Mennonite women from the 17th to 20th centuries, when they became well established and wealthy, did not decorate their clothing with large showy flowers like sunflowers, tulips or roses but instead chose small simple flower patterns to fit with their desire to live modestly. The preferred flower for decoration was the Saxifraga Umbrosa. It was because of this frequent use by Mennonite women that the plant became known as the “Menniste zusje.” From the 17th century on "Menniste zusje" also became an idiomatic expression in Dutch literature and was used in stereotyping Mennonite women. It developed the meaning of a young woman dressed plainly and modestly in Mennonite fashion, who was apparently virtuous, serious and shy, but yet contravened the community boundaries and her own moral conventions. In 1913 Christiaan N. Wybrands published a study on this material in a book titled: Het Menniste Zusje (#53 Jaarverslag van het Koninklijk Oudheidkundig Genootschap te Amsterdam).
Botanica Sistematica. "Saxifraga umbrosa L. Sp. Pl. ed. 2 574 (1762)." Web. 18 May 2011. http://luirig.altervista.org/schedeit/pz/saxifraga_umbrosa.htm
Gingerich, Melvin. "Change and uniformity in Mennonite attire." Mennonite Quarterly Review 40, no. 4 (October 1966): 243-259.
The Saxifraga Society. "Saxafraga umbrosa." Web. 18 May 2011. http://www.saxifraga.org/plants/saxbase/taxon.asp?Taxon=595
|Date Published||May 2011|
Cite This Article
Wiebe, Victor. "Menniste Zusje (Flowering Plant)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2011. Web. 30 Aug 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Menniste_Zusje_(Flowering_Plant)&oldid=83453.
Wiebe, Victor. (May 2011). Menniste Zusje (Flowering Plant). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 August 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Menniste_Zusje_(Flowering_Plant)&oldid=83453.
©1996-2014 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.