|What Different Flowers Symbolize
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Certainly no one will dispute that when we think of a wedding, we think of
flowers. Their scent and their color are an almost irreplaceable element of your wedding decor. Whether you select simple arrangements and floral
touches, or you go all out, flowers will lend an air to your wedding that no other decoration can quite match.
Many brides and grooms select their flowers based purely on color. Some also consider the type of flowers to set a mood. Roses create a far
different feeling that wildflower combinations. Some make selections on the bride's favorite flower or because of budget constraints. There
is no right or wrong when it comes to flowers, so long as the rules of good taste and common sense are followed. There may also be a bride and
groom who take another point into consideration when making their floral selections. That is what has come to be the meaning of individual flowers,
the language of flowers which has come down to us through history.
The symbolic and legendary meanings of flowers dates back to the Elizabethan era, but it was the Victorians who actually assigned simple
messages to individual flowers. Flower Language was Introduced to the Swedish court in 1714 by Charles II, and the Victorian mode of flower
language spread quickly throughout Europe.
This was a period where expressions of feeling were restricted by etiquette and conformity, so men and women came to use the beauty and color of flowers
to express emotions which they could not express in other ways. Flowers became a vehicle for the expression of wishes and thoughts. Flower selection
became a carefully thought about and planned activity, so that the appropriate sentiment, though or wish could be conveyed without being
spoken. To enhance this Flower Language, presentation also became important and the clever gift-giver could add even more meaning in this way. An
upside-down bouquets, for example. could be used to express the opposite meaning of the flowers. To receive an inverted rose was easily understood
to mean rejection.
Flower Language became so much a part of the social culture of the times that durch die Blume sprechen (speaking through flowers) actually became
a Western proverb that meant any flowery or poetic expression hiding a secret message of love.
Should you be one of those for whom the Language of Flowers still holds meaning, then the list below will help you to determine the message that
your wedding flowers will convey to those "in the know." You may even choose to explain the meaning to your guests by way of a card placed at
Alstromeria is named after the Swedish botanist Baron Klas von Alstroemer.
This South American flower's seeds were among many collected by Von Alstroemer on a trip to Spain in 1753.
Apple Blossom signifies better things to come.
Aster (also starworts) is Latin for "star," and refers to the flower's star-like shape. Wort means "root." The word root applied to plants with
healing properties, an "industry now experience a resurgence in holistic medicine. There are more than 600 species of aster, the most popular of
which is the Monte Casino. Asters are the flower of September, and were the herb of the goddess Venus. The ancients believed that, when burned,
the fragrance of the leaves drove away serpents. Asters were placed on the graves of French soldiers to symbolize afterthought and the wish that
things had turned out differently. One myth tells that asters were created from stardust when Virgo looked down from the heavens and wept. The poet
Virgil believed that the altars of the gods were often adorned with asters. The asters symbolizes afterthought or variety, except in China, where
they signify fidelity.
Bird of Paradise
Botanists are divided on how this flamboyant flower got its name. Some claim that the flower's brilliant orange and blue blossom, resembling a
bird in flight, is named after the bird of paradise itself — one of the most beautiful bird species in the world. The flower is also known
as the strelitzia, so some believe that it was named after England's Queen Charlotte, born Charlotte Mecklenber-Strelitz.
The calendula's genus name, wor calendae, means "throughout the months." Of the marigold family, calendula was valued historically for its medicinal
and culinary uses. An ancient beverage made from a mixture of calendula blossoms in wine was believed to be an aid in curing indigestion.
Calendula petals were commonly used in ointments that cured skin irritations, jaundice, sore eyes, and toothaches. The Romans used
calendula mixed with vinegar to season their meat and salad dishes. Early Christians called calendula "Mary's Gold," and placed it by the
statues of the Virgin Mary. The most sacred flower of ancient India, calendula stems and flower heads were strung into garlands and placed
around the necks of holy statues. The calendula's flower head follows the sun, so it is sometimes called "summer's bride" or "husbandman's
dial." In the language of flowers, the calendula flower symbolizes "winning grace."
Originally called dianthus by the Greek botanist Theopharastus, the carnation is native to the Near East and has been cultivated for the last
2,000 years. Some historians believe that the name "carnation" comes from "coronation" or "corone" (meaning flower garlands), because it was one of
the flowers used in Greek ceremonial crowns. Others think the name has its origin from the Greek carnis (flesh), referring to the original color of
the flower, or incarnacyon (incarnation), which refers to the incarnation of God made flesh. The floral message of the carnation dates back to
ancient Rome where the flower was known as "Jove's Flower," The Romans used it in their tribute to one of their beloved gods. The symbolism
of the carnation takes on a very serious overtone In Korea. There, a young girl may put three carnations in her hair by which to tell her
fortune. Should the top flower die first, her last years of life will be difficult. If the middle flower dies first, her earlier years will bring
the most grief. Sadly, if the bottom flower dies first, the girl's fortune is foretold that she will be miserable her whole life. In
their color message, carnations are believed to be expressions of love, fascination, and distinction. Light red carnations represent
admiration, while dark red denote deep love and affection. White carnations indicate pure love and good luck. Striped ones symbolize a
regret that a love cannot be shared. Green carnations are for St. Patrick's Day and purple carnations indicate capriciousness. Pink
carnations have the most symbolic and historical significance. According to Christian legend, carnations first appeared on
Earth as Jesus carried the Cross. It was then that the Mary shed tears at Jesus' plight Legend tells us that and carnations grew
from where her tears fell. It was for this reason that the pink carnation became the symbol of a mother's undying love. In 1907 it
was chosen by Ann Jarvis as the emblem of Mother's Day, now observed in the United States and Canada on the second Sunday in May.
Chrysanthemum in red, says "I love you" and in white, symbolizes truth.
Cyclamen symbolizes modesty and shyness.
The daisy's name comes from the Anglo-Saxon "daes eage," or "day's eye,"
which refers to the way the flower opens and closes with the sun. The
daisy is knows as a symbol of childhood innocence and is said to originate
from a Dryad who presided over forests, meadows, and pastures. Roman
mythological legend tells us that the nymph Belides, as she danced
with the other nymphs at the edge of the forest, caught the eye of
Vertumnus, the god of the orchards. To escape his unwanted attention,
she transformed herself into the flower bellis, which is the daisy's
Daisies are often confused with chrysanthemums. The daisy continue to be
associated with simplicity and modesty, characteristics carried down from
the Victorian era. Heartbroken Victorian young women who wished to be
loved once again by their suitors began a custom using the daisy, that
is still in use today. In Victorian times is was a young maiden would
pluck a daisy's petals one by one and sing, "He loves me, he loves me
not," for each petal pulled. The last petal so plucked predicted the
future of such love.
Young girls might also pick a handful of daisies with eyes closed. The
number of blossoms in hand told of the number of years remaining until
marriage. Its simplicity has made the daisy a favorite of many poets.
Its healing and predictive powers made it popular not only with farmers,
but also with an infamous English king. Spring, medieval farmers would
say, would not arrive until one could set a foot on twelve daisies. To
dream of daisies in springtime or summer was a lucky omen, but dreams
of them in fall or winter meant certain doom. Transplanting wild daisies
to a cultivated garden was considered to be very unlucky. King Henry
VIII ate dishes of daisies to relieve himself from his stomach-ulcer pain.
For then, it was also believed that drinking crushed daisies steeped
in wine, in small doses over a period of fifteen could cure insanity.
The message that daisies bring are of innocence, purity, and gentleness
on behalf of both the giver and the receiver. The daisy's message is,
"You have as many virtues as this plant has petals," or, "I will
consider your request." A white daisy symbolizes a common feeling
of affection, and a red daisy tells of beauty unknown to the possessor.
Daffodil symbolizes regard.
Forget-me-not symbolizes true love and remembrance.
Heliotrope symbolizes devotion and faithfulness.
Honeysuckle symbolizes generosity.
Hyacinth symbolizes loveliness.
Hydrangea symbolizes boastfulness.
Iris symbolizes warm affection.
Ivy symbolizes eternal fidelity.
Japonica symbolizes loveliness.
Jasmine symbolizes amiability.
Lemon Blossom symbolizes fidelity in love.
Lilac (White) symbolizes youthful innocence.
Lily symbolizes majesty
Lily of the Valley
The Lily of the Valley foretells the return of happiness. One legend
describes the affection of a lily of the valley for a nightingale that would not come back to the woods until the flower bloomed in May. So, the
Lily of the Valley has come to symbolize Lily of the Valley the return of happiness.
Magnolia symbolizes perservance.
Maidenhair symbolizes discretion.
Mimosa symbolizes sensitivity.
Orange Blossom symbolizes purity and virginity.
The orchid's name derives from the Greek word "orchis," meaning "testicle."
Its history is associated with lust, greed, and wealth. Some orchids are called "ladies' fingers," "ladies' tresses," or "long purples." Orchids
were collected extensively during the 1800s. History relays that at one point, four thousand trees were cut down to collect the orchids growing
on their branches. One collector alone was believed to have sent hundreds of thousands of orchids to England, where, unfortunately, most of them
There are almost 25,000 different types of orchid. Greek women thought they could control the sex of their unborn children with orchid roots.
They believed that if the father consumed large, new tubers, the child would be male and, if the mother ate small tubers, the child would be
female. The orchid's reproductive behavior has been a basis for study for years amongst botanists for years. The orchid's peculiarity is that for
its seed to germinate it needs to be penetrated by fungus threads. The paphiopedilum orchid was named for Phaphos, a temple on Cyprus where the
love goddess Aphrodite was worshiped (and where prostitutes were said to be readily available.) The most famous orchid, the vanilla orchid, was
said to give strength to the Aztecs, who drank vanilla mixed with chocolate.
The color of the orchid delivers strong messages. It brings a universal message of love, beauty, wisdom, and thoughtfulness. In China it signifies
refinement, and the innocence of children. A pink orchid signifies pure affection. The popular cattalya orchid symbolizes mature charm, which is
why it's a "natural" for Mother's Day corsages.
Peach Blossom symbolizes a captive heart.
Roses, as indicated by fossil remains, have been around since prehistoric
times. The first cultivated roses appeared in Asian gardens more than 5,000 years ago. Introduced in Europe during the Roman Empire, roses
were primarily used ornamentally. Cleopatra is said to have scattered rose petals before Mark Anthony's feet and, we are told that Nero
released roses from the ceiling during extravagant feasts and banquets.
The rose is one of our most sentimental flowers. Legend has it that roses blushed with shame when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of
Eden. There is a Roman legend that tells of several suitors bent on marrying a beautiful woman named Rodanthe. She, however, cared for
none of them. Not easily deterred, her suitors continued in their efforts to win the fair Rodanthe. They did do with such vehemence
that they even resorted to breaking down the doors to her home. Angered by their actions and wishing to teach the zealous suitors
a lesson, the Goddess Diana turned Rodanthe into a rose, and her suitors into thorns.
The rose is the flower emblem of England. According to English superstition, should the petals fall from a freshly cut red rose,
bad luck follows. The red rose is the badge of the House of Lancaster and the flower of Eros and Cupid. In Wales, the white rose represents
innocence and silence, and, as a result, is placed on the grave of a young child. To Native Americans, the white rose symbolizes security
and happiness, and is often worn during wedding ceremonies. It is the badge of the House of York and the flower of the Virgin Mary.
The rose is infused with symbolism. It has always meant and continues to be the messenger of love. A single rose symbolizes perpetual love.
Two roses of any color taped or wired together signify a commitment or forthcoming marriage.
Rosemary symbolizes remembrance.
Snowdrop symbolizes hope.
Sweet Pea symbolizes delicate pleasures.
The tulip originated as a wildflower in Persia. In the 1500s, tulips were
extensively cultivated in Turkey. Based on their resemblance to the "tulbend," a turban worn by Turkish men, they were called tulipan.
In 1562, tulip bulbs from Constantinople reached Antwerp by ship. Before the turn of the century, tulips had been so rare that only
the wealthiest that in Holland could afford them. It was for this reason that tulips became an obvious status symbol for the rich.
By the 1620s, merchants the world over began buying and selling tulips. "Tulip madness" was the result. Tulip trading crashed in
1637, throwing Holland into financial ruin. The Dutch government enacted strict laws for cultivating and selling bulbs, and,
appropriately, the tulip became the national emblem of Holland.
Legend tells of a Persian youth, named Ferhad, who fell in love with a young woman named Shirin. She did not reciprocate his feelings
for her, so he went out into the desert to die, presumably from a broken heart. As his heart ached, his tears fell into the sand and
turned into beautiful tulips. Amongst the Persians, the tulip is an offering a young man makes to his beloved. What he is saying in the
Language of Flowers is "as the redness of this flower, I am on fire with love." Shortly after World War II, the Dutch shipped hundreds
of thousands of tulip bulbs to Ottawa, the capital of Canada. This symbolic gesture showed their thanks to the Canadian soldiers for
freeing Holland from German occupation, and also the way Canada's government welcomed Queen Maria to remain in Ottawa while the during
Color messages abound with tulips which primarily express a declaration of love in a gift from a lover. Variegated tulips are for "beautiful
eyes." Red tulips indicate an irresistible love, and yellow tulips indicate hopeless love that has no chance of reconciliation. Tulips
that are combined in color express other messages, Red and yellow roses together are an expression of congratulations, while yellow
and orange roses together imply passionate thoughts. Red and white roses signify unity.
Veronica symbolizes fidelity.
Violet symbolizes faithfulness
Should you choose to add a message to your weddings, you now know the Language of Flowers and may convey their sentiment and symbolism to
(Our thanks to FTD for being such a valuable resource).
FLOWERS HOT TIPS
Queen Victoria started the romantic gesture of including ivy in the bridal
bouquet. After the wedding the ivy can be rooted and then planted as a living
reminder of your special day. Perhaps, it might become part of your own daughter's
bouquet on her wedding day.
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