Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Fruits of Love

In the 1500s, when Europeans discovered the tomato in South America, they believed it to have aphrodisiac qualities; the fruit was quickly given the French name pomme d'amour; in 16th century literature it was considered the "apple of love."
The word "tomato" is derived from the Mexican word tomatl). In the wild, the tomato is part of the nightshade family of narcotics and mild poisons. Those properties are found mostly in the leaves and stems.
Other fruits have symbolic amorous meanings, deserved or fictionalized.
  • An orange was a symbol of fecundity and the blossoms were used in ancient times as brides' wreaths.
  • A mulberry was revered in ancient China, while a classical Western legend claims that the berries acquired their red color only after the Babylonian lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe, bled and died under the white-berried mulberry tree. The Pryamus and Thisbe legend is the basis for the story Romeo and Juliet.
  • A pomegranate is a fertility symbol from ancient times, and in the Bible is compared to the joys of winning a lover (King James version Song of Solomon 4:3, 13; 6:11 ).
A book I recently read gave some theories on the meaning of flower colors and types. But times are changing. Ascribing meanings to agricultural items is probably taking a hit in today's cultures. Blackberry, and Apple will need new notations in the lexicons.