple (1Kings 7:19,1Kings 7:22,  1 Kings 7:26;  2 Chronicles 4:5 ). The “lilies of the field” ( Matthew 6:28;  Luke 12:27 ) were probably numerous kinds of colorful spring flowers such as the crown anemone.

(11) Mandrake ( Genesis 30:14-16; Song of  Song of Solomon 7:13 ). The mandrake, a herb of the nightshade family, had a rosette of large leaves and mauve flowers during winter and fragrant and round yellow fruit during spring. The mandrake grew in fields and rough ground. It was considered to give sexual powers and probably can be identified as Atropa Mandragora , rooften used for medicine in ancient times.

(12) Mint ( Matthew 23:23;  Luke 11:42 ) was an aromatic plant with hairy leaves and dense white or pink flowers, probably jucande olens . Mint was used to flavor food. The Jews scattered it on the floors of houses and synagogues for its sweet smell.

(13) Myrtle branches ( Nehemiah 8:15;  Isaiah 41:19;  Isaiah 55:13;  Zechariah 1:8-11 ). Myrtle bushes ( Myrtus communisro ), which grew on Palestinian hillsides, had fragrant evergreen leaves and scented white flowers. The flowers on the myrtle branches were used as perfumes.

(14) Pomegranate blossoms ( Exodus 28:33 ,  Numbers 13:23;  1 Samuel 14:2;  1 Kings 7:18 ) from the pomegranate tree ( Punica granatumro ) had dark green leaves with large orange-red blossoms. Decorators carved pomegranates on public buildings. The fruit symbolized fertility and was used to tan leather and for medicine.

(15) Rose (Song of  Song of Solomon 2:1;  Isaiah 35:1 ). Several varieties of roses could be found in Palestine. The rose was a member of the crocus family. Traditionally, what is considered a rose is not the flower mentioned in Scripture. The “rose” is more generally considered an asphodel. See Crocus above.

(16) Saffron (Song of  Song of Solomon 4:14 ). Saffron ( Curcuma longa or Crocus sativasro ) is a species of crocus. In ancient times the petals of the saffron flower were used to perfume banquet halls. The type meant in Song of  Song of Solomon 4:14 may be an exotic plant imported from India.

Other Though not specifically mentioned by kind in the Bible, other varieties of flowers grew in Palestine. Appearing as early as January were the pink, white, and lilac blossoms of the cyclamen. Dominating many landscapes were the various shades of reds and pinks of the crown anemones, poppies, and mountain tulips. Some short-lived summer flowers were the yellow and white daisylike chrysanthemums.

Figurative Uses of “Flowers” The striking manner in which flowers burst into bloom for a few short weeks in spring and then faded into withered leaves was viewed as an illustration of the transient nature of human life ( Job 14:2;  Psalm 103:15;  Isaiah 40:6;  1 Peter 1:24 ). The flowers of spring (Song of  Song of Solomon 2:12 ) signify renewal. The “fading flower” of  Isaiah 28:1 represented the downfall of God's disobedient people. The “lilies of the field” (  Matthew 6:28 ) grew unassumingly and without any outward signs of anxiety. If God takes care of the lilies, so God will take care of His children who need not worry uselessly. The phrase “flower of her age” ( 1 Corinthians 7:36 ) described a girl reaching womanhood. The rich pass away just as quickly as the period of time for blooming flowers passes away ( James 1:10-11 ).

Gary Hardin

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

Flowers —Palestine has a flora of wonderful wealth and variety. The known species exceed three thousand, and even this large list is probably far from complete. But numbers alone convey no adequate idea of its varied nature. This little land contains within its narrow limits the most remarkable diversities of soil, surface, and climate. As is the land so is its flora, which at the one extreme, amid the heights of Lebanon, is Alpine in its character, and at the other extreme, in the gorge of the Dead Sea, tropical.

In the NT there are very few references to flowers, and these are of the most general character ( James 1:10-11;  1 Peter 1:24). In the Gospels the only mention of them is in the words of our Lord, ‘Consider the lilies of the field’ ( Matthew 6:23,  Luke 12:27). It is noteworthy that it is to their beauty that Christ appeals; elsewhere in the NT flowers are the emblem of frailty and evanescence. But in spite of the comparative infrequency of Scripture allusions to them or praise of their beauty, the Jews were lovers of flowers. This is attested by the floral ornamentation on the woodwork of the oracle ( 1 Kings 6:18), the folding-doors ( 1 Kings 6:35), and the pillars of the temple ( 1 Kings 7:22), the brim of the molten sea ( 1 Kings 7:26), and the golden candlestick ( Exodus 25:31;  Exodus 25:33). From the Mishna we learn that at the Feast of Harvest ( Exodus 23:16) the first crop of fruit offered at the altar was decked with flowers ( Bikkurim , ii. 3).

Among the beautiful flowers of Palestine may be mentioned anemones, crocuses, cyclamens, gladioli, hyacinths, irises, poppies, roses, and tulips.

Hugh Duncan.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

FLOWERS. 1. nizzân , only   Song of Solomon 2:12 .   Song of Solomon 2:2 . ziz ,   Isaiah 28:1;   Isaiah 28:4;   Isaiah 40:6 ,   Job 14:2 , ‘blossoms’   Numbers 17:8 .   Numbers 17:3 . nizzah used of the inconspicuous flowers of vine and olive,   Isaiah 18:5 ,   Job 15:33 .   Job 15:4 . perach ,   Exodus 25:33 ,   Isaiah 18:5 , AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘bud,’ RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘blossom,’   Nahum 1:4 . Flowers are one of the attractive features of Palestine: they come in the early spring (  Song of Solomon 2:12 ), but fade all too soon, the brilliant display being a matter of but a few short weeks. Hence they are an appropriate symbol of the evanescence of human life (  Job 14:2 ,   Psalms 103:15 etc.). The ‘lilies of the field’ of   Matthew 6:28 may have been a comprehensive term for the brilliant and many-coloured anemones, the irises, the gladioli, etc., which lend such enchantment to the hillsides in March and April.

E. W. G. Masterman.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [4]

Very few flowers are named in the Bible. The most commonly mentioned are those of the lily family (Song of  Song of Solomon 2:16;  Song of Solomon 6:2;  Hosea 14:5;  Matthew 6:28). A kind of wild rose is also mentioned (Song of  Song of Solomon 2:1;  Isaiah 35:1). The flower of the mandrake plant had a strong smell that people believed could excite sexual passion ( Genesis 30:14-16; Song of  Song of Solomon 7:13).

People have always seen beauty in flowers, and flower patterns were prominent in the decorations of the tabernacle and the temple ( Exodus 25:31-34;  1 Kings 6:18;  1 Kings 6:29-35;  1 Kings 7:26;  1 Kings 7:49). Although they are beautiful, flowers do not last long. Because of this the Bible sometimes refers to them as symbols of the brevity and impermanence of life ( Job 14:2;  Nahum 1:4;  James 1:10-11;  1 Peter 1:24).

Easton's Bible Dictionary [5]

 Song of Solomon 2:12 Matthew 6:28 Job 14:2 Psalm 103:15 Isaiah 28:1 40:6 James 1:10 Song of Solomon 4:16 6:2

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [6]

 Leviticus 15:24,  Leviticus 15:33 (b) The term is used to describe the monthly sickness, the menstrual period to which all women are subject.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [7]

flou´ẽ̱rz (BLOOM, Blossom , etc.):

(1) גּבעל , gibh‛ōl , literally, "a small cup," hence, calyx or corolla of a flower ( Exodus 9:31 , "The flax was in bloom").

(2) נץ , nēc ( Genesis 40:10 , נצּה , niccāh , "a flower" or "blossom";  Job 15:33;  Isaiah 18:5 ). These words are used of the early berries of the vine or olive.

(3) נצּן , niccān , "a flower"; plural only, נצּנים , niccānı̄m ( Song of Solomon 2:12 , "The flowers appear on the earth").

(4) פרח , peraḥ , root to "burst forth" expresses an early stage of flowering; "blossom" ( Isaiah 5:24;  Isaiah 18:5 ); "flower" ( Nahum 1:4 , "The flower of Lebanon languisheth"). Used of artificial flowers in candlesticks ( Exodus 25:31 ).

(5) ציץ , cı̄c , "flower" ( Isaiah 40:6 ); plural צצּים , ciccı̄m , flowers as architectural ornaments ( 1 Kings 6:18 ); ציצה , cı̄cāh , "the fading flower of his glorious beauty" ( Isaiah 28:1 ,  Isaiah 28:4; also  Numbers 17:8;  Job 14:2 , etc.).

(6) ἄνθος , ánthos , in Septuagint equivalent of all the Hebrew words ( James 1:10 ,  James 1:11;  1 Peter 1:24 ).

The beauty of the profusion of flowers which cover Palestine every spring receives but scant reference in the Old Testament;  Song of Solomon 2:12 is perhaps the only clear reference. It is noticeable that the native of Syria thinks little of flowers unless it be for their perfume. our Lord's reference to the flowers ("lilies") is well known (  Matthew 6:28;  Luke 12:27 ). For details of the flowers of modern Palestine, see Botany . The aptness of the expression "flower of the field" for a type of the evanescence of human life ( Job 14:2;  Psalm 103:15;  Isaiah 40:6;  James 1:10 ) is the more impressive in a land like Palestine where the annual display of wild flowers, so glorious for a few short weeks, is followed by such desolation. The fresh and brilliant colors fade into masses of withered leaves (not uncommonly cleared by burning), and then even these are blown, away, so that but bare, cracked and baked earth remains for long months where once all was beauty, color and life.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [8]

( נַדָּה , Niddah', uncleanness, as often elsewhere rendered) stands in  Leviticus 15:21;  Leviticus 15:33, for the menstrual discharge of females. Flowers. 1. It was an ancient practice to strew flowers on graves. Jerome bestows the following commendation on Pammachius: "While other husbands throw thorns, lilies, violets, roses, and purple flowers upon the graves of their wives, our Pammachius waters the bones and holy ashes of his wife with the balsam of alms. With these perfumes and odors he solaces the ashes of the dead that lie at rest" (Epist. 26).

2. The practice of decorating churches with flowers is very common in the Roman, and some of the Protestant churches of the Continent, and exists in various parts of England. It probably arose out of a desire to "honor the first-fruits" of nature's most beautiful productions, and may therefore be retained among things in themselves indifferent. The modern Ritualists, however, carry this, as other things, to excess. Bingham, Orig. Eccles. book 23, chapter 3, § 20; Walcot, Sacred Archaeology, page 280; Barrett, Flowers and Festivals, or Directions for the Floral Decoration of Churches (London, 1868).