from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several plants of the genus Dahlia native to the mountains of Mexico, Central America, and Colombia, having tuberous roots and showy, rayed, variously colored flower heads.
  • n. The flower head of one of these plants.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any plant of the genus Dahlia, tuberous perennial flowering plants native to Mexico.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A genus of plants native to Mexico and Central America, of the order Compositæ; also, any plant or flower of the genus. The numerous varieties of cultivated dahlias bear conspicuous flowers which differ in color.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A genus of plants, natural order Compositæ, of which several species are known, all natives of Mexico and Central America.
  • n. [lowercase] A plant of the genus Dahlia.
  • n. [lowercase] In dyeing, a violet coal-tar color consisting of the ethyl and methyl derivatives of rosaniline.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of several plants of or developed from the species Dahlia pinnata having tuberous roots and showy rayed variously colored flower heads; native to the mountains of Mexico and Central America and Colombia


New Latin Dahlia, genus name, after Anders Dahl (1751-1787), Swedish botanist.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Named 1791 by Spanish botanist Antonio José Cavanilles for Anders Dahl. (Wiktionary)


  • The term "dahlia" is used for the first time in 1791, when Cavanilles publishes Icones et Descriptiones Plantarum.

    Did You Know? Mexico's national flower is the humble dahlia

  • A dahlia from the garden of AKS, shot Labor Day weekend 2008.


  • Strangely, no blue variety has ever been cultivated, hence "blue dahlia" is sometimes used figuratively for something impossible or unattainable.

    Did You Know? Mexico's national flower is the humble dahlia

  • Later in the sixteenth century, the dahlia is described in the Codex Barberini, dating from 1552, and lost for centuries prior to its rediscovery in the Vatican Library in 1929.

    Did You Know? Mexico's national flower is the humble dahlia

  • Modern botanists agree that the dahlia is native to Mexico and Guatemala, but how did it come to be cultivated so widely all over the world today for its showy flowers?

    Did You Know? Mexico's national flower is the humble dahlia

  • An oak is an oak, whether green with spring, or red with winter; a dahlia is a dahlia, whether it be yellow or crimson; and if some monster hunting florist should ever frighten the flower blue, still it will be a dahlia; but not so if the same arbitrary changes could be effected in its form.

    The Gentle Art of Making Enemies

  • A weed is what might grow where you don't want it; a dahlia could be a weed, or love, or other notions.

    Sweet Briar College News

  • The large white wire is to be used as stems for flowers, such as dahlia, camellia, &c.

    The Royal Guide to Wax Flower Modelling

  • A weed is what might grow where you don’t want it; a dahlia could be a weed, or love, or other notions.

    The Best American Poetry 2008

  • The very biggest "dahlia" of all -- Anemone was its real name, but Eyebright did not know that -- was in the highest of these pools, and Eyebright lay so long looking at it and giving it an occasional tickle with her forefinger to make it open and shut, that she never noticed how fast the tide was beginning to pour in.

    Eyebright A Story


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  • It's relaxing to me, too...yet so little used! "...abandoning with her the environment of beetles and dahlias and passing through the air with her as four o'clock in the afternoon came to an end..." (Marquez, 100 Years of Solitude)

    October 27, 2008

  • My grandfather's favorite flower, he grew them. The word is very relaxing to me.

    February 23, 2007