The hyacinth originates from West Asia, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. The plant started to be cultivated in Austria in around 1560. The hyacinth is one of the most important bulb crops grown in the Netherlands. It was imported into Western Europe from the Middle East in the 16th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries it could only be found in the collections of wealthy flower lovers.
The name Hyacinthus comes from the Greek Hyakinthos. He was a character in Greek mythology: a beautiful youth whom Apollo loved and accidentally killed. Apollo created a flower from the shed blood which he named after his dead friend. The Greek word was latinised and because Hyacinthus.