the flower of

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the flower of (something)

The finest, most vital, or most exemplary part of something. Though many worry the legislation will hamper trade with foreign countries, I'm hopeful that it will help nurture and cultivate the flower of local industries. The community has been struggling to come to terms with the death of the three boys, all struck down in the flower of youth.
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the flower of —

the finest individuals out of a number of people or things.
Middle and early modern English did not recognize the modern distinction in spelling and sense between flower and flour , and the earliest instances of this expression relate to the sense that in modern English would be spelt flour , referring to the finest part of the wheat.
1991 Pat Robertson New World Order This vainglorious conqueror wasted the flower of French youth on his own personal dreams of empire.
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the flower of something

(literary) the finest or best part of something: The people of the village will never forget the war and their young men, killed in the flower of youth.
See also: flower, of, something
References in classic literature ?
Just then the Tulip Society of Haarlem offered a prize for the discovery (we dare not say the manufacture) of a large black tulip without a spot of colour, a thing which had not yet been accomplished, and was considered impossible, as at that time there did not exist a flower of that species approaching even to a dark nut brown.
Then the flower of vines; it is a little dust, like the dust of a bent, which grows upon the cluster in the first coming forth.
This is the flower of the Upas-tree, which usually grows only in the depths of forests; and the flower fades so quickly after being plucked, that it is scarcely possible to keep its form or colour even so far as the outskirts of the forest
The researchers found that placing a live "demonstrator" bumblebee on an artificial flower of one color usually inspired observer bumblebees to fly to faux flowers of the same color.
This is the official flower of the city of Los Angeles, the flower that is as much a part of living here as traffic.
You can even find a sky-blue color in the flower of the felicia.
Scouring forests in Borneo, Beaman and his colleagues located a male flower of Rafflesia pricei in bloom and created a picture window on its private life.
Roses - sold in bunches wrapped tightly in newspaper - are the flower of choice for most shoppers.
Orchids, the flower of choice in almost every decorating magazine these days, are offered in a variety of stalls, and the prices are negotiable.
Now is the time to order the flower of hope for cancer patients in the Antelope Valley.
It's the first flowers of spring so it's the flower of hope,'' said local Daffodil Days chairwoman Pam Turner, herself a survivor of breast cancer.
He also said large orchids are making a comeback, but the single hottest flower of the moment is the gerbera daisy from South Africa - but you wouldn't wear one in your hair or in a corsage because they need to be in water, he explained.
Strangely enough, the bird of paradise, at some distant point in time, was designated the official flower of the city of Los Angles.