As we are celebrating Easter this weekend and with light at the tunnel of the COVID pandemic being visible, Easter is wonderful symbol of rebirth in the world.
We should remember this beautiful saying from Italy:
“Christmas for Family” and “Easter for Everyone”
A time to remember good Friends, old and new, to perhaps pick up the phone and make that call you have been meaning to for ages, to drop someone an email, or if you can still find ‘Pen and Paper’ in this electronic World of ours, to write someone a letter (it is harder than you think!).
It doesn’t really matter what you do, it is just that you take that most precious commodity ‘Time’ and do it, to make the effort and re-establish contact that might perhaps have fallen asleep during the pandemic.
So, from all of us here at Pairfum London we wish you a very ‘Happy Easter’, wherever you are.
We wish you ‘Time’ to get in touch with Friends and Family, ‘Time’ for yourselves and most of all ‘Time’ to enjoy the People who come into your Life.
Magnolias are some of the most primitive of our flowering trees, known for their graceful, fragrant flowers they hail from a diverse genus of trees and shrubs.
They have been around for millennia with fossils dating back to the Tertiary period (they were around before our Friends the Bees arrived). They are just as at home in our Gardens and Parks, as they are in their natural forest habitat, and most of them are perfectly happy to adapt to city living.
In warmer parts of the country some magnolias have been in bloom since February others bloom in March and appear to usher in the spring, while others are Happy to wait until as late as June to flower. Regardless of when they grace us with their stunning Flowers and fragrance, the Magnolia has become one of the most loved plants Worldwide.
Their colours range from pure white to deepest purple and they fill the spring air with an enchanting scent that makes you want to stop and stay a while.
In 1900, Louisiana declared the Magnolia as its state flower due to its abundance throughout the state, and also in 1900 school children in Mississippi held a state-wide election and voted the Magnolia to be their state flower.
So, … from the Rain Forests of Asia, Central Europe and from the East to the West coast of the USA, these exceptional plants are loved the world over.
Historically there has, however, been some confusion and debate as to what can actually be classed as a ‘Magnolia’.
Description of Magnolia
Typically, Magnolias are characterised as large bowl or star shaped fragrant flowers that spread in shrubs or evergreen and deciduous trees.
They usually bloom in to either yellow, purple, green, pink or white flowers and their leaves usually appear afterwards in spring. In autumn, cone-shaped fruits are also produced.
Just like other Magnoliaceae, the perianth has at least 3 whorls each with 9-15 tepals.
The bisexual flowers have several adnate carpels and on the elongated receptacle, the stamens are arranged in a spiral pattern. Along carpel’s dorsal sutures the fruit dehisces, and the pollen is monocolpate. Magnolias also have a Polygonum type of embryo development.
History of Magnolias
The first recorded use of the word ‘Magnolia’ was by General Charles Plumier in 1703 to describe a flowering tree found in Martinique. After Plumer, William Sherard, an English botanist who studied under Magnol, was next to use the term ‘Magnolia’.
The first botanical literature since Plumier’s ‘Genera’ included ‘Hortus Elthamensis’ (written by Hohann Jacon Dillenius) and ‘Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands’ (written by Mark Catesby), both of which Sherard were responsible for.
In these botanical literatures, the term ‘Magnolia’ was also used to describe some types of flowering trees that were found the North America where the climate was more temperate. In fact, a botanist called Lamarck later used the term ‘Annona dodecapetala’ to describe what Plumier first referred to as ‘Magnolia’ which is now recognised as ‘Magnolia dodecapetala’.
Carl Linnaeus, also used the genus name Mangnolia in ‘Systema Naturae’ (the first edition), written in 1735. Whilst there was no description references to Plumier’s work were made. Linnaeus again used Plumier’s ‘Magnolia’ where he describes a monotypic genus in 1753 in ‘Species Plantarum’ (first edtion) with ‘Magnolia virginia being the only species.
If there ever was a herbarium specimen from Plumier’s ‘Magnolia’, Linnaeus never saw it and is likely he assumed it was the same plant that Catesby described in ‘Natural History of Carolina (written in 1730. Linnaeus put it synonymous with ‘Magnolia virginia var’.
Foetida is a type of taxon called ‘Magnolia grandiflora’. Linnaeus described five varieties of ‘Magnolia virginia’ (acuminate, foetida, grisea, glauca and tripetala).
These 5 varieties were reduced to four after Linnaeus combined grisea with glauca in ‘Systema Naturae’ (10th edition, written in 1759) where he also raised the other four varieties to the status of species.
Botanists and plant explorers started to describe ‘Mangnolia’ species from China and Japan by the end of the 18th century whilst exploring Asia. The first species were described by western botanists as ‘Magnolia Lilifllora’ & ‘Magnolia Denudata’ and ‘Magnolia Coco’ & ‘Magnolia Figo’.
Not long after, Carl Peter Thunberg collected and described ‘Magnolia Obovata’ in Japan in 1974 and around the same time ‘Magnolia Kobus’ were collected for the first time.
Much later, as there was an increase in the number of species, it was decided that the genus was to be divided in to two subgenera, ‘Yulania’ and ‘Magnolia’.
‘Magnolia’ includes the horticulturally important ‘M. Grandiflora’ found in the USA and in particular the south-eastern states and the species type known as ‘M. Virginiana’.
‘Yulania’ includes many deciduous species from Asia including ‘M. Kobus’ and ‘M. Denudata’ which have their own horticultural importance and are also important as parents in hybrids.
The American deciduous Cucumber Tree (‘M. Acuminata’) is also classified as ‘Yulania’ and is the responsible for many new hybrids having yellow flowers meaning it has been given greater status.
For a long while, taxonomists have been puzzled by the relations throughout the ‘Magnoliaceae’ family.
Since the Magnoliaceae has survived several huge geographical events (including continental drift, the formation of mountains and even ice ages), they have a vast scattered distribution. This has also led to the long-term isolation of some species or even groups of species as well as other species maintaining close contact.
It has proved impossible to solely use morphological characters to create divisions in the ‘Magnoliaceae’ family and even within the genus ‘Magnolia’.
Research on phylogenetic relationships was able to be conducted on a large scale at the end of the 20th century once DNA sequencing had finally become available. To investigate the relationships between the many species in the Magnoliaceae family, several studies were conducted.
With the support of morphological data, all of the phylogenetic studies concluded that the genus ‘Michelia’ and the Magnolia, subgenus ‘Yulania’, were considerably more related to each other than either one of them was to ‘Magnolia’ or other subgenus of ‘Magnolia’.
Since relationships are usually reflected by nomenclature, it was an undesirable situation to have species names in ‘Michelia’ and ‘Magnolia’, subgenus ‘Yulania’. Taxonomy provided three possible solutions to this problem.
The first was to join ‘Yulania’ and ‘Michelia’ species in a common genus, separate from the ‘Magnolia’ genus where the term ‘Michelia’ would be given the priority.
The second would leave the subgenus ‘Magnolia’ names and the ‘Micheila’ names untouched by raising the subgenus ‘Yulaina’ to generic rank.
The third solution was to create a “big genus” by joining genus ‘Magnolia’ with ‘Michelia into genus ‘Magnolia, sI’. Since it includes ‘M. virginiana’, (the type species of the genus and the of the family), Mangnolia subgenus ‘Magnolia’ cannot be renamed.
Excluding their wood, only a few ‘Michelia’ species’ have any economic or horticultural importance so far.
On the other hand, many species within subgenus ‘Magnolia’ and subgenus ‘Yulania’ very horticulturally important, to the point that many people in the horticultural discipline would consider it to be undesirable to change their name.
Since most of the cultivated species in Europe have at least one of their parents being ‘Mangnolia (Yulania) denudata’, ‘Yulania’ is considered to be synonymous with ‘Magnolia’ on the continent.
The third option to join ‘Michelia’ with ‘Magnolia’ is supported by most taxonomists as they acknowledge the close the close relations between ‘Michelia’ and ‘Yulania’.
The same applies for the ‘Dugandiodendron’ and the (former) genra ‘Taluama’ which were also placed in genus ‘Manglietia’ and subgenus ‘Magnolia’. ‘Manglietia’ could actually be joined with subgenus ‘Magnolia’ but could also be considered for earning the status of an extra subgenus.
‘Elmerrillia’ is more than likely to be handled in the same was a ‘Michelia’ is now because it is closely related to ‘Michelia’ and ‘Yulania’.
The exact nomenclatural status remains uncertain for non-specific or small genera such as ‘Aromadendron’, ‘Alcimandra’, and ‘Parakmeria’. These non-specific or small genera are often merged into ‘Magnolia sI’ by taxonomists who did the same with ‘Mechelia’.
There is a perpetual debate between botanists as whether to recognise the different small genera or simply recognise just a big ‘magnolia’.
An example of this debate can be found between the Chinese and the western co-author of “Flora of China”.
The book presents two points of view:
The first being that there is a large genus ‘Magnolia’, that includes around 300 species which is favoured by the western author.
The second is that there are 16 different genera and each of those contain up to 50 species. The second argument is put forward by the Chinese.
Subdivisions of Magnolias
Following the classification conducted by the Magnolia Society, species of Magnolias are usually listed under 3 subgenera, 12 sections and 13 subsections.
However, this is not the last word in regards to genus ‘Magnolia’ and it’s sub-classification as a clear consensus has not yet been achieved.
There has been a lot of general horticultural interest for the genus ‘Magnolia’. Many flower early in the spring such as the tree called ‘M. x soulangeana’ also known as the Saucer Magnolia and the shrub called ‘M. stellata’ also known as star magnolia. There are also others that flower as late as early summer such as ‘M. grandiflora’ which is often referred to as ‘Southern Magnolia’, and the ‘M. virginiana’ which is also known as ‘Sweetbay Magnolia’.
There have been efforts made to create plants that have a more impressive flower and that are able flower earlier on than the parent species by attempting to combine the best aspects of different species. Such efforts have been extremely successful thanks to the use of Hybridisation. A popular example of a successful hybrid would be that of ‘M. liliiflora’ and ‘M. denudata’ which created ‘M. x soulangeana’ (one of the most popular garden magnolias).
In the eastern United States, ‘M. grandiflora’, ‘M. macrophylia’, ‘M. acuminate’ (in the form of a Shade Tree), ‘M. tripetala’, and ‘M. virginiana’ are five native species that are cultivated frequently.
However, it is worth noting hat ‘M. tripetala’ and ‘M. macrophylia’ have large leaves which means they must be planted in a location not frequented by high winds.
Culinary Uses of Magnolia
With many species of Magnolias, their flowers are edible and are used in cooking all around the world.
The petals of ‘M. Grandiflora’ can be used as a spicy condiment when they are pickled. This is common in some parts of England.
On the other side of the world in Asia, the buds are used rather than the petals to be pickled and then used to scent tea and flavour rice. The flower buds and young leaves of ‘Magnolia hypoleuca’ are eaten as a vegetable in Japan after they are boiled.
Japan have also found further uses by creating cooking dishes and even wrapping their food in the leaves of ‘M. Obovata’.
Magnolias in Traditional Medicine
In traditional Chinese medicine, they have long been using the flower buds and even the bark of ‘M. officinalis’ which they refer to as ‘hou po’ (厚朴). In Japan, they also do something similar with ‘M. obovata’ which they call kōboku.
In forests in the north east of the United States, ‘M. acuminata’ (The Cucumber Tree) is harvested as timber since it grows to a very large size. The wood of the Cucumber Tree is sold as “yellow poplar” alongside the Tuliptree (‘Liriodendron tulipifera’).
On occasion, the ‘M. fraseri’ (The Fraser Magnolia) grows to be large enough to be harvested as well.
Other Uses of Magnolias
As well as humans, Magnolias are also consumed by Giant Leopard Moth and other Lepidoptera species as food plants.
Magnolias in Home Fragrance
If you are lucky enough this weekend to spot a blooming Magnolia, then stop to take a look, and inhale their intoxicating fragrance.
To experience Magnolia, you should really try our perfume “Magnolias in Bloom” in our Home Fragrance range. Have a look at its fragrance description and then visit our online boutique to find the product that would enjoy most.
This woody and aromatic accord opens with Bergamot, Lime, Green Leaves and spicy Basil. The heart is fresh with Lily, Freesia, Violet Leaf, Rose and Geranium. The note rests on a beautifully rich woody base of Patchouli, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Cedar and Amber.
A vibrant, floral fragrance where the top notes of Sparkling Lemon and Lime are enhanced by the fruity nuances of Peach. The feminine, floral heart is a radiant blend of Pink Rose, Magnolia and Frangipani. The dark seductive base of Sensuous Musk, Amber and Precious Woods brings this fragrance to life.
March 8th is International Womens’s Day which was originally called ‘International Working Women’s Day’.
It was first celebrated on the 28th of February (1909) in New York in remembrance of the 1908 strike held by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union when 15,000 workers, marched through New York city’s lower east side to demand social and political rights.
The first International Women’s Day was held five years later in 1914, on the 8th of March which was chosen because it was a Sunday, and the majority of women would have the day off work thus allowing them to participate in the events that were organised. It has been celebrated on that date ever since.
The day was declared a national holiday in the Soviet Union in 1917, and it was adopted by the UN in 1977.
Since 1996, the UN has assigned a theme to every IWD. This year’s theme is “Be bold for change”. According to the UN, it is “a day when women are recognize for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.”
13 Remarkable Women
Today’s ‘Google Doodle’ March 8th 2017 features Thirteen “female pioneers” – not all of whom are household names, most of them we may never have heard of and yet all of them achieved success in their chosen fields against what seems like insurmountable odds.
Ida Wells an African-American journalist and activist born in Mississippi in 1862, she wrote prolifically on the fight for women’s suffrage as well as the struggle for civil rights.
Lotifa El Nadi Egypt’s first female pilot born in 1907 in Cairo Her achievements made headlines around the world when she flew over the pyramids and competed in international flying races.
Frida Kahlo a Mexican painter and activist born in Mexico City in 1907, her work was loved by Women for its honest depiction of the female experience.
Lina Bo Bardi a Brazilian architect, born in Italy in 1914, promoted the social and cultural potential of architecture and design. Her furniture and jewellery designs are also celebrated.
Olga Skorokhodova was a scientist born into a poor Ukranian family in 1911, she lost her sight and hearing at the age of five. Overcoming these difficulties in the most amazing way, she became a researcher in the field of communication and produced a number of scientific works concerning the development of education for deaf-blind children.
Miriam Makeba a South African singer and civil rights activist was born in Johannesburg in 1932, was discovered as a singer of jazz and African melodies. She became hugely successful in the USA wining a Grammy for her work , she then became involved in the civil rights struggle in the US, as well as against apartheid in her native South Africa, writing political songs. Following her death President Nelson Mandela said that “her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us.”
Sally Ride an American astronaut and physicist, born in Los Angeles in 1951 joined NASA in 1978, she became the first American woman and the third woman ever to go into space in 1983 at the age of 32. She later worked as an academic at the University of California, San Diego.
Halet Cambel a Turkish archaeologist born in 1916, became the first Muslim women to compete in the Olympics in the 1936 Berlin games as a fencer. She bravely declined an invitation to meet Adolf Hitler on political grounds, and after the conclusion of the Second World War, she trained as an architect and later worked as an academic in Turkey and Germany.
Ada Lovelace also known as ‘Countess of Lovelace’was an English mathematician and writer born in 1815, she became the world’s first computer programmer. The daughter of the poet Lord George Byron, she is chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer known as the Analytical Engine, and was the first to recognise the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, creating the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine.
Rukmini Devi an Indian dancer and choreographer credited with reviving Indian classical dance, was born in 1904 and presented her form of dance on stage in the 1920s which was considered in very bad taste. She features in India Today’s list of the “100 people who shaped India”. She also worked to re-establish traditional Indian arts and crafts and was passionate about animal rights.
Cecilia Grierson an Argentine physician born in Buenes Aires in 1859, became the first woman in Argentina to receive a medical degree having previously worked as a teacher. At this time Women were barred from entering medical school and so she first volunteered as an unpaid lab assistant before being allowed to train as a doctor. She was recognised for her work during a cholera epidemic and went on to found the first nursing school in Argentina. The treatment she received during her training at medical school helped to shape her as an advocate for women’s rights in Argentina.
Lee Tai-young Korea’s first female lawyer and judge born in 1914 in what is now known as North Korea, founded the country’s first legal aid centre and fought throughout her career for women’s rights . Her often quoted refrain was, “No society can or will prosper without the cooperation of women.” She was married, worked as a teacher, and had four children before she was able to begin her legal career after the Second World War. Becoming the first woman to enter the National University of Seoul . She fought for civil rights in the country, and in 1977 was arrested and given a three-year suspended sentence and a ten year disbarment.
Suzanne Lenglen the French tennis champion born in 1899, popularised the sport winning 31 championships and dominating the women’s game for over a decade. She was one of the first international women sports stars, and was the first female tennis celebrity. Aged 15 she became the youngest ever winner of a major championship and during her entire career lost only seven matches. She defended her decision to turn professional by stating that she had a right to make a decent living in the days when the grand slam tournaments paid a relative pittance to the winners.
Men As Feminists
An article in the Lifestyle section of the Independent newspaper shows a clip made by a group of young men from an Australian school identifying as feminists. The video clip shows the answers these young Men were given when they asked the Women in their lives, Mothers, Aunts, Sisters, Teachers, Friends what Feminism meant to them. It takes just a few seconds to watch but leaves us begging the question? If we all just pause for a moment and asked ourselves “where would we be without Women”, I think there really is only one answer “nowhere” – put simply we would not exist. Read the article here.
Iconic Women in Perfumery
One of the reasons why the perfume industry is so passionate about International Women’s Day is that it is an industry with a very strong female influence:
iconic female industry leaders, such as Coco Chanel, Estee Lauder, Jo Malone and many others,
the increasing prominence of female perfumers, as can be seen in this article by Fragrantica,
more women buy perfume than men, and
companies led by women.
If you would enjoy sending a gift on International Women’s Day from a female-led enterprise, then head over to our online perfumery boutique. Did you already know that Pairfum London is a female-led enterprise?
This fragrance opens with the sparkling interplay of the aromas of Black Cherry, Bergamot, Red Berries and Nutty Almond. The heart is a most elegant fusion of Oolong Tea, Bulgarian & Turkish Roses and Liquorice. The sensuous base rests on Aniseed, Tonka, Iris and Patchouli.
An elegantly floral Chypre accord opening with the freshness of Mandarin Blossom, Apricot and White Hyacinth as Top notes. It’s romantic heart reveals a floral bouquet of Sweet Pea, Jasmin and Ylang Ylang, while the fond of Sandalwood, Patchouli, Amber and Musk create a magnetic trail.
The ‘Mandarine Orange’ is a sweet, juicy citrus fruit also named ‘Mandarin’ or ‘Mandarine’. Read about why they are the scent of the Chinese New Year.
The role of Mandarine Oranges in the Chinese New Year !
The mandarine orange is a native of China and an important symbol of Chinese traditionanl culture, a symbol of ‘good fortune’, with a significant sacral meaning during the Chinese New Year festivities.
Mandarines are symbols of the New Year and the expected positive changes. The shape and colour of mandarines symbolise the Sun and connects with the yang principle (the positive and generative force of nature). A symbol of good fortune, luck and success, mandarines are exchanged between families, friends and colleagues as offerings of goodwill during this time of festivities.
These richly coloured fruits (orange / red / gold) are placed on the family alter in a large pile during the Chinese New Year celebrations and are synoymous with prosperity and wealth. For the same reason, potted plants, rich with hanging mandarine oranges are a favourite indoor decoration during this festive season.
In Cantonese, mandarine are named “gut”, meaning “the lucky tree.” It is an ancient New Year tradition of the Chinese to place pairs of mandarines and red envelopes with money, beside the pillow of every child, in the box with the New Year treats and above the rice container of the home. It is believed this will bring good fortune to the house and its family.
The Chap Goh Meh Festival, the 15th day of the lunar New Year, marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities and serves traditionally as a day for matchmaking. Young girls throw mandarine oranges into the rivers in the hope of gaining a husband by honouring the full moon. Likewise, young men line the streets straining to gain a glimpse of these young ladies who were normally not permitted outside in days gone bye.
Other uses of Mandarine Oranges in China
The essential ingredient in many Chinese sauces is the dried peel of the mandarine orange due to its wonderful citrus oils and other aromatic notes that will richly perfume any dish and remove any oily taste.
On the other hand, in traditional Chinese medicine, the dried peel is used to regulate the flow of the energy of life ( or chi ). Natural philosophers in Old China prescribed the peel as a medical remedy to reduce phlegm, treat abdominal problems and to stimulate healthy digestion.
Mandarine Orange in Perfumery
Peel away the rind of a mandarine orange and out bursts a tempting mix of citrus oils with hints of cloves, ginger, jasmine and orange blossom. There are also undertones of star anise and saffron.
In perfumery, mandarine essential oil is greatly valued in the top notes of many light floral accords and colognes, for its invigorating, juicy sweet and fruity note but also its sensual, floral, neroli-like trail. The essential oil also blends harmoniously with other citrus oils and with many spice oils (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove).
Here at PAIRFUM, we are proud to introduce our new ‘pink grapefruit’ fragrance which contains mandarine essential oil. The addition of mandarin orange oil to the grapefruit accord makes this a truely great fragrance. It is indeed the perfect fragrance for the Chinese New Year.
‘Pink Grapefruit’ is available in the following luxury scented candles and reed diffusers:
Reed Diffusers (petite, classic and large size and in the bell, cube and tower shapes)
Reed Diffuser refill oil
Snow Crystal Candles (classic and large)
Soy & Flower Wax Candle
Other fragrances within the PAIRFUM Collection that exhibit notes of mandarin essential oil are the following perfumes :
‘Mandarin Blossom & Sandalwood’
‘Pink Powder & Violet’, and
Happy Chinese New Year 2021
We would like to wish all of our customers, partners, friends and families a Happy Chinese New Year, the year of the Bull!
A surprising fusion of spices and freshness, it opens with notes of Bergamot, Grapefruit and hint of Lavender, combined with Ginger, Elemi, Nutmeg & Cinnamon. The heart is Geranium, Rose, Freesia, Gardenia, Jasmin and Orange Blossom, with fruity hints of Coconut and Rasberry. A base of Vetiver, Guaiacwood, Cedar, Amber, Cashmere Musks, Vanilla & Moss supports this note.