The stems are leafy, ranging in height from as low as 30 cm to more than 1.8–2.4 m. The majority of species do not produce scented flowers or cultivars. Like most plants that do not attract pollinating insects through scent they are brightly colored displaying most hues with the exception of blue.
The dahlia was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963. The tubers were grown as a food crop by the Aztecs but this use largely died out after the Spanish Conquest. Attempts to introduce the tubers as a food crop in Europe were unsuccessful.
Dahlias are annual blooming plants with mostly tuberous roots. While some have herbaceous stems others have stems which lignify in the absence of secondary tissue and resprout following winter dormancy allowing further seasons of growth. As a member of the Asteraceae the flower head is actually a composite hence the older name Compositae with both central disc florets and surrounding ray florets. Each floret is a flower in its own right but is often incorrectly described as a petal particularly by horticulturists. The modern name Asteraceae refers to the appearance of a star with surrounding rays.
In the language of flowers, Dahlias represent dignity and instability as well as meaning my gratitude exceeds your care.
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