Dahlias of Lund
Botaniska Tradgarden

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Despite their name, dahlias originate from Mexico, possibly as far back as the Aztecs who might have used them for food and medicine. In 1570 King Phillip II of Spain sent Francisco Hernandez to Mexico to study (and of course steal) the flora and fauna of the country.

He stayed for 7 years and described plants that resemble dahlia species under the names, Acocotli and Cocoxochitl. In 1789 , the director of the Botanical Garden at Mexico City sent plant parts to Antonio Jose Cavarilles, at the Royal Gardens of Madrid in Spain. From these he grew and flowered 3 new plant forms, Dahlia pinnata, D. rosea, and D. coccinea. and named the genus after Andreas Dahl, a Swedish botanist. Go figure.