Narendra Modi has become the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel and understandably he was welcomed with a large amount of pomp and show. The historic visit was marked by a warm welcome address by the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu wherein he referred to Modi as “mere dost” (my friend) on multiple occasions. On his first day of the visit, Modi visited the Danziger “Dan” flower farm along with his Israeli counterpart and was soon bestowed with the honour of a flower being named after him. The fast growing Israeli Crysanthumun was named as “Modi” in honour of his visit to the country.
The tradition of naming blossoms after important personalities has long been a practice to honour them, as a means of establishing their aura in life forms for eternity. Important leaders of the nationalist struggle in India, presidents of the country, the British Royal family and American presidents and first ladies have all been honoured with flowers being named after them. Here is a list of a few cases when important personalities across the world have given their names to flowers.
President Pranab Mukherjee and his wife
This February, president Pranab Mukherjee and his wife, Suvra Mukherjee, both got a rose to their names. The rose named after Pranab Mukherjee is yellow in colour and the one named after his wife has a pink-purple shade. Both the roses were bred at Pushpanjali rose nursery in Jakpur, West Bengal and was later put on display in the Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Deendayal Upadhyay
In January 2016, PM Modi paid a visit to the North Eastern states of Assam and Sikkim as part of his political campaign. During his visit, he also went to the flower show at Gangtok where he unveiled a number of orchids. Among the various orchids he unveiled, he named one as Cymbidium Sardar, after the first deputy prime minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and another as Lycaste Deendayal, after BJP leader Deendayal Upadhyay. During the event, Modi himself was also honoured by Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling who named one of the orchids as ‘Cymbidium Namo’.
The Mughal garden blossoms
The Persian styled gardens attached to the Rashtrapati Bhawan are reputed for the gorgeous array of blooms they have on display during the spring season each year. The flowers exhibited in the 52-acre garden are named after several social reformers, presidents and nationalist leaders of India. For instance, a hybrid yellow and red rose honour the social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy. There is also a Mother Teresa rose and roses honouring Lal Bahadur Shastri, Rajendra Prasad and Jawaharlal Nehru.
British royal family
Almost every member of the British royal family has a beautiful flower named after them, including the youngest member princess Charlotte who has a pink-and-green chrysanthemum, purple clematis, and yellow auricula named after her. Queen Victoria has a cardinal-red perennial named after her which is called the ‘Queen Victoria’ Lobelia. Queen Elizabeth II on the other hand has a silver-pink rose named after her. The late Princess Diana and her son and daughter-in-law too have a number of blossoms to their honour.
American presidents and first ladies
Among American rose breeders, it is almost traditional to name the roses not on their specific characteristics but rather the qualities of certain personalities. For instance, a coral-pink hued rose, introduced by the company Jackson & Perkins goes by the name of former first lady Barbara Bush. Republican presidents Theodore Roosevelts, Ronald Reagen and Dwight D. Eisenhower have roses named after them and so do the Democrat presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt. Democrat president John F. Kennedy has a white, scentless rose named after him. The Hillary Clinton rose, similar to the case of Modi, was bred in France and named so on occasion of a meeting between world leaders.