Quiz about The Biblical Garden
Quiz about The Biblical Garden

The Biblical Garden Trivia Quiz


This quiz explores some of the many flowers, herbs, vegetables, fruits, and trees mentioned in the Old and New Testament. Biblical quotations are from the King James Bible. Enjoy!

A multiple-choice quiz by jouen58. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
jouen58
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
307,870
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
15
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
10 / 15
Plays
1474
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: mfc (13/15), Guest 73 (10/15), Guest 86 (9/15).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. Ornithogallum umbellatum is the botanical name of a plant referred to in the second book of Kings as "dove's dung" (a literal translation of the Latin name). Contemporary gardeners more likely know this plant, with its sprays of white flowers, by this more euphonious and charming name, which is derived from the Gospel of Matthew. Hint

Veronica
Star of Bethlehem
Crown of Thorns
Mary's Tears

2. Roses are occasionally mentioned in scripture, notably in Isaiah 35:1 ("...and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose") and in the Song of Solomon 2:1 ("I am the Rose of Sharon"). Most contemporary botanists agree that the flower in question is not actually the rose, as we know it, but this bulbous flower, native to the Holy Land. Hint

Narcissus
Oxalis
Frittilaria
Freesia

3. In the Gospel of Matthew (6:28-29), Jesus refers to the "lilies of the field", remarking that "...they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these." The "lilies" referenced in this passage may be any one of a variety of plants (including members of the Lily family), or a combination thereof. Which of these plants could NOT be considered one of the Biblical "lilies of the field", since it is not indigenous to the Holy Land? Hint

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria Majalis)
Iris (Iris Pseudoacorus)
Anemone (Anemone Coronaria)
Hyacinth (Hyacinthus Orientalis)

4. The Song of Solomon (4:14) mentions a multitude of fragrant spices, including cinnamon, calamus, myrrh, and saffron. The last of these- saffron- is derived from this flower, varieties of which bloom in both the fall and in the early spring. Hint

Eranthis
Galanthus
Muscari
Crocus

5. In the book of Numbers (11:7), the manna which miraculously appeared to feed the Israelites in the desert is compared to the seed (or, more properly, the dried fruit) of this culinary herb. Hint

Coriander
Caraway
Anise
Fennel

6. A passage in the book of Exodus (37:17-18) describes the creation of the seven-branched candlestick known as the menorah. Most Biblical scholars believe that the shape of the menorah was derived from the Judean variety of this perennial herb, whose Latin name means "health", and which has been widely used for centuries as both a medicinal and culinary herb. Hint

Rosemary
Marjoram
Mint
Sage

7. Frankincense and Myrrh are mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament, and along with gold, comprise the gifts presented by the Magi to the child Jesus. Frankincense is derived from trees of the genus Boswellia, and Myrrh from plants of the genus Commiphora. From what part of these plants is their characteristic fragrance principally derived? Hint

The berries and seeds
The gum or resin
The roots
The leaves

8. Hyssop is a plant mentioned several times in Scripture as being used for ritual purification, notable in Psalm 51:7- "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." This may refer to the plant known in Europe and America as hyssop (Hyssopus Officinalis), but many scholars and botanists believe that it is a version of this culinary herb. Hint

Lovage
Parsley
Basil
Marjoram

9. In the Book of Numbers (11:5) the Israelites complain of hunger in the desert, and recall that, while slaves in Egypt, they at least had enough to eat. Among other things, they mention these vegetables and fruits, which were available in abundance in Egypt. Hint

Cucumbers, leeks, onions, melons, and garlic.
Celery, radishes, cabbages, and medlars.
Squashes, corn, peppers, and berries.
Turnips, carrots, lettuces, and quinces.

10. This fruiting tree is mentioned numerous times in Scripture. In Genesis 3:7 Adam and Eve are described as making themselves aprons from its leaves to cover their nakedness. In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus is described as cursing one upon finding it to be unfruitful, causing it to presently wither and die. Hint

Fig
Apple
Medlar
Orange

11. In Genesis 8:8-11, Noah twice sends a dove from the ark in search of dry land. When the dove returns the second time, it bears in its beak a leaf from this fruiting tree, indicating that the waters of the flood had begun to recede. For centuries, the image of a dove carrying a branch of this tree has been an emblem of peace. Hint

Mulberry
Palm
Olive
Fig

12. The book of Exodus- 28:33-34- specifies that the hem of priestly robes should be embroidered with images of this fruit, alternating with golden bells. Hint

Grapes
Pomegranates
Quinces
Lemons

13. References to apples and to apple trees in Scripture are numerous. However, since trees of the genus "Malus Pumila" have only been introduced to the Holy Land comparatively recently, many scholars believe that the apple mentioned in scripture is actually this fruiting tree, whose botanical name is "Prunus Armeniaca". Hint

Apricot
Nectarine
Plum
Pear

14. The inside walls and floor planks of the Temple of Solomon, as well as Solomon's chariot, were made of the fragrant wood of this tree, which has long been associated with Lebanon. Hint

Pine
Cedar
Oak
Fir

15. According to all four Gospels, Jesus was greeted upon his entry into Jerusalem before the Passion by crowds waving fronds from this tree. In many Christian churches, it has long been traditional to bless and distribute these fronds at the beginning of Holy Week. Hint

Laurel
Almond
Palm
Acanthus


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Ornithogallum umbellatum is the botanical name of a plant referred to in the second book of Kings as "dove's dung" (a literal translation of the Latin name). Contemporary gardeners more likely know this plant, with its sprays of white flowers, by this more euphonious and charming name, which is derived from the Gospel of Matthew.

Answer: Star of Bethlehem

"Star of Bethlehem" grows profusely in the Holy Land (and elsewhere), and its starry white blossoms whiten rocky hillsides in much the same way as do dove's droppings, which is probably the source of the Biblical name. It is described in II Kings 6:25 as being sold during a famine in the land of Samaria, one fourth of a cab for five pieces of silver.

There is some confusion about this, since the plant is toxic, but early writings record it as being ground into a meal to mix with flour and make bread (don't try that at home!). Possibly it was carefully cleaned first, like cassava root, to remove the toxins.

The plant is a member of the hyacinth family, and is notable for the fact that the flowers turn beautifully transparent as they begin to fade. Sadly, it is also invasive and weedy, and thus should be grown as a wildflower in woody areas, away from the formal garden.

The star-like shape of the flowers, as well as its Biblical origin, were probably the source of its more recent (and pleasant) name.
2. Roses are occasionally mentioned in scripture, notably in Isaiah 35:1 ("...and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose") and in the Song of Solomon 2:1 ("I am the Rose of Sharon"). Most contemporary botanists agree that the flower in question is not actually the rose, as we know it, but this bulbous flower, native to the Holy Land.

Answer: Narcissus

Narcissus Tazetta- the "paper-white" narcissus, which is popularly "forced" indoors in cold climates for winter blooms, is native to the Holy land, and grows quite profusely on the plain of Sharon during the wet season, which plants of the genus Rosa do not.

Other candidates are the Sea Daffodil (Pancratium Maritimum, which is unrelated to the Narcissus, despite a close resemblance), the Tulip, and the Crocus. Scriptural passages mentioning the rose seem to be referencing a bulbous-rooted plant, which roses are not, though a few commentators have argued that the fruit- or hips- of the rose plant have a bulbous appearance.
3. In the Gospel of Matthew (6:28-29), Jesus refers to the "lilies of the field", remarking that "...they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these." The "lilies" referenced in this passage may be any one of a variety of plants (including members of the Lily family), or a combination thereof. Which of these plants could NOT be considered one of the Biblical "lilies of the field", since it is not indigenous to the Holy Land?

Answer: Lily of the Valley (Convallaria Majalis)

Despite its name, the "Lily of the Valley" (Convallaria Majalis) would not have been among the "lilies of the field" mentioned by Christ, as is not native to the Holy Land, being found mostly in the cooler parts of North America, Europe, and Asia. The plant referred to as the "Lily of the Valley" in the Song of Solomon (2:1-2) is most likely the hyacinth.

The flowers referred to by Jesus in the passage in Matthew's Gospel are most likely the poppy-flowered anemones (Anemone Coronaria), which bears showy flowers in shades of violet, scarlet, rose, blue, and yellow.

They could also include members of the Iris, Gladiolus, and Cyclamen family, all of which are native to the Middle East, and all of which bear lovely and colorful blooms.
4. The Song of Solomon (4:14) mentions a multitude of fragrant spices, including cinnamon, calamus, myrrh, and saffron. The last of these- saffron- is derived from this flower, varieties of which bloom in both the fall and in the early spring.

Answer: Crocus

The stigma and upper part of the style of Crocus Sativa is the source of saffron, which for centuries has been one of the rarest and most costly of spices. Considering that it requires at least four thousand stigmas to produce one ounce of saffron, one can understand the price it commands.

Although the purple-flowered Saffron crocus blooms in the late fall, many other varieties- in various shades of yellow, violet, and white, including some lovely striped cultivars- can be found blooming in northern climates even before the snows fade.
5. In the book of Numbers (11:7), the manna which miraculously appeared to feed the Israelites in the desert is compared to the seed (or, more properly, the dried fruit) of this culinary herb.

Answer: Coriander

Coriander (Coriandrum Sativum) is among the most useful of culinary herbs. Its parsley-shaped leaves have a pungent and unique flavor and are a popular feature of Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, as well as that of South American countries (where it is known as Cilantro).

It also produces tiny round fruits which, when dried, resemble tiny paper lanterns, and contain a flavorful seed which is used extensively in curries and other Eastern spice blends. It is also used in some confections and baked goods, and can be ground with coffee beans to produce a flavorful brew.

The seed within the husk is a yellowish white, and has a spicy, somewhat citrus-like flavor, which the taste and appearance of the Biblical manna recalled to the Israelites.
6. A passage in the book of Exodus (37:17-18) describes the creation of the seven-branched candlestick known as the menorah. Most Biblical scholars believe that the shape of the menorah was derived from the Judean variety of this perennial herb, whose Latin name means "health", and which has been widely used for centuries as both a medicinal and culinary herb.

Answer: Sage

Salvia Judaica is the variety of Sage commonly found in the Holy Land. When pressed flat, it reveals a central stem, with three stems going out on each side, which many believe to have been the pattern for the menorah, which has been a symbol of Judaism ever since, as well as being an emblem of Israel.

As a culinary herb, Sage is widely used to flavor stuffings, sausages, and cheeses; as a medicinal herb, it has been widely used to treat laryngitis and other afflictions of the throat, and is still the source of some contemporary medications. Varieties of Sage are also attractive garden subjects, particularly those with silvery or golden edged leaves, or those which are variegated with cream and violet.
7. Frankincense and Myrrh are mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament, and along with gold, comprise the gifts presented by the Magi to the child Jesus. Frankincense is derived from trees of the genus Boswellia, and Myrrh from plants of the genus Commiphora. From what part of these plants is their characteristic fragrance principally derived?

Answer: The gum or resin

Both plants produce a fragrant gum, or resin, which was widely used as a perfume, as well as being burned for incense (the name Frankincense literally translated means "free-burning"). This was used for centuries both in worship and domestically; European housekeepers would fumigate pantries and dairies with burning incense to ward off vermin and insects.

In Biblical times, they were very costly; although many assume that gold was the most precious of the gifts presented by the Magi, in fact Frankincense and Myrrh were of comparable value. Additionally, as described in the Gospels, Myrrh was used, along with aloes, to anoint the dead.
8. Hyssop is a plant mentioned several times in Scripture as being used for ritual purification, notable in Psalm 51:7- "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." This may refer to the plant known in Europe and America as hyssop (Hyssopus Officinalis), but many scholars and botanists believe that it is a version of this culinary herb.

Answer: Marjoram

Marjoram is a member of the mint family, and is closely related to oregano (Origanum Vulgare). Both marjoram and oregano have slightly hairy leaves, which absorb water and make them ideal for use in ritual sprinkling, most notably in Exodus 12:22, when the Israelites used branches of hyssop to sprinkle the blood of the sacrificial lamb on the lintels and side-posts of their homes.

The Syrian version of Marjoram- Origanum Maru- is generally regarded as the likeliest candidate for the hyssop referenced in scripture which, in the first book of Kings (4:33) is described as a plant "...that springeth out of the wall", meaning that it typically grew in rocky crevices.

Another candidate is the caper bush (Capparis Sicula or Capparis Spinosa), whose pickled flower buds are widely used in Mediterranean cooking.

Many scholars believe that the hyssop that was used in John 19:29 to lift the sponge soaked in cheap wine to the lips of Christ, as he hung on the cross, was another plant altogether, possibly the sorghum (Sorghum Vulgare), which produces tall stalks.
9. In the Book of Numbers (11:5) the Israelites complain of hunger in the desert, and recall that, while slaves in Egypt, they at least had enough to eat. Among other things, they mention these vegetables and fruits, which were available in abundance in Egypt.

Answer: Cucumbers, leeks, onions, melons, and garlic.

It is hardly surprising that the Israelites were nostalgic about cucumbers and melons (which would likely have included muskmelons and watermelons). With their high water content and cooling, refreshing flavor, they were undoubtedly a welcome treat in the hot, arid climate of the Middle East. Leeks, onions, and garlic are very ancient foods; even then, they were known to have healthful and strengthening properties.

Some modern commentators have speculated that the antiseptic and antioxidant qualities of garlic, which was readily provided to the Jewish slaves, may have helped them ward off the effects of the plagues described in Exodus, which so disastrously afflicted the Egyptians.
10. This fruiting tree is mentioned numerous times in Scripture. In Genesis 3:7 Adam and Eve are described as making themselves aprons from its leaves to cover their nakedness. In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus is described as cursing one upon finding it to be unfruitful, causing it to presently wither and die.

Answer: Fig

References to the fig tree in Scripture are too numerous to mention, and it is generally considered a sign of prosperity and plenty. The reference to fig leaves in Genesis inspired Michelangelo to depict the fig tree as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, from which Adam and Eve had been forbidden to eat.

The term "fig leaf" has entered the lexicon to describe any ineffectual or disingenuous form of camouflage. The fig tree is a native of Syria and Asia, and is cultivated extensively throughout the Middle East.

Its fruit has for years been a major food source throughout the East and the Mediterranean.
11. In Genesis 8:8-11, Noah twice sends a dove from the ark in search of dry land. When the dove returns the second time, it bears in its beak a leaf from this fruiting tree, indicating that the waters of the flood had begun to recede. For centuries, the image of a dove carrying a branch of this tree has been an emblem of peace.

Answer: Olive

After the waters of the flood receded and the ark was able to land, God made a covenant with Noah and with all living beings never again to destroy all of creation with a flood. Because the olive leaf was the first sign of life on earth after the flood, an olive branch- usually carried by a dove- has since become a symbol of hope and of peace.

The olive tree is mentioned in Scripture more often than any other fruiting tree. Its bitter fruits have for centuries been pressed for their highly-prized oil, which is probably more prized and cultivated today than at any other time in history. Olive oil was used as fuel for oil lamps and in medicine, in addition to its culinary uses. Many modern historians and scholars also believe that the olive tree was likely the tree of Christ's crucifixion. Trees that had ceased to be fruitful would have crossbeams nailed atop the trunks, from which the condemned would be suspended by nails, their feet being nailed to the trunks. If true, this would give the olive additional symbolism since, in Christian doctrine, the death of Christ was the instrument of establishing peace between God and man.
12. The book of Exodus- 28:33-34- specifies that the hem of priestly robes should be embroidered with images of this fruit, alternating with golden bells.

Answer: Pomegranates

This chapter of Exodus is unusual in Scripture, as it dictates in great detail the design of the robes to be worn by Aaron and the other priests, down to the precise colors and measurements, as well as the precious stones to be used in their adornment. The bells had a practical purpose: they would ring when Aaron came into God's presence in the Holy Place, and they were probably patterned after the bell-like flowers of the pomegranate itself.

Pomegranate trees have been cultivated in the Middle East from time immemorial, and its fruits are even more prized today for their health benefits. Eating pomegranates is now believed to help strengthen the heart and to lower blood pressure. The widespread availability of pomegranate juice has eliminated the difficulties of eating the fruit, which is difficult and messy to peel and contains numerous seeds. In Biblical times, the acidic sweetness of the fruits provided welcome refreshment in a hot climate, and the many-seeded fruits have long been a symbol of fertility and prosperity.
13. References to apples and to apple trees in Scripture are numerous. However, since trees of the genus "Malus Pumila" have only been introduced to the Holy Land comparatively recently, many scholars believe that the apple mentioned in scripture is actually this fruiting tree, whose botanical name is "Prunus Armeniaca".

Answer: Apricot

Apples are referenced extensively in the Song of Solomon, where they are generally associated with pleasure and gratification. Other passages in Scripture refer to "apples of gold", as in Proverbs 25:11- "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." Many scholars believe that the apricot, with its distinctive deep golden flesh, is the fruit thus described. Apricots have been cultivated in the Middle East since antiquity, and the pubescent, cleft fruits have often been a subject of erotic imagery, much like the peach, which makes it a likely candidate for the fruit mentioned in the Song of Solomon.

It should be noted, however, that the forbidden fruit mentioned in Genesis- for centuries reputed to be the apple- is not mentioned by name at all.
14. The inside walls and floor planks of the Temple of Solomon, as well as Solomon's chariot, were made of the fragrant wood of this tree, which has long been associated with Lebanon.

Answer: Cedar

Cedar has long been prized for its wood, whose strong fragrance derives from aromatic oils that render it resistant to rot and insect damage. Additionally, the deep-rooted trees have long been regarded as a symbol of endurance and fortitude. The cedars of Lebanon (Cedrus Libani) are frequently referenced in Scripture, notably in Isaiah 14:8- "Yeah, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no enemy has come up against us." With their thick, sturdy trunks, and the contrasting wind-swept, almost bonsai-like appearance of their branches, the cedars of Lebanon have long been an enduring symbol of that country, and a cedar tree adorns the Lebanese flag.

Its use in the Temple of Solomon is described in I Kings 6:9-20.
15. According to all four Gospels, Jesus was greeted upon his entry into Jerusalem before the Passion by crowds waving fronds from this tree. In many Christian churches, it has long been traditional to bless and distribute these fronds at the beginning of Holy Week.

Answer: Palm

The date palm (Phoenix Dactylifera) is one of the most iconic plants of the Middle East, and from time immemorial has provided both welcome shade and nourishing fruit to both inhabitants and travelers. In the desert, their presence is a welcome indication of the presence of water.

It has long been a symbol of victory and, in Catholic iconography, has traditionally been used to designate a martyr to the faith. The Sunday immediately before Easter Sunday has been observed in many Christian churches as Palm Sunday, and the practice of distributing Palm fronds, which have been blessed by the priest or minister, is of long standing.

In the Old Testament, the judge and prophetess Deborah conducted her judgments under the shade of a palm (Judges 4:5), and its stately appearance and endurance were regarded as a symbol of righteousness, as in Psalm 92: "The righteous shall flourish like the Palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God."
Source: Author jouen58

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