the flower of

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.
See also: flower, of

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.
See also: flower, of

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 ?
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
You can even find a sky-blue color in the flower of the felicia.
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.