You'll notice they are frequently quite "fluffy" in shape, even round as a golf ball, due to a unique curl of the petals. Some of those hollow cones serve as "hotels" to fuzzy bumblebees when the evening cold hits them too suddenly to make it back to their hives. If you weren't aware, this round & seemingly un-airworthy insect has a scientifically perplexing manner of flight, one that is partly dependent on warmth (or varying air current) to work; the Dahlia flower handily assures the bees aren't stranded and don't freeze in the night. By the light of dawn they will be able to safely return. Bumbles, and their cousin the honeybee, are essential pollinators -- invaluable to the park as well as entire ecosystems.
Dahlias are from the Asteraceae family, a group that includes sunflowers, asters, and daisies; the latin name meaning "star" = the shape of a blossom; you will indeed see one variety here that has this same shape. They symbolize hope and everlasting union, therefore they can be presented to couples at engagement or wedding parties, and are the suggested gift for a 14th anniversary. Careful though, movies like Black Dahlia add entirely new connotations, perhaps take a tip from the genteel Victorians and attach a poem to ensure the meaning intended.
See the selection of images below the cut, or click here for an entire gallery of Golden Gate Park beauty.
"The Geometry of Life"
YOU CAN VOTE HERE, if you like; dandelion macro is kicking our butts, but it's an honor to be nominated.
- click on any image to enlarge -
Notice the agave plant in bloom in the background.
There is also a beautiful cactus garden nearby.