But let experts understand this. It seems to me that another fact is much more curious: the Indians ate the tubers of the plant, and the hollow trunks were used as water pipes. It may seem strange to us now, but after all, Mexican dahlias, in comparison with ours, are simply giants. Dahlia imperialis, for example, reaches several meters in height.
Almost a century after Fernan Cortes executed the Aztec emperor Montezuma II, Spanish doctor F. Hernandez first described dahlias, retaining one of the local names - akkotl. It happened in 1615. Then, in the second half of the 8th century, several other Europeans paid attention to the flowers in Guaxaca and went to collect them for the botanical garden of Mexico City, and at the same time to send them to Madrid.
When the dahlia tubers were delivered to Spain, it was assumed that, following the Indian tradition, it was possible to use them to satisfy gastronomic interests, like potatoes. But the taste of tubers turned out to be unsuitable for European stomachs, but the monarch was so delighted with flowers that he ordered to grow only in the royal garden of the Escurial Palace.
A. Kavanillis, the royal botanist, having studied the plant, gave him not only a description, but also another name - Dalia - produced by him on behalf of his Swedish colleague A. Dahl, a student of Carl Linnaeus. Despite all the precautions taken to preserve the Mexican miracle in one place only, less than a decade and a half, as it appeared in France, and soon - England and Germany, Belgium, Holland.
In some sources this story seems to be simply detective: as if the flowers were stolen from the flowerbeds, being torn from them together with voluminous clods of earth, i.e., these same flowerbeds turned out to be completely disfigured. The Spanish monarch was terribly angry and immediately attributed the theft to the French, since the country had tense relations with them. According to another version, the dahlia planting material was presented to Marquise Bube, the wife of the English Ambassador in Spain.
But the behavior of the Germans did not like Madrid. The fact is that the German breeder Karl Ludwig Wilden opposed the appropriateness of the name “Dahlia” on the grounds that it had already been received by one of the South American bushes and suggested renaming the plant to dahlia in honor of Professor Petersburg Academy of Sciences Johann Gotlib George. So Russia turned out to be in a certain way involved in the origin of the word that is so familiar to our ears today. But in scientific classifications the flower is called Dahlia.
Then a nuisance happened: Dahlia dahlias in Europe began to decay, and in order to save them, an expedition was needed to search for wild species in order to cross with them. The honor of the finds belongs to Alexander Humboldt and Aime Bonplan: they traveled around America for five years, visiting Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Cuba, the United States, and only in the mountains of Mexico had their luck waited so long.
The 19th century is called the golden one for dahlias, for Europe has survived the “dahlia rush”. The prices of both cut flowers and tubers jumped to the point that legends began to arise about how poor gardeners became almost millionaires thanks to her (however, coupled with “tulip fever” - it could very well be that this happened). Due to this circumstance, the dahlias “got” to Russia: after showing them at the flower exhibition in Moscow in 1884, a real boom began.
Nowadays, it is easy for any amateur gardener to buy dahlias for his garden, and after all, lush feasts for the nobility were once held in their honor, and not everyone could afford them. Of course, there are many flowers whose history in Europe is much longer, but you must admit that this relatively young “European resident” turned out to be rather turbulent.
And remember, like Athanasius Fet?
Yesterday - the sun was really low -
In the midst of a dahlia I walked yours,
And as a live odalisk
It was each of them.
How many ardent or languid
With a velvet eyelash tilt,
Cheerful, sad and immodest
Everywhere smiled faces!
It seemed there was no end to their dreams.
In the soft bosom of silence, -
And now morning frost
They stand singed.
But the former secret charm
From them breathed again
And over the silent withering
I am somehow ashamed to grumble.