For so Apollo, with unweeting hand
Whilome did slay his dearly-loved mate
Young Hyacinth born on Eurotas' strand,
Young Hyacinth the pride of Spartan land;
But then transform'd him to a purple flower
Alack that so to change thee winter had no power.
John Milton 1608-1674
The hyacinth is native to southern Turkey. But most have been found in early Greek gardens since Homer referred to this fragrant plant as blue as birds' eggs.
When French Huguenots fled to Berlin in 1685, they took hyacinth bulb with them and started a flourishing trade.
With a fragrance that almost narcotic the shape of the hyacinth's flowers is compared to the curly locks of a loved one's head: "sweeter to me than musk is her fragrant hyacinth hair."
Grape hyacinths are native to southern Europe, Northern Africa, and western Asia. Its Greek name means "a bunch of grapes." This, along with the plant's physical resemblance to the hyacinth, gives it the common name, grape hyacinth.
The first-century Greek physician Discorides wrote, "of this wort it is said that it was produced out of dragon's blood, on top of mountains, in thick forests."