Language of Flowers

Floriography, or the Language of Flowers, was a most enchanting practice of the Victorian times in which people communicated messages and conveyances through flowers and herbs. This language of flowers is possibly one of the most romantic gestures that ever existed. Writers, poets, artists, and everyday people employed the age-old symbolism of flowers and herbs, rooted in Mythology and folklore, to express emotion and ideas. Today, it can be an ideal outlet for those of us who seek the deeper meaning behind things.

Though there are inevitably countless variances in flower meanings based on geography, language, and culture, most flowers’ meanings are remarkably consistent throughout the world. As there are cases of extreme discrepancy, (such as with Basil, which in some manuals meant true love and in others, hatred), when sending or receiving messages it would be wise to combine flowers/herbs whose meanings are more consistent with those that are more elusive. In my attempts to help preserve and perhaps even revive this charming practice, here is an index of some popular flowers and herbs and the meanings assigned to them by tradition and folklore.

Join my Facebook page to send messages to friends using the Language of Flowers.

Acacia – Secret Love
Almond – Promise
Amaranth – Immortal Love
Amaryllis – Pride
Anemone – Unfading Love
Aster – Talisman of love, Trusting
Azalea – ‘Take Care’

Baby’s Breath – Innocence, Purity of Heart
Balm – Sympathy
Balsamine – Impatience
Basil – Request for good wishes, True Love
Bay leaf – ‘I change but in death’
Bay Wreath – Glory
Begonia – Fanciful Nature, Beware
Borage – Abruptness
Broom – Humility
Buttercup – Riches

Calendula – Mental anguish
Carnation, any color – Fascination, Distinction
Carnation, red – ‘My heart aches for you’
Carnation, white – Faithfulness
Carnation, pink – ‘I’ll never forget you’
Carnation, yellow – Disappointment
Celandine – Joys to come
Chamomile – Patience in adversity
Chrysanthemum, yellow – Slighted love
Cinnamon – Forgiveness of injuries
Clover ,white – ‘I promise’
Coriander – Lust, Hidden merit

Daffodil – Chivalry, Respect, Unrequited Love
Dahlia – Elegance, Dignity
Daisy – Simplicity, Pure Love
Dandelion – Rustic Oracle
Delphinium – Transcendance of space + time

Elderflower – Compassion
Elm – Dignity

Fennel – Strength, or Flattery + Deceit
Fern – Sincerity
Forget-me-not – True Love
Foxglove – Insincerity

Gardenia – ‘You’re Lovely’
Geranium – Gentility
Ginseng – Improves mental powers
Goldenrod – Encouragement
Grass – Submission

Heather, white – Protection, ‘Your wishes will come true’
Hibiscus – Rare beauty
Hollyhock – Ambition
Honeysuckle – Bonds of Love, Devoted affection
Hydrangea – Heartlessness
Hyssop – Sacrifice

Iris – Good news
Ivy – Dependance

Jasmine – Amiability
Juniper – Protection


Laurel – Ambition, Renown, Success
Lavender – Devotion
Lilac, purple – First emotion of Love
Lilac, white – Youthful innocence, nostalgia
Lily, white – Purity
Lily of the Valley – Returning Happiness, Sweetness, Trustworthy
Lobelia – Malevolence
Lotus – Chastity
Love-lies-bleeding – Hopelessness

Magnolia – Love of Nature
Mallow – Consumed by Love
Mandrake – Rarity
Marigold – Pain, Grief
Mayflower – Welcome
Mint – Virtue
Mistletoe – ‘I surmount all’
Moonflower – Dreaming of Love
Morning Glory – Love in Vain
Mullein – Good-natured

Nasturtium – Patriotism
Nettle – Cruelty

Oak leaf – Strength
Olive – Peace
Orchid – Refinement
Oregano – Happiness
Oxeye Daisy – Patience

Parsley – A call for Festivity
Peach blossom – Generosity, Long-Life, Bridal Hope
Pear blossom – Lasting Friendship
Peony – Bashfulness
Plumeria – New beginnings
Primrose – Eternal Love
Poppy, red – Pleasure
Poppy, white – Consolation, Dreams,
Poppy, yellow – Wealth, Success

Queen Anne’s Lace – Fantasy
Quince – Temptation

Rose, red – True Love
Rose, white – Silence, Virtue, Secrecy, Reverence, Humility
Rose, yellow – Friendship, Apology, Jealousy
Rose, dark pink – Gratitude
Rose, light pink – Desire, Passion
Rose, lavender or violet – Love at First Sight
Rosemary – Remembrance, ‘Your presence revives me’
Rue – Regret

Saffron – Mirth
Sage – Domestic Virtue
Snowdrop – Consolation
St. John’s Wart – Animosity
Star of Bethlehem – Reconciliation
Straw- Unity
Strawberry – Perfect excellence
Sunflower – Pure + Lofty thoughts
Sweetbriar- Simplicity
Sweet Marjoram – Happiness

Thistle – Nobility
Thyme – Courage, Bravery
Tulip, red – Undying Love
Tulip, yellow – Hopeless Love


Valerian – an accommodating disposition
Vervain – Enchantment
Violet, blue – Faithfulness
Violet, white – Modesty
Viscaria – Invitation to dance

Willow – Forsaken Love
Winged seeds, any – Messengers
Witch-Hazel – Magic
Wheat – Prosperity


Yarrow – War

Zinnia – Thoughts of Friends

The Meaning of Herbs by Anne Fiery

2 thoughts on “Language of Flowers

  1. Simone says:

    I love this blog entry! Thank you for sharing this!

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