The Language of Flowers-part 1

Language of flowers

Purple liac symbolizes “first emotions of love” in the language of flowers.

The language of flowers, sometimes called floriography, was a Victorian-era means of communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. This language was most commonly communicated through tussie-mussies (small flower bouquets), an art which has a following today.

The nuances of the language are now mostly forgotten, but red roses still imply passionate, romantic love and pink roses a lesser affection; white roses suggest virtue and chastity and yellow roses still stand for friendship or devotion. Also commonly known meanings are sunflowers, which can indicate either haughtiness or respect– they were the favorite flower of St. Julie Billiart for this reason

Inevitably there are geographic variances.


The notion of plants having meanins is traditional, as seen for example in the play Hamelet (circa 1600), Act 4, Scene V, in the passage beginning “There’s rosemary, thats for remembrance,…” The 19th century interest in a language of flowers finds its roots in Ottoman Turkey, specifically the court in Constantinople and an  obsession it held with tulips during the first half of the 18th century.

The craze was then introduced to Europe by two people: Englishwoman Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762), who introduced it to England in 1717, and Aubry de La Mottraye (1674–1743), who introduced it to the Swedish court in 1727. This was then eventually popularized in various European countries – in France, it was popular about 1810–1850, via such books as Le Langage des Fleurs (“The Language of Flowers”, 1819, Charlotte de Latour), while in Britain it was popular during the Victorian age (roughly 1820–1880), in the US about 1830–1850, and spread worldwide Symbolic meaning of flowers

Flower Meaning
Acacia Secret love
Acanthus Art
Aconite Misanthropy
Agrimony Thankfulness
Aloe Grief
Almond Promise
Amaranth (Globe) Immortal love
Amaryllis Pride
Ambrosia Love is reciprocated
Anemone Forsaken, sickness (negative), anticipation, unfading love
Angrec Royalty
Apple blossom Preference
Arborvitae Everlasting friendship
Arbutus “You’re the only one I love”
Arum Ardor
Asparagus foliage Fascination
Asphodel My regrets follow you to the grave
Aster Symbol of love, daintiness, talisman of love,trusting
Azalea Take Care, temperance, fragile, passion, Chinese symbols of womanhood
Baby’s breath Innocence, pure of heart
Bachelor button Single blessedness, celibacy
Balm Social intercourse or sympathy
Balsam Ardent love
Balsamine Impatience
Bay wreath Glory
Begonia Beware, a fanciful nature
Bellflower Disappointment, loss
Bells of Ireland Luck
Berrirose Choose your destiny, I won’t give up my promise, I’ll love you forever
Bird’s-foot Trefoil Revenge
Bird of Paradise flower Liberty, magnificence, good perspective, faithfulness (given by a man to a woman)
Box Constancy
Borage Courage
Broom Humility
Bulrush Docility
Bumblebee Orchid Industry
Buttercup Riches
Cabbage Profit
Camellia japonica Unpretending excellence
Campanula Gratitude
Canterbury Bells Gratitude
Carnation general Fascination; distinction; love
red Deep romantic love, passion, “My heart aches for you,” “Alas; for my poor heart!”
green secret symbol of the followers of Oscar Wilde
white Sweet and lovely, innocence, pure love, faithfulness
pink A woman’s love, a mother’s love, “I’ll never forget you,” “Always on my mind,”
yellow rejection, disdain, “You have disappointed me”
purple Capriciousness, whimsical, changeable, unreliability
mauve Dreams of fantasy
striped No, refusal, “Sorry I can’t be with you”
solid color Yes, affirmative
Celandine Joys to come
Cherry blossom A good education
Transience of life, Wabi-sabi, gentleness, kindness (in Japan)
Feminine beauty (in China)
Chestnut “Do me justice”
China aster Love of variety, fidelity, “I will think of you”
Chrysanthemum red “I love”
yellow Slighted Love
Coreopsis Always cheerful
Cowslip Winning grace
Clove Undying love
Clover red Industry
white “I promise”
Columbine “the emblem of deceived lovers,” ingratitude, faithlessness
Coriander Lust
Cypress Death, mourning, despair, sorrow.
Daffodil Uncertainty, chivalry, respect or unrequited love, return my affection
Dahlia Elegance and dignity
Daisy general Innocence, loyal love, purity, faith, cheer, simplicity; or, dissembling as in Shakespeare’s Hamlet
red Beauty unknown to possessor
Dandelion Coquetry
Delphinium Levity, fun, big-hearted, ardent attachment, joy
Eglantine Rose A wound to heal
Elderflower Compassion
Fennel Strength or, as in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, flattery and deceit
Forget-me-not True love
Fungus Resilience, loneliness, solitude, disgust
Gardenia You’re lovely, secret love, joy, sweet love, good luck
Geranium Gentility
Gladiolus Strength of character, honor, conviction
Gorse Love in all seasons
Grass Submission
Heather purple Solitude, beauty, admiration
white Protection
Heliotrope Devotion
Hibiscus Rare beauty, delicate beauty
Hollyhock Ambition
Honeysuckle Devoted affection, bonds of love
Houseleek Domestic economy
Flower Meaning
Hydrangea Frigidness, heartlessness (negative), heartfelt gratitude for being understood
Iris Good news
Ivy Dependence, endurance
Jasmine Unconditional and eternal love (in the Philippines)
Jonquil “Return my affection”
Laurel Ambition, success, renown
Laurestine A token
Lavender Devotion, distrust
Lemon blossom Discretion
Lettuce Cold-hearted
Lilac purple First emotion of love
white Youthful innocence, memories
Lily white Purity
scarlet High-souled aspirations
orange Desire, passion, hatred (negative)
Lily of the Valley Sweetness, Humility, Returning Happiness, Trustworthy
Lime Blossom Fornication
Lobelia Malevolence
Lotus Purity, chastity and eloquence
Love lies bleeding Hopelessness
Magnolia Love of nature
Mallow Consumed by love
Marigold Pain and grief
Mayflower Welcome
Mignonette Worth
Mint Suspicion
Moonflower Dreaming of love
Morning glory Love in vain
Mullein Good-nature
Narcissus Unrequited love, selfishness
Nasturtium Patriotism
Oak leaf Strength
Oats Music
Olive Peace
Orchid Refined beauty
Oxeye daisy Patience
Pansy Thoughts (according to Ophelia of Hamlet)
Peach blossom Long-life, generosity, and bridal hope
Pear blossom Lasting friendship
Peony Shame, bashfulness
Prosperity, honor (in China)
Masculinity, bravery (in Japan)
Phlox Harmony, “Our souls are united”, “We think alike”
Pitch pine blossom Philosophy
Plum blossom Beauty and longevity
Plumeria Perfection, springtime, new beginnings
Primrose Eternal love
Protea Courage
Poppy general Eternal sleep, oblivion, imagination
red Pleasure
white Consolation, dreams, modern, peace
yellow Wealth, success
Rainflower I love you back, I must atone for my sins, I will never forget you
Rose red True love
blue Mystery, attaining the impossible, love at first sight
white silence or innocence, wistfulness, virtue, purity, secrecy, reverence and humility
black Death, hatred, farewell, rejuvenation or rebirth
yellow Friendship, jealousy, infidelity, apology, a broken heart, intense emotion, dying love, extreme betrayal
pink Grace
dark pink Gratitude
light pink Desire, passion, joy of life, youth, energy
burgundy Unconscious beauty
coral or orange Desire, passion
lavender (violet) Love at first sight
red and white together United
red and yellow together Joy, happiness and excitement
thornless Love at first sight
Rosemary Remembrance
Rue Regret, Sorrow, Repentance
Sensitive Plant Sensitivity
Snowdrop Consolation or hope
Star of Bethlehem Atonement, Reconciliation
Straw United
Sunflower Pure and lofty thoughts
Sweetbrier Simplicity
Sweetpea “You have my thanks”
Thorn-apple Disguise
Thistle Nobility
Thyme Thriftiness
Tulip-tree Fame
Tulip red Undying love
purple Forever love
white One side love
yellow Hopeless love
Violet blue Faithfulness
purple Daydreaming
white Modesty
Viscaria Invitation to dance
Willow  (creeping) Love forsaken
Winged seeds (any kind) Messengers
Witch-hazel A magic spell
Wheat Wealth and prosperity
Wormwood Absence,bitter sorrow



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