Dahlia is a genus of bushy, tuberous, herbaceous perennial plants native to Mexico. They are related to Sunflowers, Daisies, and Chrysanthemums. There are 42 species of Dahlia, with several hybrids grown as garden flowers. The flowers are broken down into 14 groups which describe how the flower blooms: Single-Flowered, Anemone-Flowered, Collerette, Waterlily, Decorative, Ball, Pompon, Cactus, Semi-Cactus, Fimbriated, Single Orchid, Double Orchid, Peony-Flowered, and Miscellaneous. The blooms range anywhere from 50 mm to 250 mm in diameter. The flowers range in color greatly, with various shades of reds, purples, pinks, oranges, etc.
Dahlias have a variety of meanings from throughout history, with both negative connotations and positive. The negative connotations include betrayal, instability, and dishonesty. More recently the connotations seem to be positive, such as everlasting love, dignity and loyalty. The flower is often given to the couple, or used as decorations, at an engagement party; and are also a gift associated with 14 year anniversaries.
In popular culture, the dahlia is often associated with the Black Dahlia murder case. The Black Dahlia murder is one of Los Angeles' oldest unsolved cases. The victim was discovered to be Ms. Elizabeth Short, who was in town after visiting a friend she knew from her time spent in Florida. Her body was found on the morning of January 15th, 1947 at around 10 AM by a local woman. Her body had been mutilated, and cut in half; the woman who found her, said that at first she had thought the body was that of a discarded store mannequin. It was definitely a very gruesome crime, and has remained a huge part of popular culture; including the basis for a character in the first season of American Horror Story.