Flower of the Month |Amaranthus

Amaranth are, apparently, a cosmopolitan genus of plants - which if I understand biogeography correctly (which I almost definitely don’t) just means you can find it in a lot of places around the world. We prefer to think of these majestically frilly, catkin-like flowers as cosmopolitan in the more colloquial understanding of the word. You know, moving through a city with startling grace, expensive sunglasses perched atop their blooms, even more expensive high heels under-root. Ordering in French at whatever French restaurant they’re getting their light chlorophyll lunch from that day.

They’re also famously slow to fade in colour and have symbolised immortality in loads of classic literature, from Aesop’s fables to Milton’s Paradise Lost. In fact those two particular examples are so beautiful, I’m going to leave you with two unadorned passages - if for no other reason than to rid your minds of my own half-baked Sex And The City-esque metaphors.

From Aesop’s Fables: An amaranth planted in a garden near a Rose-Tree, thus addressed it: "What a lovely flower is the Rose, a favourite alike with Gods and with men. I envy you your beauty and your perfume." The Rose replied, "I indeed, dear Amaranth, flourish but for a brief season! If no cruel hand pluck me from my stem, yet I must perish by an early doom. But thou art immortal and dost never fade, but bloomest for ever in renewed youth.”

From Milton’s Paradise Lost: 

Immortal amaranth, a flower which once
In paradise, fast by the tree of life,
Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence
To heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows,
And flowers aloft, shading the fount of life,
And where the river of bliss through midst of heaven
Rolls o'er elysian flowers her amber stream: With these that never fade the spirits elect
Bind their resplendent locks.
Amaranthus Pt

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