Can You Identify These Flowers You Might Find in a Garden?


By: Beth Hendricks

6 Min Quiz

Image: Barbara Ambrose photography / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

The popular children's rhyme by Mother Goose that begins, "Mary, Mary, quite contrary...," gets really specific about the types of flowers that work for the mysterious Mary: "... silver bells and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row." Sadly, we don't have any "silver bells" or "cockle shells" in this quiz, but we do have a plethora of beautiful blooms that would look great in any garden. 

What's cool about flowers (besides their lovely appearance and fragrant smell, of course) is that many have interesting histories. Poinsettias, for example, are closely linked to the Christmas season and were first brought into the United States by its first Minister to Mexico (and namesake), Joel Poinsett. Another interesting example, the daisy, is attached to a Celtic legend that claimed that the souls of children who died in childbirth used the flowers to cheer up their grieving parents. Some flowers, like the dahlia, were used for medicinal purposes. Others, like the sunflower, were worshipped by some cultures!

We don't need to worship any of the blooms in this quiz or use them to treat your ailments. Instead, we want to see how many of the flowers that might appear in a green thumb's garden you can identify. Do you know a bellflower from a bergenia? How about the difference between a lupine and a lobelia? No medals or trophies for succeeding here, though, but how about a beautiful bouquet? Let's go!

This flower made a song lyric that goes, "Why do you build me up (build me up), __________, baby, just to let me down." What flower is it?

We're pretty sure that The Foundations weren't talking about the buttercup flower, but using the word as a term of endearment for someone special. Regardless, the buttercup is a sunny little yellow flower that we like a lot.


Which of these flowers' bulb was considered more valuable than gold at one point in Holland's history?

It was the 1600s in the Netherlands – a place we typically associate with tulips – when something legitimate called "tulip mania" struck Holland's citizens. The bulbs were being sold at high prices, much like we see stocks traded in the U.S. today.


If you love the taste of vanilla, you have this flower to thank for it. Which is it?

Vanilla planifolia, a species of vanilla orchid, is where you can attribute the fragrant (and delicious!) vanilla flavor you use today. The vanilla orchid grows like a vine and its pods start out as green but are dried out over the course of several months to give them the appearance you recognize in grocery stores.


This flower was named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow. What is it?

Even today, Greeks place irises on the graves of deceased loved ones. According to mythology, Iris relayed messages between heaven and earth, utilizing the rainbow as a medium. The symbolism of the iris on graves is meant to convey a loved one's wishes for Iris to guide them from earth to heaven.


This flower has its own festival in France every May 1. Which bloom is it?

May 1 is a public holiday in France, but it's not because of the Lily-of-the-Valley. It's National Labour Day, but it's also a day to honor this fragrant bloom. The tradition is said to have started with King Charles IX back in the 1500s.


Which of these blooms always turns its face toward the glowing star in the sky?

O.K., that was a fairly easy one, right? Sunflower? Sun? It's still a pretty cool flower to mention and to have in a garden. They really do turn their heads to follow the sun, and despite the fact they look like one giant bloom, they're actually made up of numerous tiny flowers.


You might think of this bloom as a weed, but it's classified as a flower. What is it?

Most people love to pick these little flowers as soon as they pop up in a garden because they think of them as weeds. Science says otherwise; dandelions are the common name of the flower genus known as taraxacum.


Which of these flowers is known for its nearly 1,800 different species?

Begonias are one of the most expansive of flower species, with somewhere between 1,700 and 1,800 types based on estimates from scientists. People generally flock toward this flower because of its ornamental bloom.


This member of the rhododendron family is sometimes called the "royalty of the garden." What do we know it as?

Most azalea types bloom from fall to spring and have been nicknamed the "royalty of the garden" for their abundance of blooms in a variety of colors. Azaleas also make a popular choice for adding to a bouquet.


The Chinese valued this flower and named it among its "noble plants." Which flower is it?

The Chinese thought so much of the chrysanthemum that they named it to their very short list (just four!) of noble plants. In this group, it takes its place among the orchid, the plum and bamboo.


If you're going to give someone this flower, be sure you give them more than one. Legend has it that a single stem of which of these is considered bad luck?

According to legend, presenting someone with a single daffodil is likely to bring bad luck upon them, but an entire bouquet of them is another matter. That is considered to bring the recipient the best of luck.


You'll probably need a trellis if you opt to grow one of these vining flowers. What is it?

The clematis, a vining, flowering plant, needs support – and we don't mean of the moral variety. Because of its quick-growing and climbing ways, a trellis will help support the plant as it expands.


Seattleites – that's people from Seattle – enjoy this as their city's official flower. Which one is it?

The dahlia was named the official flower of the city of Seattle in the early 1900s. After passing the ordinance, city officials and gardening experts put their heads together to plant more of the official flowers around the city.


These happy-looking flowers are actually two different blooms and not just one. What do we know it as?

Want to cheer someone up? A bundle of this cheery-looking flower should do the trick. Except this "flower" is actually two different flowers. Its white petals make up one flower, while the yellow center is another.


According to the band, Poison, every one of these flowers has its thorn. What is it?

A popular song when it was released in the 1980s, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" was a hit by rock group Poison. Of course, roses do have thorns, so the song is pretty factually accurate. Be careful with these beauties.


The shape of this flower's bloom might remind you of a mouse's ears. Which flower is it?

The forget-me-not flower's scientific name, "myosotis," is from the Greek for – you guessed it – mouse's ear. This is an appropriate name since its small bloom resembles the shape of this rodent's ear.


Various colors of this flower mean things like purity, joy and passion. What flower are we talking about?

Freesias come in many different colors, each color meaning something different. Like many flowers, the white ones represent purity, yellow symbolizes joy and red means passion.


This flower is sensitive to water; get it too wet and it will turn brown. What is it?

Be careful not to overwater this flower. When it gets too wet, it reacts by turning brown. Gardenias are beloved for their gorgeous foliage and strong (but pleasant) floral smell.


Plant these and you'll have a native South African bloom in your garden. What is it?

Geraniums got their start in South Africa, and can still be found there. In fact, more than 250 varieties of the plant still grow there. If you choose to grow them, remember that some varieties can grow to be up to 4 feet tall.


Which of these flowers is edible and also frequently used in tea?

You know a flower has made it to the big time when Starbucks is serving it in drink form. The hibiscus is an edible flower; its taste is citrusy. And, by the way, the Starbucks variety is pretty darn tasty.


Looking for a low-maintenance addition to your garden. You might consider which of these?

The hosta is a nice, low-maintenance addition to a garden, particularly if you have other, more time-consuming plants to tend to. For that reason, many people with a green thumb use them as groundcover.


You could plant the same flower as your friend and this bloom might pop up a different color. What is it?

The hydrangea plant's reaction to the soil it's planted in is pretty cool because it impacts what color flowers you wind up with. The acidity or alkalinity in the ground where it's planted impacts the color that it becomes.


Which of these blooms grows taller when its in closer proximity to others of its kind?

Impatiens like to be close to their friends, clearly! They grow taller when they are more closely-situated with others like it. Impatiens come in a variety of colors in a delicate little bloom.


This bloom comes in varieties known as Dallas Red, Radiation and Patriot Popcorn. What flower is it?

Lantana, a bloom with small clusters, comes in some pretty outrageously gorgeous colors, with equally colorful names. In addition to the ones mentioned in the question, you can find Patriot Rainbow, Athens Rose and Desert Sunset.


Can you guess which flower gives away its color in its name?

Lilac is purple. And, as you might have guessed, it's the color that helped determine the flower's name. Lilacs have a pleasant fragrance and are the U.S. state of New Hampshire's official flower.


This flower is synonymous with all things Southern. What is it called?

It's the state flower of Mississippi and a beloved bloom for Chip and Joanna Gaines of "Fixer Upper," but it's also well-known for its large and fragrant blooms. Magnolia flowers grow on trees, but that doesn't mean you can't incorporate them into a garden.


Which of these flowers favors summer and fall, producing blooms in yellow, red and orange?

The color family – red, yellow, orange and maroon – produced by marigolds makes it a great summer-to-fall addition to a garden. Because of their vibrant colors, Marigolds have been used to create dyes for the textile industry.


When you see this bloom, you know spring has sprung. Which flower is it?

Pansies are one of the first flowers to emerge in the spring and can easily withstand cooler temperatures. Another interesting fact about these flowers is their appearance, with blooms reminiscent of tiny faces.


Approaching your 12th wedding anniversary? Which of these blooms would be the appropriate gift?

Bundle up a bouquet of peonies for your love when you hit anniversary No. 12! This bloom is believed to lend long-lasting happiness and good fortune to your nuptials. That might be due to its own longevity; some plants have been known to live for 100 years!


You may have to squint to see these little guys. Which of these flowers only grows an inch wide?

Petunias are the teeny-tiniest little flowers, growing to be just an inch across. Despite their small size, they make up for what they lack in brawn with beauty – producing brightly colored blooms.


A field of these flowers was featured in "The Wizard of Oz." What put Dorothy to sleep?

Remember the line, "Poppies! Poppies will put them to sleep?" It was uttered by the Wicked Witch of the West who was trying to get to Dorothy with something that "had poison in it." She wasn't far off. Some poppies do naturally contain opium.


Which of these blooms is the state flower of West Virginia?

West Virginia adopted the rhododendron as its state flower in the early 1900s. These flowers bloom in shrub form and can be found throughout the eastern part of the United States. It was schoolchildren who selected it as the state's official bloom.


This bloom is known as "cut and come again." What flower is it?

Known for their colorful blooms, zinnias are a popular garden addition for that very reason. They can also bloom again frequently after being cut, which earned them their "cut and come again" nickname.


The National Garden Bureau selected this bloom as its 2019 "Year of the _______." What is it?

Surprise! 2019 is the "Year of the Snapdragon." You probably didn't know that, did you? Snapdragons are typically planted as an annual because they're not all that hardy, but their unique mouth-like shape makes them an interesting addition to the rest of your flowers.


Bees love this bloom, but apparently so do humans; it can be used to make candy. What flower is it?

Angelica has a starburst shape and is a favorite of insects, such as bees. It is frequently used in tea blends and its stem can even be repurposed as candy. Just Google candied Angelica stems and you'll find about 25,000 results.


Are you craving an interesting shape to add to your garden? This spike-shaped flower might fit the bill. What is it called?

Foxglove comes in a long spike-like shape, which would be a unique addition for gardens with more traditional blooms. Have patience, though. Once planted, it can take two seasons to produce blooms.


Don't be scared of this bloom, which is also sometimes called "snakeroot." What else is it known by?

The coneflower is a member of the daisy family, and judging by its appearance, there's no secret why. It has also been known as "snakeroot," which may have earned its name due to its medicinal use to treat snakebites (don't try that at home, though).


Someone might call you one of these, but the flower variety with its drop shape is one of a garden's most unique choices. What flower is it?

Calling someone a "bleeding heart" is sort of a disparaging remark, but the "bleeding heart" variety of flower is really quite extraordinary. It features a heart-shaped bloom with a white "drop" at its base.


This bloom is well-known among plant enthusiasts for its medicinal qualities. What is it called?

You might find bee balm in tea form, which is a good conduit for its medicinal properties. It is frequently used to treat nausea, indigestion and even symptoms of colds and the flu.


Maryland keeps this as its state flower. Which of these features gold petals and a large black center?

Black-Eyed Susans somewhat resemble a daisy in shape but boast golden petals and a dark center. Maryland chose it as its state flower in 1918, even though you can find its varieties blooming all over the country.


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