The Color of Wisteria
In 1993, Crayola held a "Name the Color Contest" in celebration of its 90th anniversary. Sixteen new colors were added and the winning name for the new shade of purple was wisteria. It is fairly common to name colors after their shades found in nature, and particularly after flowers. In a linguistics class in college, I learned that the languages of industrialized countries, and in particular English, had the largest vocabularies of color words. Other languages typically have words for black and white. If they have a third color word, it is most likely to be red. Not that people speaking these languages cannot talk about the beauty of the colors around them...but they tend to do so through metaphor and simile. So they might say their new shirt is the color of a banana and their pants the color of the sea. The Crayola site says this color is symbolic of nostalgia and daintiness. Victorian women favored this color and wore lavendar flowers in their hair.

This late in the season, we had difficulty finding anything this color. I had given up when we went into the backyard to check the hummingbird feeder. In amongst the overgrown wildflowers and weeds of our garden, we found these echinacea...out of season but someone seems to have forgotten to tell them.

Then, while going through cupboards looking for something else, I rediscovered this lovely bone china tea cup inherited from my great grandmother. The color here is perhaps closer...but I was so excited to notice I still had a bit of color in my garden, I had to share!

For more studies in color, check my Year of Color page. These are inspired by Happy Thing's Year of Color. More photos from the group can be viewed here:

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