These colorful flowers originated in Mexico, Central America and Columbia. They grow from tubers that the Aztecs used for food. Some dahlia trees have been found that are 20 feet high! The hollow stems were used by indigenous people as siphons and straws. The Aztec name for these flowers translates to “water cane.” There is some dispute as to who named the plant, but no argument about its being named after Anders Dahl, a Swedish botanist who studied with Carl Linnaeus.
Dahlias are the national flower of Mexico as well as the city flower of Seattle. Their popularity comes from the fact that they are easy to grow, come in every color, except black and blue, and range in size from that of a golf ball to a dinner plate. They are great flowers to photograph.