The Language of Flowers

The meanings of flowers have come from many legends throughout history. The time when these meanings were actually put to use the most was in Victorian England (during the reign of Queen Victoria). The exchange of flowers gave a way for lovers to communicate without the knowledge of chaperones. The way the flowers were worn or presented, the color of the flower, and of course the flower itself all had to do with the particular message that was trying to be conveyed. If the flowers were resented upright, they had a positive meaning. However, if they were presented upside down, their meaning was the opposite. If the ribbon was tied to the left, the meaning referred to the giver; the right referred to the recipient.

Flowers were used to answer questions also. If they were handed over with the right hand, the answer was "yes"; with the left hand, "no". Here is an example I found in Garden Flower Folklore by Laura C. Martin. "If a boy sent a girl a rosebud with the leaves and thorns still on it, it meant "I fear, but hope". If the rosebud was returned upside down, it meant, "You must neither fear nor hope". If the rosebud was returned with the thorns removed, the message was "you have everything to hope for". If the thorns were left but the leaves removed, the message was "you have everything to fear". If the young lady kept the rosebud and placed it in her hair, it meant "caution". If she placed it over her heart, the message was clearly "love".

Flowers and Their Meanings

  • Amaryllis: pride
  • Anemone: forsaken
  • Begonia: beware
  • Bluebell: constancy
  • Carnation (purple): antipathy
  • Carnation (red): admiration
  • Carnation (striped): refusal
  • Carnation (white): pure and ardent love
  • Carnation (yellow): disdain
  • Chrysanthemum (red): I love
  • Chrysanthemum (white): truth
  • Chrysanthemum (yellow): slighted love
  • Clematis: mental beauty
  • Columbine: folly
  • Cornflower: delicacy
  • Daffodil: regard and chivalry
  • Daisy: innocence, gentleness
  • Dandelion: oracle
  • Forget-Me-Not: insincerity
  • Geranium: melancholy
  • Hollyhock: female ambition
  • Iris: message, faith and wisdom
  • Lavender: distrust
  • Lilac: first emotions of love
  • Marigold: jealousy
  • Morning Glory: farewell and departure
  • Narcissus: conceit
  • Orchid: a belle
  • Pansy: thoughts
  • Peony: shame and bashfulness
  • Poppy: eternal sleep
  • Poppy (red): love and desire
  • Rose (red): love and desire
  • Rose (pink): our love is perfect happiness
  • Rose (white): charm and innocence
  • Rose (red and white): unity
  • Rose (yellow): jealousy and infidelity
  • Rosebud: beauty and youth
  • Rose (withered): fading beauty
  • Sunflower: haughtiness, devotion
  • Tiger Lily: declaration of love
  • Violet: modesty
  • Wallflower: friendship in adversity
  • Zinnia: thoughts of absent friends

Now that you know the meanings of some of the most well known flowers, why don't you send some to someone special and tell them just how you feel.

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