Did you know that tulip was once more valuable than gold in ancient Holland? And that they belong to the same family as onion? It’s true! Also, what is not very widely known is that there were no flowers on earth 140 million years ago. There were only cone-bearing trees and ferns. Very Jurassic Park, right? Though now the language of flowers or floriography has become universal, it wasn’t always so. Frankly speaking, even today the intricacies allude most of us.
The symbolic language of flowers was used in Turkish harems as a way of sending coded messages. Though it isn’t confirmed whether other people weren’t using flowers for similar purposes, this is regarded by many as the fountainhead of this wonderful trend. In 1718, the wife of ambassador to Constantinople, Lady Montagu, was said to be so fascinated by this tradition that she brought it back to England. In her turn, Queen Victoria got enchanted with the symbolism of flowers and spread it across the British Empire in 1837. Considering the wide reach of British rule in the world at that time, it spread like wild-fire to distant parts of the globe. History can sometimes be interesting too, right 🙂 ?
Handy Guide to Decoding the Symbolism of Flowers
This beautiful flower is almost universally found and adored. It signifies a lot of different emotions besides love. Not only do the colors affect their meaning, but their number does too. Rose generally signifies love in all it’s varied forms. While 12 roses signify the ultimate declaration of love, 25 say congratulations and 50 means unconditional love. White roses stand for purity and innocence, yellow for friendship, pink expresses gratitude, while the blue one says ‘I can’t stop thinking about you’. Gifting a bouquet of wild roses would mean you admire the simplicity of that person.
This exotic and regal flower shows refinement and mature charm. It represents rare and delicate beauty in all it’s luxurious splendor. Here also, the color of flowers change their meaning. Pink shows pure love, white is perfect for congratulating a newborn’s parents and yellow symbolizes joy. Purple shows admiration and respect. Orange orchids can be presented to someone to encourage them and boost their morale up as it symbolizes pride and enthusiasm. Green expresses longevity and happy blessings. Yellow orchid like yellow roses signify friendship.
White Calla lilies are perfect for a wedding bouquet as they not only stand for beauty and magnificence, but their white color also signify innocence and purity. Lily generally symbolizes sophisticated beauty and purity, but different colors and varieties carry significance of their own.
Easter lily is the emblem of Virgin Mary, Lily of the Valley indicates purity of heart while Calla lilies symbolize beauty and magnificence. Likewise, color also affects the symbolic significance of lilies. Orange means passion, yellow delight and pleasure while white indicates modesty and unaffectedness.
This pretty little unassuming flower carries loads of diverse meaning. Though they basically signify purity, innocence, freshness and new beginnings, they also symbolize true love. Daisies are perfect for new mothers as well as children because they signify new beginnings. But, this bloom also symbolizes true or loyal love where one can keep a secret. Sending a bouquet of daisies can mean responding with a ‘I like you too’.
Gerbera daisy shows cheerfulness while the English daisy stands for innocence. Also, white daisy symbolizes cleansing, purity and innocence whereas the yellow ones mean gentleness and fresh-faced beauty. If sending them as get well bouquet, choose light pink gerbera daisies as they symbolize sympathy and friendship.
Tulip is symbolically closely related to love. It blooms in a variety of colors ranging from pure white to purple, maroon and black. There are over 3000 varieties of tulip existing today. Now let’s get into their color symbolism. White is perfect for sending an apology or as a wedding gift as it represents both forgiveness as well as innocence and purity. Cream signifies commitment. Yellow tulip though had some depressing connotations earlier, it has come to represent cheerfulness and sunshine.
Orange signifies energy, enthusiasm and fascination whereas red tulips symbolize true love. Pink expresses happiness and can cover almost any occasion you want to send a bouquet for. Purple obviously indicates royalty and nobility as is it does in the case of orchids. These are the commonly available colors and can come in real handy while ordering a bouquet for any occasion.
Carnation has been admired for centuries for it’s affiliation to love and god. Dianthus, as it is scientifically known, roughly means flower of the gods or of love. Though it’s actual color is purple-pink, people have created different colored varieties ranging from white to green. It basically indicates beauty and pride. Coming to their color significance, dark red carnation represents deep love while light red shows admiration. While white carnation symbolizes good luck, pure love and innocence, the pink bloom indicates ‘I’ll always remember you’ and the unchanging love of a mother.
Carnation can be used to express negative emotions too. Yellow carnation is used to indicate disappointment or rejection and the striped variety means refusal or regret the inability to return emotions or love. A purple one might mean fickleness of character or situation.
Chrysanthemum too appeared in nature as a gold-colored bloom but was cultivated to a range of colors from white to maroon and even mixed colors in a single bloom. It symbolizes long life, optimism, beauty and joy. Interestingly, a single flower of chrysanthemum is actually a collection of multiple small flower heads.
A bouquet of chrysanthemums is the perfect choice for someone’s 13th wedding anniversary. While the violet ones are best as a get-well-soon gift. White chrysanthemum indicates devoted love and truth. While red shows love, yellow means sorrow and unrequited love.
Flowers Love Double Entendres
Not only do colors affect the meaning of flowers as a gift, they sometimes can signify totally different emotions depending on the situation. Like, while we know peony symbolizes happy marriage, prosperity and health, it can also be used to communicate shame or indignation. Though hydrangea generally expresses gratitude, it can also symbolize heartlessness. Daffodils too can have ambiguous significance. They can symbolize new beginnings as well as unrequited love. So, be sure to use the right flowers while sending a bouquet keeping in mind your last encounter with that person…just to be on the safer side 🙂 .
Though having been around for years, the symbolism of flowers has gone through a lot of change over the years. We have been putting our own interpretation depending on the availability of varieties in different countries, cultural significance of colors, situations connected with their gifting and emotions of the giver. For instance, the meaning of yellow tulips has evolved from once representing hopeless love to now signifying cheerful thoughts and sunshine. But some things have remained constant over time and geographical variations. White still means purity and innocence and red signifies passionate love.
Flowers can express more than words. They can symbolize human emotions in all its flamboyant diversity. So, which is your favorite bloom? Do you prefer a single meaningful bloom or a thoughtfully assembled bouquet of flowers?
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