The Importance of 18 Plants Mentioned in the Bible

SharePinEmailSteeped in symbolism, the Bible contains many powerful messages, and flowers in particular serve a unique purpose. In numerous passages, different species of flora crop up, each with its own specific meaning. Rose of Sharon The Rose of Sharon is grown in many countries worldwide and is mentioned in the Bible, most famously in the…

Steeped in symbolism, the Bible contains many powerful messages, and flowers in particular serve a unique purpose. In numerous passages, different species of flora crop up, each with its own specific meaning.

Rose of Sharon

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The Rose of Sharon is grown in many countries worldwide and is mentioned in the Bible, most famously in the Song of Solomon, “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” This conjures up images of beauty and grace, and mirrors Christ’s connection to humanity and his everlasting love.

Lily

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Lillies are common to buy nowadays and used in many religious ceremonies, such as weddings. They also in appear scripture,  “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.” (Matthew 6:28) Lillies are associated with purity and they are said to have bloomed in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ’s agony.

Hyssop

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In Psalm 51:7 we read, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Native to the Mediterranean region in countries such as Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Iran, hyssop is typically used in purification rituals and linked to spiritual cleansing and forgiveness.

Myrtle

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As the Myrtle flower is primarily white or pink, it’s frequently employed as a metaphor for peace and purity: “Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle.” (Isaiah 55:13)

Olive Tree

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Although technically not a flower, readers of the Bible may recall that an olive tree features in Psalm 52:8:  “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.” (Psalm 52:8). Olive trees are a symbol of peace celebrated in the Bible and represent God’s blessings.

Pomegranate

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Today, many people eat pomegranate seeds and pomegranates as a good source of vitamin C. But the pomegranate features prominently in the Bible, where it’s called “a gift from God”: “I will take you to the land of Israel. There you will eat pomegranates and gain strength” (Ezekiel 4: 3).

Almond Blossom

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The almond blossom consists of five petals and is known for blooming in spring, a time of rebirth. It also holds significance in the Bible:  “The almond tree blossoms, and the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home.” (Ecclesiastes 12:5) This is believed to represent God’s dedication to his people and symbolizes the idea of watchfulness.

Henna

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The henna plant is widely praised for its medicinal qualities and features in Song of Solomon 1:14: “My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Engedi.” Today, it’s used for natural hair dye but continues to be linked with beauty, love and joy.

Mandrake

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In Genesis, the mandrake reminds us of the forces of nature:  “And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field.” (Genesis 30:14) Its Biblical use is generally attributed to its supposed fertility power but is also a metaphor for the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Crocus

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Readers of the Bible will be familiar with the crocus as an emblem of beauty that underlines the notion that life is short:  “The crocus blooms and spreads its petals like a lily before it.” (Isaiah 35:1-2)

Thistle

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While thistles may have negative connotations, they also have a much deeper scriptural meaning: “Thorns shall grow over its strongholds, nettles and thistles in its fortresses.” (Isaiah 34:13) In fact, throughout history they have represented the sharp end of Nature’s retaliation against human meddling.

Mint

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Mint is used to add flavor to dishes or drinks, but in the Bible, it serves as a symbol of violent love and consolation and as a reminder of divine justice: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin.” (Matthew 23:23)

Nettle

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Stinging nettles, perfectly symbolize the consequences of sinning or transgressing:  “Among the bushes they bray; under the nettles they huddle together” (Job 30:7).

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