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.

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

B
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

C
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

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

E
Elderflower – Compassion
Elm – Dignity

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

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

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

I
Iris – Good news
Ivy – Dependance

J
Jasmine – Amiability
Juniper – Protection

K

L
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

M
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

N
Nasturtium – Patriotism
Nettle – Cruelty

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

P
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

Q
Queen Anne’s Lace – Fantasy
Quince – Temptation

R
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

S
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

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

U

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

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

X

Y
Yarrow – War

Z
Zinnia – Thoughts of Friends

Sources:
http://www.thegardener.btinternet.co.uk/flowerlanguage.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_of_flowers#See_also
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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