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Hyacinth

 

Detail from The Death of Hyacinth by Jean Broc

The son of Clio and Pierus, King of Macedonia, in Greek mythology. Hyacinth (or Hyacinthus) was a beautiful youth beloved by the god Apollo. He died accidentally as the myth goes due to a discus thrown by Apollo, which struck Hyacinth on the head, killing him.

There is another myth which adds that it was the wind god Zephyr who was actually responsible for the death of Hyacinth. Zephyr blew the discuss off course, out of jealousy, so as to injure and kill Hyacinth. When he died, Apollo made a flower, the hyacinth, spring out from his spilled blood. However, the flower of the mythological Greek youth Hyacinth slain by Apollo's discus has been identified with a number of plants (e.g., iris) other than the true hyacinth.

Although the mythical Hyacinth was male, Hyacinth is currently in use as a female name.


Hyacinth (scientific name: Hyacinthus)
Any of a type of plant of genus Hyacinthus, which are bulbous herbs of the family Liliaceae (lily family). Hyacinths are native to the Mediterranean region as well as South Africa.

The Dutch, or common, hyacinth of house and garden culture (H. orientalis of the northeast Mediterranean) was so popular in the 18th century that over 2,000 types were cultivated in the Netherlands, its chief commercial producer. This hyacinth has a single dense spike of fragrant flowers in shades of red, blue, white, or yellow. A variety of the common hyacinth is the less hardy and smaller blue- or white-petalled Roman hyacinth (var. albulus) of florists. Types of brodiea, camass, squill, and other lily-family plants with flower clusters borne along the stalk are also called hyacinth. Hyacinths are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Liliales, family Liliaceae.

The related grape hyacinths (Muscari), sometimes called baby's-breath, are very low, mostly blue-petalled herbs similar in appearance to hyacinths and are also commonly cultivated.



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