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2016-07-14
Your Ultimate Guide to Flower Meanings


Your Ultimate Guide to Flower Meanings

Flowers, plants, and herbs have been used as symbols since antiquity. But it was the Victorians who were truly fluent in the language of flowers, following the 1819 publication in France of Charlotte de Latour’s Le Langage des Fleurs. In this popular book, hundreds of flora were paired with translations, which ranged from heartwarming to heartbreaking.

Courting couples during thes times used blooms to declare their affection even when strict etiquette prohibited them from speaking openly, a method of communicating that became nearly an art. An ill-considered choice of blooms could leave a suitor’s amorous intention misunderstood, whereas the right flower needed no explanation. If a lady was given a spray of red tulips, for instance, she knew her gentleman caller was smitten. If the ardor was returned, she might send him a bouquet of lilacs. But if she chose to respond with an arrangement of ivy, he’d realize a romance probably would not blossom. Even the way in which flowers were handed to the recipient had significance. To indicate the sincerity of the message, the blooms were held upright. But if they were presented upside down, the exact opposite meaning was intended.

Over time, many floral definitions have changed according to culture and whim. Here, the most common meanings still associated with specific flowers today. 

BABY’S BREATH

Meaning: Everlasting love

BELLS OF IRELAND

Meaning: Good luck

CALLA LILY

Meaning: Magnificent beauty

CARNATION

Meaning: Pure love

CARNATION (PINK)

Meaning: Woman’s love

CHAMOMILE

Meaning: Energy in action 

CHERRY BLOSSOM

Meaning: Education 

CHRYSANTHEMUM

Meaning: You’re a wonderful friend

COXCOMB

Meaning: Unfading love 

DAFFODIL

Meaning: The sun shines when I’m with you

DAHLIA

Meaning: Dignity and elegance, forever thine 

DAISY

Meaning: Innocence

DELPHINIUM

Meaning: Bighearted, fun 

FERN

Meaning: Magic

FREESIA

Meaning: Innocence

GARDENIA

Meaning: Refinement

GERANIUM

Meaning: True friendship

GLADIOLI

Meaning: Generosity, I’m sincere

HOLLY

Meaning: Domestic happiness

HYACINTH

Meaning: Sport and play

HYDRANGEA

Meaning: Thank you for understanding

IRIS

Meaning: I have a message for you

YELLOW IRIS

Meaning: Passion

IVY

Meaning: Friendship

LADY’S MANTLE

Meaning: Comfort

LAVENDER

Meaning: Love and devotion

LILAC

Meaning: First emotions of love

LILY-OF-THE-VALLEY

Meaning: Return of happiness

MIMOSA

Meaning: Secret love

NARCISSUS

Meaning: Stay as sweet as you are

OLIVE BRANCH

Meaning: Peace

ORCHID

Meaning: You’re in my thoughts

PEONY

Meaning: Bashful

RED POPPY

Meaning: Pleasure

RANUNCULUS

Meaning: Radiant with charms

ROSE

Meaning: Love

WHITE ROSE

Meaning: I am worthy of you

ORANGE ROSE

Meaning: Fascination

PINK ROSE

Meaning: Perfect happiness, grace and sweetness

DARK PINK ROSE

Meaning: Thankfulness

PEACH ROSE

Meaning: Immortality, modesty

ROSEMARY

Meaning: Remembrance

SNAPDRAGON

Meaning: Strength

STEPHANOTIS

Meaning: Marital happiness, desire to travel

STOCK

Meaning: Bonds of affection, you’ll always be beautiful to me

SWEET PEA

Meaning: Delicate pleasures

TULIP

Meaning: Declaration of love

PINK TULIP

Meaning: Caring

YELLOW TULIP

Meaning: There’s sunshine in your smile

MAGENTA ZINNIA

Meaning: Lasting affection

SCARLET ZINNIA

Meaning: Constancy

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings


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