10 Facts about Plant Symbols on Pysanka, Easter Egg

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“The Story of Pysanka” (2019) is an abundant source of information on Ukrainian Easter eggs. The book tells about their origin, styles and uses. We selected 10 facts on pysanka plant symbols.

Woman wearing a kerchief sits in a garden and holds “The Story of Pysanka” book
“The Story of Pysanka” (2019).

1. Pysanka plant symbols are numerous and diverse. (Thus, “The Story of Pysanka” mentions some 3 dozen pysanka plant symbols).

2. Another word that can be used in place of ‘plant’ or ‘plant-form’, for example, in the expression ‘plant symbols’ is ‘phytomorphic’.

3. Plant symbols may represent either a whole plant, or any part of it (a leaf, a flower or even a stem).

4. Plant symbols can have many variants. (For example, “The Story of Pysanka” mentions about a dozen variations of ‘rozha’ (mallow) symbol).

5. Leaves follow flower symbols in popularity. (“The Story of Pysanka” contains several examples of leaf symbols, including periwinkle, oak, nut, horseradish, maple and cherry).

6. Logically, pysanky’s names often reflect the motif or symbol they feature.

7. Interestingly, ‘Rozha’ (mallow) pysanka is mentioned in Hryhoriy Kvitka-Osnovyanenko’s novel ‘Here’s a Treasure for You’ (1837). As a matter of fact, our book refers to two stories of this Ukrainian writer; the second story being ‘A Soldier’s Portrait’ (1833).

8. On a rare occasion the same symbol can represent different plants in various localities of Ukraine. For instance, the ‘field mallow’ of Ostroverhivka village and the ‘‘oak leaf’ of Lebedyn town, are almost identical. 

9. One of the most ancient of pysanka plant symbols is the ‘sosna’ (pine). Together with another ancient symbol ‘sontse’ (the sun) it represents the resurgence of nature.

10. Plant symbols are also often found on Moravian (Czech) and on some Serbian Easter eggs.

Infographic with seven images featuring pysanky plant symbols alongside plants they represent.
Some of the pysanka plant (flower) symbols from “The Story of Pysanka”.