Everything About Flower Meanings
Flower meanings and the legendary associations of flowers have existed for centuries, if not millennia. See Alphabetical List of Flower Meanings below for the meaning of specific flowers.
In ancient religions, many flowers were originally linked to deities. Goddesses and gods associated with flower include Venus, Diana, Jupiter and Apollo. Flower remains and essential oils have also been found in ancient burial sites.
Flowers are everywhere! Flowers have been grown in decorative gardens on virtually every continent on earth. Flowers have been used as adornment for centuries.
During the Victorian era, an elaborate flower language was developed. Learn more in the article The Language of Flowers.
Alphabetical List of Flower Meanings
Aster Flower Meaning
The flower meaning of asters is daintiness and love. The name comes from the Greek word for “star.” Asters are believed to have healing properties. Asters were placed on the graves of French soldiers to symbolize the wish that things had turned out differently. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
There are many varieties of asters that are popular garden plants. Asters grow in all hardiness zones. Hardiness zones are based on ten degree average temperature differences. The United States and Canada are divided into eleven hardiness zones.
Azalea Flower Meaning
The flower meaning of azaleas is temperance, passion, love, ardor, womanhood (China), take care of yourself for me and fragility. Find other Flowers Meaning Love. The English name derived from the Greek word azaleos, meaning “dry.
Azaleas are members of the rhododendron family. Azaleas grow as shrubs and small trees with large, showy flowers and are popular as ornamental plants in landscaping.
Baby's Breath Flower Meaning
The flower meaning of baby’s breath is purity of heart, humility, innocence, and the breath of the Holy Spirit. Find other Flowers Meaning Humility. Baby’s breath is often used as ornamental garden plants and as filler in bouquets.
Baby’s breath is white with dense, delicate clusters of flowers. They are native to Europe, but have been naturalized throughout the eastern United States.
Bachelor Buttons Flower Meaning
The flower meaning of bachelor buttons is celibacy, single, blessedness, hope in love, and delicacy. The bachelor’s button is also known as the cornflower, basket flower and boutonniere flower. Bachelor buttons are blue and have been prized historically for their pigment. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
According to folklore, a young man would wear a bachelor button flower to indicate his love for a young woman. If the love was unrequited, the flower would fade quickly. The bachelor button, or blue cornflower, is the national flower of Poland.
Bauhinia Flower Meaning
The bauhinia flower is a symbol of harmony. The orchid-like flowers are purple-red and surrounded by thick leaves. Bauhinia flowers bloom from November to March.
The Bauhinia flower is featured on the flag of Hong Kong with five petals and stars in white surrounded by a red background. Bauhinia has a double-lobed leaf similar to a heart shape
Begonia Flower Meaning
The flower meaning of begonias is fanciful nature and beware. Begonias are large shrubs which grow in subtropical and tropical moist climates in South and
Central America, Africa and southern Asia.
Because of their showy flowers of white, pink, scarlet or yellow color and often attractively marked leaves, many species and hybrids of begonias are cultivated.
Bird of Paradise Flower Meaning
The flower meaning of the bird of paradise flower is freedom, good perspective, and faithfulness (when given from a woman to a man). The bird of paradise flower is so-named because of a resemblance to the actual animal known as the bird of paradise. Find other Flowers Meaning Freedom.
In South Africa the bird of paradise is commonly known as a “crane” flower. The leaves are large and broad, similar to a banana leaf but with a longer petiole, and arranged to form a fan-like crown of evergreen foliage.
Bluebells Flower Meaning
Bluebells have long been symbolic of humility and gratitude. Find other Flowers Meaning Humility. They are associated with constancy, gratitude and everlasting love. Bluebells are also closely linked to the realm of fairies and are sometimes referred to as “fairy thimbles.” To call fairies to a convention, the bluebells would be rung.
Bluebells are widely known as harebells in Scotland. The name originated due to the hares that frequented the fields covered with harebells. Some sources claim that witches turned themselves into hares to hide among the flowers.
Another name for bluebells is Dead Man’s bells. This is due to the fact that fairies were believed to cast spells on those who dare to pick or damage the beautiful, delicate flowers. The people of Scotland are fond enough of the flower to continue this tradition in the hopes of protecting the little flower.
Bluebells can be found in North America, Western Europe and North Africa. In some areas they are referred to as wild hyacinths. Bluebells grow in forests, grasslands, mountainsides, along the ocean and in brush areas. Bluebells are members of the lily family and native to Portugal and Spain. A favorite flower around the world for many centuries, the bluebell is a particularly beloved flower in Britain.
Bluebells are easy to grow, can handle both sun and shade and even thrive in neglected gardens. Bluebells are usually grown from bulbs and reproduce by creating smaller off set bulbs as well as seeds. Bluebells will also grow in pots, tubs and urns. Bluebells normally flower early in the year from April through June.
The delicate flowers hang from a central stem. The plant also features narrow leaves in light to medium green. Many butterflies just leaving winter hibernation are fans of the bluebell’s nectar.
Mountain bluebells are an edible variety of bluebells that grow in the western United States on stream banks and in wet meadows, damp thickets and foothills in Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, California and Oregon. The flowers can be eaten raw and the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked.
Mountain bluebells also have medicinal uses. Mountain bluebells were used medicinally by the Cheyenne Indians. An infusion of leaves was used for smallpox and measles. An infusion of the whole plant was taken by women after childbirth to increase milk flow and powdered roots were used for itching from smallpox.
Buttercup Flower Meanings
Buttercups are part of a large genus of 400 species. Buttercups usually flower in April or May but may be found throughout the summer.
In the Pacific Northwest (USA) the buttercup is called Coyote’s Eyes. The legend is that a coyote was tossing his eyes up in the air and catching them again when an eagle snatched them. Unable to see, the coyote made eyes from the buttercup.
Cactus Flower Meanings
The flower meaning associated with the cactus flower is endurance, my heart burns with love, and maternal love. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
Cacti are distinctive and unusual plants, adapted to extremely arid and hot climates, with a wide range of features which conserve water. Their stems have expanded into green succulent structures containing the chlorophyll necessary for life and growth, while the leaves have become the spines for which cacti are so well known.
Calendula Flower Meanings
The flower meaning for the calendula is winning grace, grief, despair and sorrow. Calendula blossoms in wine are said to ease indigestion.
Calendula petals are used in ointments to cure skin irritations, jaundice, sore eyes and toothaches. The marigold is also part of the calendula family.
Calla Lily Flower Meanings
Calla lilies are native to southern Africa. On the African island Madagascar, the calla lily thrives due to the steady temperatures and moderate seasons. Calla lilies will bloom all year around as long as they have a sufficient supply of water, energy and nutrition.
The calla lily is not actually a lily, but a separate genus. Although the calla lily was known in ancient Rome, it was first catalogued in modern times, probably in the mid-1700s, and misnamed by the famous Swedish botanist Carolus Linneaus. Later the German botanist Karl Koch found the error and established a new genus, zantedeschia, for the calla lily and related flowers. However, the original common name of “calla lily” has continued to be used.
The calla lily was used by the Romans in association with the winter solstice. The lilies were forced to bloom indoors during the darkest time of year to celebrate the preservation of the light and to bring this symbol of the light indoors. Calla lilies were often associated with funerals, only later to become a popular wedding flower.
The lily was a sacred flower to the Minoans and also prized among the ancient Jews. In Christian iconography, the flower came to represent purity, chastity and the ascension. In contrast with this, the flower’s large spadix, a phallic flower stalk containing many male (pistillate) and female flowers, was symbolic of lust and sexuality among the Romans.
As mentioned above, calla lilies have been viewed as a symbol of death and associated with funerals. In this capacity, they have been placed on the graves of youth who have suffered untimely deaths.
The calla lily is a flowering genus of twenty-eight species growing mostly in marshy areas. The calla lily grows continuously in water and can survive mild frost. Calla lilies make hardy cut plants and can survive for quite a while in vases. A single calla lily in a tall vase is a classic statement of elegance and beauty.
Georgia O’Keeffe successfully brought the calla lily to prominence with her series of close-up paintings of single calla lily flowers. She wanted to have the viewer really look at the fundamental form of the flower without any preconceived notions. Her sensual flowers redefined the flower as a pure, almost geometric form. The calla lily is also visible in many of Diego Rivera’s works of art.
Camellia Flower Meanings
The symmetrical beauty and long-lasting qualities of the camellia have long been appreciated by young lovers as a token for expressing devotion to each other. In the eyes of the Chinese, the petals reflect the spirit of a lady, and the holder of the petals (the calyx) represents the young man entrusted by the lady as her protector.
The calyx of the camellia falls with the petals when the flower has finished blooming. This is unlike most other flowers, where the calyx seems to hang around the tree even after the petals have dropped. This phenomena made the flower a symbol of everlasting union between lovers.
In many parts of China, the camellia is the favored flower for young sons and daughters. The camellia is the most popular and highly respected flower in Southwest China. It was honored as the national flower for the ancient southern kingdom, Dai Li. In a land marked by steep hills and roaring rapids, the camellia transforms the hills and valleys into oceans of red and white in early spring.
In many parts of China, the camellia is the favored flower for young sons and daughters. The camellia is the most popular and highly respected flower in Southwest China. It was honored as the national flower for the ancient southern kingdom, Dai Li. In a land marked by steep hills and roaring rapids, the
camellia transforms the hills and valleys into oceans of red and white in early spring.
Camellias are large plants that do not need direct light. These hard, wooded plants are often grown in pots. Plants should be repotted after the dormant season before they begin to grow again. Camellias can be repotted as often as needed and should be watered abundantly as they start to grow.
Camellias should also have an occasional showering or washing to remove dust from their leaves. Liquid manure is one of the best fertilizers to use for
camellias, though it should only be applied when they are dormant or growing but not during the blossoming season. Otherwise the buds may be over stimulated and will be turned into leaves instead of flowers.
During the winter, camellias can handle a considerable amount of cold, even below freezing temperatures, for very short time periods. Once the plant has begun to grow and then to blossom, it needs a great deal of heat. Camellias generally blossom very fully, then rest a few days or even a week. Once the flower buds have formed, the amount of water and heat can be diminished.
Carnation Flower Meanings
The flower meaning associated with the carnation is fascination, impulsiveness, capriciousness, joy, devoted love, happiness, disdain, and refusal (white only). Carnations were used in Greek ceremonial crowns. Find other Flowers Meaning Happiness. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
The name carnation may come from the Greek carnis (flesh) and refer to the incarnation of God made flesh. The English name is derived from the flower name, from French carnation, meaning “complexion,” from Italian carnagione, meaning “flesh-colored.”
Cattail Flower Meaning
The meaning associated with the cattail is peace and prosperity. Cattails or bulrushes are wetland plants with spongy, strap-like leaves and starchy, creeping stems. Find other Flowers Meaning Prosperity.
The thick root can be ground to make a flour substitute. The spread of cattails is an important part of the process of open water bodies being converted to vegetated marshland and eventually to dry land.
Chamomile Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the chamomile flower is energy in action. The extract of German chamomile is taken as a strong tea.
Chamomile has been used in herbal medicine as a digestive aid and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Chamomile is also used in ointments and lotions, and as a mouthwash against infections of mouth and gums.
Cherry Blossom Flower Meaning
The flower symbolism associated with the cherry blossom is education and love. In China, the cherry blossom is also a symbol of feminine beauty. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
The cherry blossom flower represents the feminine principle and love. In Japan, cherry blossoms symbolize the transience of life because of their short blooming times. Falling blossoms are metaphors for fallen warriors who died bravely in battle. This connotation links them with the samurai.
Christmas Rose Flower Meaning
The Christmas rose is purported to have flowered on Christmas Day, and is therefore associated symbolically with the infant Jesus.
The Christmas Rose is a member of the genus Helleborus and is not related to the rose bush. The Christmas Rose is frost-resistant and many species are evergreens.
Chrysanthemum Flower Meaning
The flower meaning and symbolism associated with the chrysanthemum is abundance, wealth, prosperity, cheerfulness, optimism, truth and freedom (white), hope, humility, rest, wonderful friendship, I love (red), and slighted love (yellow).
The Japanese put a single chrysanthemum petal at the bottom of a wine glass to sustain a long and healthy life. Japanese emperors sat on the Chrysanthemum throne. The name is derived from the feminine form of Greek Chrysanthos, meaning “golden flower.” In Italy, chrysanthemums are associated with death.
Find other Flowers Meaning Hope. Find other Flowers Meaning Freedom. Find other Flowers Meaning Friendship. Find other Flowers Meaning Happiness. Find other Flowers Meaning Humility. Find other Flowers Meaning Love. Find other Flowers Meaning Prosperity.
Crocus Flower Meaning
The plants grow from corms and are mainly perennials. They are found in a wide range of habitats including woodland and meadows. Crocuses are native to central and southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, central Asia and China.
Cyclamen Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with cyclamen flowers is modesty, shyness, resignation and goodbye. This symbolism makes cyclamen especially appropriate for gifts for friends who are retiring or relocating. Cyclamen can be grown both outdoors and indoors in pots. Cyclamen are a genus of plants containing twenty species. They are native in the Mediterranean and Africa. Cyclamen grow mainly in dry forest or scrub areas. They are part of the primrose family, although they are tuberous and bear no obvious resemblance to primroses. Cyclamen have white, bright pink, red or purple flowers.
Some cyclamen species are endangered due to population depletion caused by those who collect them to sell on the horticultural market. Many species are now propagated in nurseries to avoid harm to the wild species.
According to folklore, cyclamen worn by a woman in labor will speed the delivery. On the other hand, caution is given to women in earlier stages of pregnancy due to the concern that they will abort their baby if they come in contact with cyclamen.
Cyclamen is said to counteract poison and to make an effective ointment to heal a snake bite. Cyclamen have been used as a powerful purgative to clear the sinuses or remove boils or blemishes from the skin, but large doses can be poisonous, so theses practices are risky. A plaster of cyclamen was reputed to be helpful for cataracts, sunburn and gout.
Daffodil Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the daffodil is regard, unrequited love, hope, chivalry, sunshine, prosperity, respect and “the sun shines when I’m with you.” Find other Flowers Meaning Hope. Find other Flowers Meaning Love. Find other Flowers Meaning Prosperity.
Though the traditional daffodil of folklore, poetry, and field may have a yellow to golden yellow color all over, due to breeding the daffodil may now be variously colored. Breeders have developed some daffodils with double, triple, or ambiguously multiple rows of petals, and several wild species also have known double variants.
In Greek mythology, the daffodil is described as a pale yellow deathless kind of lily flower that overspreads the plains of Hades and is the favorite food of the dead. The English name is derived from the Latin “asphodelus” and from the Greek “asphodelos.” Daffodils are also known by the English name derived from the
Latin juncus, meaning “rush.”
Dahlia Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the dahlia is dignity, elegance, and forever thine. The Aztecs used dahlias as a treatment for epilepsy.
Europeans used the dahlia as a source of food in the 1840s when disease destroyed the French potato crop. The dahlia is named after Swedish 18th-century botanist Anders Dahl.
Dahlias are often grown for flower shows.
Daisy Flower Meaning
Daisies are often depicted in meadows in medieval paintings, also known as a “flowery mead.” Daisies are believed to be more than 4,000 years old and hairpins decorated with daisies were found during the excavation of the Minoan Palace on the Island of Crete.
Even further back, Egyptian ceramics were decorated with daisies. More recently, daisies were used in Mary Gardens, symbolic gardens created in honor of the Virgin Mary. The daisy is also symbolically connected to St. John. Find other Flowers Meaning Beauty.
The family Asteraceae (known as the aster, daisy, or sunflower family) is the largest family of flowering plants. The name ‘Asteraceae’ is derived from the type genus Aster, meaning star. The family comprises more than 1,600 genera and 23,000 species. Asteraceae are most common in the temperate regions and tropical mountains.
The name daisy come from “day’s eye” because the flower is only open during the day and closes up at night. Another name is “thunderflower” since it blooms in the summer when thundershowers are common. In addition, the daisy is believed to keep away lightening. For this reason, it was also kept indoors.
A common name in England for the flower is bruisewort since the crushed leaves could be used for soothing bruised or chapped skin. Commercially important plants in the daisy family include the food crops lettuce, chicory, globe artichoke, sunflower, safflower and Jerusalem artichoke.
Other commercially important species include flowers used as herbs and in herbal teas and other beverages. Chamomile and calendula are grown commercially for herbal teas and the potpourri industry. Echinacea is used as a medicinal tea.
Dandelion Flower Meaning
The flower symbolism associated with the dandelion is love me, affection returned, desire, sympathy, faithfulness, happiness and love’s oracle. Find other Flowers Meaning Faith. Find other Flowers Meaning Happiness. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
The dandelion is native to Europe and Asia, and has been introduced to many other places. In northern areas and places where the dandelion is not native, it has become a weed, exploiting disturbed ground in human environments.
Day Lily Meaning
The symbolic meaning of the day lily is forgetting worries. As an omen for expectant mothers who wish for baby boys, the flower means “Suited for A Boy.”
The Chinese also venerate the day lily as a symbol of filial devotion to one’s mother.
Delphinium Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the delphinium is big-hearted, fun, lightness, levity, and ardent attachment. The name delphinium comes from the Greek word delphis, a reference to the flower’s resemblance to the bottle-like nose of the dolphin.
Delphiniums were used by Native Americans to make blue dye. European settlers used delphinium for making ink. Delphiniums were also once thought to drive away scorpions.
Edelweiss Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the edelweiss flower is daring, courage and noble purity.
The flowers are felted and woolly with white hairs and characteristic blooms consisting of five to six small yellow flower heads surrounded by leaflets.
Eidelweiss is a European mountain flower belonging to the sunflower family. The name comes from German edel (meaning noble) and weiss (meaning white).
The flower symbolism associated with ferns is magic, fascination, confidence, shelter, discretion, reverie and a secret bond of love. A great many ferns are grown as landscape plants, for foliage for cut bouquets and as houseplants. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
Ferns do not have seeds or flowers, but reproduce by spores. There are about 12,000 varieties of ferns worldwide. The English name is derived from the Old English “fear” meaning “fern,” a type of leafy plant. The name was first used in the 19th century when “dainty” names were popular.
Forget-Me-Not Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the forget-me-not is true love and memories. In 15th century Germany, it was supposed that the wearers of the flower would not be forgotten by their lovers. In a medieval legend, a knight and his lady were walking along the side of a river. He picked a posy of flowers, but because of the weight of his armor he fell into the river. As he was drowning he threw the posy to his loved one and shouted “Forget-me-not.” Another legend is that Christ was sitting on Mary’s lap one day and said that he wished that future generations could see them. He touched her eyes and then waved his hand over the ground and blue forget-me-nots appeared. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
Foxglove Flower Meaning
Foxglove flowers have both positive and negative symbolic meanings. They are said to sometimes hurt and sometimes heal. In the language of flowers, foxglove is associated with insincerity and immortality. Find other Flowers Meaning Immortality.
The common name is said to come from “folk’s gloves,” with “folk” referring to fairy folk. Another theory is that fox wore the gloves so they would not be caught raiding a chicken coop. Rumor also has it that picking foxglove off ends the fairy folk. Most likely, this tale was told to children to keep them away from the poisonous plant.
Another possible origin of the name is due to its similarity to an ancient bell-shaped musical instrument, the fox’s glew. In medieval gardens dedicated to the Virgin Mary, foxglove was called “Our Lady’s Gloves” or “gloves of the Virgin.” The scientific name is digitalis, a reference to the presence of powerful chemicals that can heal heart conditions if taken correctly but can kill if taken in large amounts.
The danger of these compounds is reflected in other names for the foxglove, including dead man’s bells and witch’s gloves. The flower is fatal enough that children have died from drinking the water in a vase containing foxglove flowers.
On the positive, the digitalis from foxglove plants is used therapeutically to increase heart contractions and to regulate fast or irregular heartbeats. It is often prescribed for patients with arterial fibrillation. The active compounds are extracted from the leaves in the second year of growth. The purified chemicals are referred to as digitoxin. Too much digitalis causes anorexia, nausea, diarrhea and blurred vision.
Foxglove thrives in soil that is rich in iron and coal. New coal fields can sometimes be located by finding masses of foxgloves growing together. Foxgloves thrive in temperate zones and like shade, part shade and sun. They do not flower the first year, but flower the second and subsequent years. Their height (2-5’) makes them wonderful plants for the back row of a garden.
Foxglove plants often reseed themselves. They like moist soil, but also need adequate drainage. Foxgloves grow quickly and are rarely susceptible to insects. The blooms will be bigger if they are fertilized.
Foxgloves come in white, yellow, pink, rose, red, lavender and purple. Foxglove can be grown either through seeds or divisions of plant clumps. Foxgloves bloom in a pyramid shape with the lowest blossoms opening first and the buds remaining closed at the top.
Fuschia Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the fuchsia is confiding love. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
Fuchsia flowers are a very decorative pendulous “eardrop” shape, growing in profusion through out the summer and autumn, and all year in tropical species.
In many species, the sepals are bright red and the petals purple, a combination of colors that attract hummingbirds.
Gardenia Flower Meaning
Gardenia plants are prized for the strong sweet scent of their flowers, which can be very large in some species. Gardenias are in the coffee family and are native to Africa, Asia, Australasia and Oceana. Gardenias also grow in Hawaii.
Gardenias are shrubs or small trees. The English name is derived from the flower name, meaning simply “garden flower.”
Geranium Flower Meaning
The flower symbolism associated with the geranium is true friend, stupidity, folly and meeting. Find other Flowers Meaning Friendship.
The genus name is derived from the Greek word geranos, meaning “crane.” The common name derives from the appearance of the seed-heads, which have the same shape as the bill of a crane.
Geraniums are found in temperate regions of the world and in tropical mountains.
Gladiola Flower Meaning
The gladiola is named for the shape of its leaves, which resemble a “gladius” or sword. The gladiola is said to have symbolized the Roman gladiators.
The British used the stem base (corms) as a poultice for thorns and splinters.
Globe Amaranth Flower Meaning
The globe amaranth is an annual plant that grows up to 24 inches tall. The true species has magenta flowers, and garden varieties have additional colors such as purple, red, white, pink, and lilac.
The globe amaranth is a genus of plants in the family Amaranthaceae.
Hibiscus Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with hibiscus is delicate beauty. Find other Flowers Meaning Beauty.
Hibiscus is a large genus containing over 200 species, including landscape shrubs (attractive to butterflies and bees), a variety used as a vegetable and another type used for paper making.
The most well-known use of hibiscus is for herbal teas.
The flower meaning associated with the holly is defense, domestic happiness and forecast. The Romans decorated their hallways with holly garlands for their mid-winter celebration, Saturnalia. Find other Flowers Meaning Happiness.
Medieval monks called the holly the Holy Tree and believed holly would keep away evil spirits and protect their homes from lightening. The pointed leaves represented the crown of thorns worn by Jesus, and the red berries symbolized drops of his blood.
Honeysuckle Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the honeysuckle is bond of love, friendship, beauty and I love you. Find other Flowers Meaning Beauty. Find other Flowers Meaning Friendship. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
Wood cuttings from honeysuckle are sold as cat toys. The wood contains nepetalactone, the active ingredient found in catnip.
Honeysuckle is a twining flower grown in China, Europe and North America. Many species have sweetly scented, bell-shaped flowers.
The meaning associated with the huckleberry is faith and simple pleasures. The tiny size of huckleberries led to their frequent use as a way of referring to something small, often in an affectionate way.
The phrase “a huckleberry over my persimmon” was used to mean a bit beyond my abilities. “I’ll be your huckleberry” is a way of saying that one is just the right person for a given job.
Hyacinth Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the hyacinth is games, sports, rashness, and playful joy. The name is derived from the Latin form of Greek hyakinthos. Hyacinths are named after Hyacinth, a figure in Greek mythology. This is the name of a youth loved by Apollo who accidentally killed him, after which the hyacinth flower sprouted from his blood. Find other Flowers Meaning Happiness.
Hyacinths are sometimes associated with rebirth. The hyacinth flower is used in the Haftseen table setting for the Persian New Year celebration. The prophet Mohammad is reported to have said “If I had but two loaves of bread, I would sell one and buy hyacinths, for they would feed my soul.”
Impatiens Flower Meaning
Impatiens are symbolic of motherly love. In the medieval gardens devoted to the Virgin Mary, impatiens were viewed as “Our Lady’s earrings.” Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
Impatiens flowers come in many different colors from reds to blues to near blacks and browns. The individual colors have not been given separate meanings.
There are approximately 1,000 species of impatiens flowers, but only a few are normally grown in modern gardens.
Impatiens come in a wide variety of forms including orchid-like shapes. Many species are difficult to grow from seed. Instead, impatiens flowers are often grown from cuttings. Other species grow only in very narrow ranges and will not grow in other geographical locations.
One of the unique features of impatiens is the explosive nature of the seed pods. Under extreme pressure, the ripe pods explode when they are disturbed. This scatters the seeds as much as twenty feet from the parent plant.
Impatiens also have a strange ability to change sex. The impatiens flower is male when it first opens. After a few days the pollen cap is shed and reveals female organs. This process is to keep the plant from self-pollination. However, it doesn’t always work. Some species naturally set seed without even opening their flowers. Other species are self-sterile.
Impatiens come from many different ecological niches. Some forms epiphytes in trees. The plants rely on the tree for mechanical support but not nutrients, which they produce themselves. The plants are therefore not truly parasitic. Other impatiens are hardy perennials with underground rhizomes and tubers. This allows them to survive bitter freezing temperatures in arctic climates. Other impatiens are semi-aquatics that grow in edges of streams.
Iris Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the iris is faith, wisdom, cherished friendship, hope, valor, my compliments, promise in love, wisdom. Find other Flowers Meaning Friendship. Irises were used in gardens devoted to the Virgin Mary. The blade-shaped foliage denotes the sorrows which “pierced her heart.” Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
The iris is the emblem of both France and Florence, Italy. The fleur-de-lis, one of the most well-known of all symbols, is derived from the shape of the iris flower. The fleur-de-lis is a symbol of the royal family in France and is the state flower of Tennessee. Find other Flowers Meaning Faith.
Iris flowers are a genus with 200-300 flowering varieties. The name is derived from the Greek word for rainbow. Irises are grown from bulbs or rhizomes and have long, flat leaves. Irises are used widely in gardens, especially the bearded varieties. Irises are easy to cultivate and propagate.
Blessed with the colors of the rainbow and the purest white, the iris has been recognized as the spirit of early summer. Its soft, fluttering petals remind the Chinese people of butterfly wings, flapping gently in the breeze. The flower is known as Tze Hu-tieh or “The Purple Butterfly.”
Ivy Flower Meaning
The symbolism and meanings associated with ivy is wedded love, fidelity, friendship and affection. Ivy walls are considered idyllic and charming.
A soundly mortared wall is impenetrable to the climbing roots of ivy and will not be damaged, and is also protected from further weathering by the ivy.
However, walls with already weak or loose mortar may be badly damaged, as the ivy is able to root into the weak mortar and further break up the wall.
Jasmine Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the jasmine flower is attachment, sensuality, modesty, grace, and elegance. Jasmines are widely cultivated for their flowers, enjoyed in the garden, as house plants, and as cut flowers. The flowers are worn by women in their hair in southern and southeast Asia.
Some claim that the daily consumption of jasmine tea is effective in preventing certain cancers. The English name is derived from the Persian yasmin, meaning “jasmine flower,” a plant in the olive family. The masculine form is Jasmin.
Lady's Mantle Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with Lady’s Mantle is that of a cloak for for the Blessed Virgin. Lady’s mantle was grown in Mary Gardens.
The name alchemilla (“little magical one”) derives from the dew which collects on the lady’s mantle.
Dew is often associated with magic. The dew was used as a beauty lotion, while pillows stuffed with it were reputed to bring on a good sleep.
Lilac Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the lilac is beauty, pride, youthful innocence, immortality, youth and love. A pale purple color is generally known as lilac after the flower. Lilacs can also be white, pale yellow, pink or burgundy. Find other Flowers Meaning Beauty. Find other Flowers Meaning Immortality. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
Lilacs are known for their strong, perfume-like scent and are the state flower of New Hampshire. Lilacs grow on shrubs or trees. The English woman’s name is derived from the name of this flowering bush. A pale purple color is generally known as lilac after the flower.
Lily Flower Meaning
In ancient times, the lily was dedicated to Hera, the wife of Zeus. A less then faithful spouse, Zeus fathered his son Hercules by the mortal woman Alceme.
Although the mother was mortal, Zeus wanted his son to have divine powers, so he brought the baby to Hera while she slept to allow the baby to nurse and receive divine powers through her milk. When she awoke, she flung the child from her in wrath. Her milk spewed across the universe, forming the Milky Way.
Some drops of her milk fell to earth. These drops became the first lilies. The day lily is aptly named due to the the fact that their flowers open at sunrise and wither at sunset. Day lilies are popular worldwide, with over 60,000 cultivars. Some species of the day lily are edible and are eaten in dishes in China including soup and stir-fry dishes. Some authorities claim that day lilies have medicinal properties.
The day lily has many names in China. When it has a cheerful position, the flower is called “Wong Yu,” meaning “Forgetting Worries.” As an omen for expectant mothers who wish for baby boys, the flower is called “I Nan,” meaning “Suited for A Boy.” Since the flower is worn by many mothers, the Chinese also venerate the day lily as a symbol of filial devotion to one’s mother.
Day lilies thrive in neglected areas and have spread so widely that they are sometimes considered a native wildflower. Day lilies in the wild are sometimes called Roadside Day Lily, Railroad Day Lily or Outhouse Day Lily. Day lilies have three petals, three sepals and six stamen. Day lilies grow in clumps, have long, flat leaves and are highly adaptable as landscape flowers.
Lotus Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the lotus is estranged love and forgetfulness of the past. Find other Flowers Meaning Love. The lotus is the national flower of India and a symbol of spiritual enlightenment, purity, rebirth and divinity. The blue or Indian lotus, also known as the bean of India, is the sacred water-lily of Hinduism and Buddhism.
Lotus roots are used widely in Asian cooking. The English name is derived from the flower name, from Latin lotus, from Greek lotos, a name for various kinds of plants before it came to designate the Egyptian “white lotus.” The Greek word may ultimately come from Hebrew lowt, meaning “covering, veil.”
Lupine Flower Meaning
Lupines are symbolic of imagination. The name “lupinus” actually means “of wolves” due to the mistaken belief that ancient peoples had that lupines robbed the soil of nutrients. The fact is that lupines add nitrogen to the soil. The Romans used lupines for fertilizer and ate the high-protein seeds.
In the United States, lupines grow well in the Pacific Northwest, the West Coast, New England and other northern states. They are both cultivated flowers and wildflowers. Lupines also grow abundantly throughout Europe as far north as Norway.
Lupines come in blue, pink, white, yellow and purple. The flowers are useful for dyeing cloth. The seeds of lupines are said to aid digestion and have been used in skincare for removing spots from the face.
The Romans used the flat seeds for theater money. Lupines are the only food for the Karner blue butterfly’s caterpillar. The larvae crawl up the stems of wild
lupines to feed on the new leaves in mid-April.
The scent from lupine blossoms is like that of honey, a nice addition to any garden. The magnificent flower spikes can be from 36-60 inches high. Lupines need full sun, rich soil and lots of moisture. They can grow in poor soils if the soil is not too alkaline.
Magnolia Flower Meaning
The flower symbolism associated with nobility, perseverance and love of nature. Magnolia is the official state flower of both Mississippi and Louisiana.
The flower’s abundance in Mississippi is reflected in its state nickname, the “Magnolia State.” The magnolia is also the official state tree of Mississippi.
One of the oldest nicknames for Houston, Texas is “The Magnolia City” due to the abundance of Magnolia Trees growing along Buffalo Bayou.
Marigold Flower Meaning
Marigolds are known as the “Herb of the Sun” and are symbolic of passion, creativity and happiness. Find other Flowers Meaning Happiness. The Welsh believed that if marigolds were not open early in the morning, then a storm was on the way.
Marigolds have been used as love charms and incorporated into wedding garlands. Water made from marigolds was thought to induce psychic visions of fairies if rubbed on the eyelids.
In some cultures, marigold flowers have been added to pillows to encourage prophetic or psychic dreams.
The marigold is also associated with the lion and the astrological sign Leo. Early Christians named the flower “Mary’s Gold” and offered the blossoms in place of money at the foot of her statues. The Portuguese introduced marigolds into India. Eventually the flower was offered to the Hindu gods Vishnu and Lakshmi. The marigold is also considered to be sacred among the Aztec Indians, who decorate their temples with the flower.
The marigold was once thought to protect against the plague and to be effective in stopping gossip. Interestingly, the marigold can symbolize cruelty and jealousy. When used in combination with spells, however, the marigold is an anti-dote for the sharp-tongued and promotes
Marigolds can be found in Europe, Africa and the Americas. Marigolds can adapt to a wide range of conditions, but prefer full sun and rich soils. The leaves of marigolds have been used to remove warts. Marigolds are also grown and harvested in Mexico to be added to chicken feed.
Chickens eating marigold-enriched feed produce eggs with a deep yellow color. The flesh of chickens who have been fed marigolds also take on a rich color to make them more appealing for human consumption. The blossoms themselves are quite edible for humans, too, and are often used in egg and cheese dishes. The blossoms also make a yellow dye for fabric.
The marigold is a hardy plant with yellow, orange or rusty red blooms. Marigolds have what many people consider to be a disagreeable odor. Some varieties have been bred to be odor-free, but this negates their use as a plant that wards off insects in gardens.
Marigolds are grown from seeds and range in height from 6 to 36 inches. The blossoms can be from 1/2 inch to 5 inches across.
Marjoram Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with marjoram is joy and happiness.
Marjoram is a somewhat cold-sensitive undershrub with sweet pine and citrus flavors. It is also called sweet marjoram.
Marjoram is cultivated for its aromatic leaves, either green or dry, for culinary purposes. The tops are cut as the plants begin to flower and are dried slowly in the shade.
Morning Glory Flower Meaning
The star-shaped morning glory is symbolic of a single day each year in which the Chinese lovers, Chien Niu and Chih Neu, are allowed to meet.
According to Chinese lore, Chien Niu was a boy star who was entrusted to take care of water buffalo in the heavenly kingdom. A girl star named Chih Neu was put in charge of seamstress duties.
They fell in love. The romance caused them to neglect their duties. In anger, God forced the young lovers to be separated on both sides of the Silver River and allowed them to meet only once during the whole year.
The morning glory is aptly named, as it blooms in the morning and dies by the afternoon. The flowers are funnel-shaped and prefer full sun. Morning glories will
grow in poor, dry soil. They are a vine flower and are highly useful for trellises where they reduce the heating and cooling costs of buildings.
Morning glories are known in China for their medicinal properties. The seeds are said to have a laxative effect. Large amounts of the seeds can also be hallucinogenic. The water morning glory, also known as water spinach or swamp cabbage, can be eaten like lettuce. Although categorized as a noxious weed, the state of Texas allows water spinach to be grown for personal consumption.
In ancient Mesopotamia, morning glory juice was used in combination with substance from the Castilla elastica tree to make a bouncing rubber ball over three thousand years ago.
Narcissus Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the narcissus is normality, stay sweet, self-esteem and vanity.
The name narcissus is derived from that of the youth of Greek mythology called Narcissus, who became so obsessed with his own reflection as he kneeled and gazed into a pool of water that he fell into the water and drowned.
The legend continues that the narcissus plant first sprang from where he died. The Latin form is derived from the Greek Narkissos, possibly meaning “numbness; sleep.”
Nasturtium Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the nasturtium is victory in battle and conquest. Nasturtium literally means “nose-twister” or “nose-tweaker” and refers to a genus of roughly eighty species of annual and perennial flowering plants.
The Nasturtium flower’s botanical name, Tropaeolum majus, is Latin for trophy, a warlike reference. Nasturtium have showy, often intensely bright flowers and rounded, shield-shaped leaves with the petiole in the center.
Orange Blossom Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the orange blossom is innocence, eternal love, marriage and fruitfulness. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
The orange blossom, which is the state flower of Florida, is traditionally associated with good fortune, and is popular in bridal bouquets and head wreaths for weddings. Find other Flowers Meaning Good Fortune.
The petals of orange blossom can also be made into a delicately citrus-scented version of rosewater. Orange blossom water is a common part of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Orchid Flower Meaning
Orchids have become a major market throughout the world. Buyers now bid hundreds of dollars on new hybrids or improved ones. Orchids are also one of the most popular cut flowers on the market.
There are nearly 22,000 types of orchids and they grow in nearly every climate on earth save deserts and glaciers. There are hundreds of societies and clubs worldwide dedicated to the study and cultivation or orchids.
When gardening orchid flowers, important points to remember are that orchids can grow in cool, intermediate and warm climates. They generally do not prefer excessive direct sunlight. Many types of orchids can be grown in pots as well—just be sure they get enough moisture as the soil in the pots can tend to dry out faster than the soil in gardens.
Fertilizer can assist orchids, but they do not require full strength with most brands. For indoor plants, a plate or saucer under the plant with a little water will help to humidify the air around the orchid. Also, make sure that the temperature in your home does not drop too much at night for warm-loving orchids.
The grass orchid is a delicate orchid with a gentle fragrance. The grass orchid usually grows in wild places largely untouched by man. The grass orchid is a favorite flower in oriental brush painting.
Pansy Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the pansy is merriment and you occupy my thoughts.
The pansy is also called the heartsease or Johnny Jump Up.
The name pansy is derived from the French word pensée meaning “thought,” and was so named because the flower resembles a human face.
In August the pansy is thought to nod forward as if deep in thought.
Peony Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the peony is happy marriage, romance, compassion, wealth, and prosperity. Find other Flowers Meaning Prosperity. Peonies are extensively grown as ornamental plants for their very large, often scented flowers.
The English name is derived from the flower name, peony, after the physician god Paeon because the flower was formerly used in medicine.
Peonies tend to attract ants to the flower buds due to the nectar that forms. Peonies are herbaceous plants or woody shrubs with red, white or yellow flowers.
Petunia Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the petunia is “your presence soothes me.”
Dixon, Illinois is the Petunia Capital of the world. Every year, the Petunia Festival draws thousands of visitors to the city. The streets are lined in petunias. The parade mascot is Pinky Petunia.
Petunias are of South American origin and closely related to tobacco, tomatoes and chilis.
Poinsettia Flower Meaning
The ancient Aztecs considered the poinsettia to be a symbol of purity. For them, the poinsettia was the “skinflower.”
The plant was used to produce red dye and also medicinally to reduce fevers. Today, poinsettias are the most easily recognized flower symbolic of Christmas.
Poinsettias are also known as the “Christmas flower” and “Mexican flame leaf.” Poinsettias originally came from Mexico and Central America.
According to a Mexican legend, one day near Christmas a child who was too poor to buy a present for the Christ child picked a bouquet of weeds from the side of the road. When the child reached the church, the plant miraculously blossomed into beautiful red and green flowers. Beginning in the 17th century, monks in Mexico included the plant in their Christmas celebrations.
Today in the United States, December 12th is Poinsettia Day. The American monopoly of the poinsettia market began in the early 1900s. Albert Ecke moved from Germany and began selling the plant from street stands. At the time, poinsettias were more like a weedy bush, lacking in fullness and definition.
His son developed a grafting technique for a fuller, more attractive plant. In the next generation, Albert’s grandson began to promote the association between poinsettias and the Christmas holidays. He sent free plants to television stations to display from Thanksgiving to Christmas and appeared on programs like The Tonight Show and The Bob Hope Show to promote the poinsettia.
In the 1990s, other researchers developed their own techniques for producing beautiful poinsettias. However, the Ecke family still controlled the majority of all poinsettia propagation and sales. The bright petals of poinsettias are actually leaves or bracts, and the flowers themselves are very small and yellow.
The Mexican poinsettia is bright red, but poinsettias also come in cream, yellow, pink and peach. Poinsettias are named after Dr. Joel R. Poinsett , a US ambassador to Mexico who introduced the plant to the United States. Recent research has shown that poinsettias are not poisonous, as they were long believed to be.
Poinsettias can grow to a height of 16 feet and thrive in climates where the temperature remains between 50F and 70F degrees.
Poppy Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with poppies is beauty, magic, consolation, humility, fertility, prosperity and eternal life. Poppies denote sleep, rest and repose. Find other Flowers Meaning Humility. Find other Flowers Meaning Prosperity.
The Egyptians included poppies at funerals and in burial tombs. The Greeks used poppies in the shrines of Demeter, goddess of fertility, and Diana, goddess of the hunt. In modern times, poppies have been associated with Flanders fields as an emblem of those who died in World War I.
Poppies also represent the loyalty and faith between lovers. According to Chinese legend, a beautiful and brave woman, Lady Yee, was married to Hsiang Yu, a warrior with Herculean strength. When Hsiang led his troops into batt le, Lady Yee chose to follow him and stood by his side in every battle. During a long and arduous war, Hsiang’s army was surrounded and defeat was imminent.
Lady Yee tried to boost his spirits by dancing with his sword. The petals of the poppy flower reflect her spirit as she dances in the wind with the sword. When this attempt failed, Lady Yee committed suicide. A cluster of poppies sprang in full bloom from her grave site.
Poppies do best in cool climates. They are both a cultivated flower and a hearty wildflower. Although poppies are perennials, they are often grown as annuals. Poppies grow throughout Europe, the Orient and the Americas. Poppies are the state flower of California (USA).
Poppies have been used for centuries in seasonings, medicine and health tonics. Tea from poppies has been used for its calming effect. The oriental poppy is the only poppy that contains opium, but other poppies do have mildly sedative effects. Water made from poppies is said to remove wrinkles and freshen the skin.
Poppies can also be used for dye and for adding flavor and texture to breads and pastries. Poppies should be watered moderately and kept in full sun. Poppies grow between 2 and 5’ tall with blooms up to 12 inches across. Colors include scarlet red, deep orange, light orange, white, purple and pink with black centers.
There are single leaf and double leaf forms.
Pussy Willow Meaning
The flower meaning of pussy willows is motherhood.
When grown commercially, pussy willow shoots are picked just as the buds expand in spring, and can last indefinitely once dried.
The branches can be put in vases or the buds can be used for table decoration. Pussy willows are one of the earliest signs of spring.
Rhododendron Flower Meaning
The flower meaning associated with the rhododendron is protection, bold beauty, beware and caution. Rhododendron means “rose tree.” Some species are toxic to animals and may have a hallucinogenic and laxative effect on humans, thus the symbolism related to warning and danger.
Today there are over one thousand species of rhododendrons. Rhododendrons are the national flower of Nepal, the state flower of Sikkim in India, and the state flower of West Virginia and Washington in the United States.
The flower meaning of roses is love, remembrance, passion (red); purity (white); happiness (pink); friendship (yellow); unconscious beauty, and “I love you.” Find other Flowers Meaning Beauty. Find other Flowers Meaning Friendship. Find other Flowers Meaning Happiness. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
Wild roses have five petals. This has led to their symbolic connection to the wounds of Christ in Christian iconography. The rose also symbolizes the Virgin Mary herself, who was known as the “Mystic Rose.”
There are fossil records dating roses back some 35 million years. Roses are native to the United States. Montana and Oregon have the oldest rose fossils.
The rose has the most complex family tree of any known flower species with over 30,000 varieties. Roses were first cultivated 5,000 years ago in Asian gardens. In the Orient, ladies carried rose petals in their purses and gentlemen made wine and herbal medicine with the flowers. Along with the name Orchid, Rose is one of the most popular names for girls in China. Confucius wrote that the emperor of China owned over 600 books on the cultivation of roses.
Roses were introduced to Europe during the Roman Empire and were thereafter used for ornamental purposes. Romans were known to carpet huge banquet halls with rose petals. Experts divide roses into two groups. “Old roses” are those cultivated in Europe before 1800. “Modern roses” have been cultivated since about the turn of the 19th century. Before cultivation, roses typically bloomed only once per year. Now roses are blooming somewhere every day of the year.
Over 4,000 songs have been written about roses. Roses are also the inspiration for everything from wallpaper to china patterns to fabric designs. Roses are a recurring theme in artwork, furniture, architecture and poetry.
Shakespeare mentions the rose at least 70 times in his plays and sonnets. Roses are emblems of England and New York City. The essential oils from roses are more expensive than the essential oils of any other flower. The rose is, indeed, the queen of all flowers.
Author’s Note: My paternal great-grandmother was named Rose. My maternal grandmother was known for her incredible rose bushes that grew two stories high outside her apartment. When my daughter was born, we named her Rose!
The symbolism associated with shamrocks is good fortune, lightheartedness, and good luck. Find other Flowers Meaning Good Fortune.
The shamrock is a symbol of Ireland and a registered trademark of the Republic of Ireland. The shamrock is also symbolic of St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated on March 17th. The shamrock was traditionally used for its medicinal properties and was a popular decorative motif in Victorian times.
Snapdragon Flower Meaning
The flower symbolism associated with snapdragons is graciousness and strength.
The snapdragon is important as a model organism in botanical research. Its genome has been studied in detail.
The name literally means “like a nose” in Ancient Greek. Snapdragons are perennials that do best in full or partial sun.
Sunflowers meaning is adoration. Sunflowers turn their heads to the sun, which is the origin of their common name.
Sunflowers are known the world around as one of the most joyous and flamboyant flowers. They are growing rapidly in popularity as cut flowers for bouquets and flower arrangements as well as garden flowers.
Sunflowers belong to the genus helianthus, a reference to Helios, the sun god.
In the United States, sunflowers are found in the midwest prairies as well as roadsides. The sunflower generally grows in scrub land and dry areas. Sunflowers are native to the Americas and are the state flower of Kansas and the national flower of Russia.
Sunflowers bloom from July through September. Sunflowers are traditionally bright yellow with a central disk of reddish brown. The head of the sunflower actually consists of 1,000-2,000 individual flowers. Each petal is a ray flower. Sunflowers vary widely in size depending on their adaptive genetic
make up, but can reach maximum heights of three to ten feet.
Cultivated sunflowers can reach an incredible twenty feet in height. Sunflowers are one of the fastest growing plants in the world, increasing in height up to one foot a day. These lofty heights have resulted in the sunflower being symbolic of haughtiness as well as adoration.
The Inca Indians worshipped the sunflower as a symbol of the sun. Their priestesses wore necklaces of sunflowers made of gold. Spanish explorers took sunflowers back to Spain, where they were cultivated and hybrids were created. Eventually, they were brought to America with European explorers. Native Americans, however, already had their own sunflowers in cultivation along the shores of Lake Huron.
Sunflowers have been celebrated in poetry and song for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. One of the most famous songs referencing sunflowers is “Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms” by the poet Thomas Moore: “…the heart that has truly loved never forgets, But as truly loves on to the close, As the sunflower turns on her god, when he sets, The same look which she turned when he rose.”
The cheerfulness and warmth of sunflowers are perfect for a bright bouquet of flowers to set the tone in a new home or office. Sunflowers are hard to miss in any room and go with most decors. Make a strong statement with a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers!
Those who are recovering from illness will also appreciate the powerful rays of sunshine that uplift a room through a flower arrangement featuring sunflowers. Sunflowers are a reminder of the source of life and all that is good in life.
Sunflowers are always big and bold—just what you may need to send a hearty congratulations for a graduation, a feat accomplished, a new job or a successful endeavor. Think about a stunning sunflower bouquet for celebrating a big event. And don’t forget that the central meaning of sunflowers is adoration. Send something different and meaningful for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or a special birthday. Sunflowers say “I adore you.”
Sunflowers have recently been bred to produce shorter varieties for garden use. The petals were originally quite small and irregular, so eff orts have also been made to increase the size and number of petals. Some double petal varieties have also been created as well as variations in the color of the center (brown to black) and even of the petals (honey, beige, pinkish cream, soft yellow, pale russet).
Wild sunflowers have multiple stems and more than one head, with the heads or flowers usually being smaller than what we are accustomed to seeing. Modern sunflowers have been bred to have a single stem and one large flower. The largest sunflower head ever recorded was 34.5 inches across, grown by Emily Martin of Maple Ridge, Canada in 1983 (Source: Guinness Book of World Records).
Sunflower seeds are highly edible and are packed with healthy fats, vitamin E, protein, fiber and minerals. Sunflower oil can be used for cooking. Sunflower sprouts can also be eaten and the seed husks can be ground and used as a coffee-like beverage. Sunflowers serve as animal food, too, mainly for cattle and birds.
American settlers used the leaves of sunflowers as fodder for their livestock. The seeds of sunflowers have also been used by Native Americans for blue or black dye and the petals for yellow dye. Fibers from the stalks can be used as cloth.
Smaller sunflower varieties are often used as cut flowers for bouquets and flower arrangements. The most famous series of paintings by artist Vincent Van Gogh is his series of sunflowers in vases. The simplicity of the sunflower form makes it a perfect chose for art projects with children. The stunning sunfl ower is a natural choice for home decor and crafts.
Sunflowers need plenty of direct sunlight, but should be sheltered from excessive wind due to the top-heavy flowers that may break the stems in brisk wind. Flower stems should be supported with bamboo stakes wherever possible. The soil should be kept moist and prevented from drying out completely. Plant seeds at a depth of one to two inches.
Sunflowers are fully grown in about 90 days and are attractive to butterflies, bees and birds. Although sunflower seeds can be sown in pots, they will likely need to be replanted in the garden before they reach the flowering stage. Some varieties can grow to have tap roots that are 4’ deep and obviously cannot be contained in pots. Sunflowers should not be grown in grassy areas as the seeds will kill surrounding grass when they fall to the ground.
Sweetpea Flower Meaning
The flower meanings of sweet peas include blissful pleasure, delicate pleasure, good-bye, departure, adieu and thank you for a lovely time.
Sweet peas derive their name from the Greek word lathyros for pea or pulse, and the Latin word odoratus meaning fragrant. Sweet peas are the flowers most closely connected to the month of April. The name sweet pea is believed to have first been used by the poet Keats (1795-1821).
Sweet peas were very popular in the late 1800s and are often considered the floral emblem for Edwardian England. Sweet peas were an important part of floral arrangements for every wedding and dinner party at that time. Dried petals of sweet peas was also one of the most important ingredients for potpourris.
Sweet peas come in over 250 varieties. Annual varieties prefer full sun, regular watering and soil with plenty of humus. Perennial sweet peas survive in average soils with moderate watering. Sweet peas are wonderfully fragrant and were originally grown in the fields of Sicily.
Most types grow from 1-5’ tall, though some may reach 6’. Sweet peas are climbing plants that do well on supporting structures. The delicate perfume of sweet peas combined with the variety of colors available made this flower the floral sensation of the Victorian era.
Sweet peas can be used successfully as cut flowers and in corsages and boutonnieres. Sweet peas come in red, pink, blue, white and lavender. A yellow sweet pea is an elusive ideal. Due to genetic factors, a true yellow requires careful hybridization and engineering. The most famous and perhaps most important use of sweet peas was the extensive genetics studies performed by Gregor Mendel.
There are few pests or problems associated with sweet peas, but they are sensitive to too much heat. According to superstition, seeds sown before sunrise on Saint Patrick’s day will have larger and more fragrant blossoms.
Unlike their edible relatives, sweet peas can be toxic in large quantities. Sweet pea flowers naturally self-pollinate while still in bud. Sweet pea festivals and garden clubs exist for true sweet pea enthusiasts. English gardeners call sweet peas the Queen of Annuals.
Tulip Flower Meaning
Tulip flower meanings are fame, freedom and perfect love. Find other Flowers Meaning Freedom. The symbolic meanings also change with the color of the tulips. Red tulips mean “believe me” and are a declaration of true love. Find other Flowers Meaning Love. Variegated tulips mean “you have beautiful eyes. ” Yellow tulips mean “there’s sunshine in your smile” and cheerful thoughts.
Cream colored tulips mean “I will love you forever.” White tulips symbolize heaven, newness and purity. Purple tulips symbolize royalty. Pink tulips mean affection and caring. Orange tulips mean energy, enthusiasm, desire, and passion.
Tulips are one of the most admired and beloved flowers the world around. Tulips also mean eternal life and are heralds of spring. Along with crocuses and daffodils, tulips are the first flowers to blossom each year, sometimes while there is still snow on the ground nearby. Tulips are perfect for gardens that are designed to bloom from the earliest possible date. The meaning of the garden can be encoded in the choice of flower colors. For example, a white tulip garden would symbolize heaven on earth.
As the heralds of spring, tulips are popular Easter flowers. To celebrate the cycle of growth and the return of warmth and abundance after the long winter, bright bouquets featuring yellow tulips, pink tulips, orange tulips, red tulips and variegated tulips are all perfect for centerpieces and decor during the Easter season.
Due to their association with spring and new life, tulips make wonderful get well flowers. Send a bouquet with pink tulips to symbolize your affection and caring or send yellow tulips to bring cheerfulness to those recovering from illness. Orange tulips can be a great pick-me-up and source of inspiration for those who are ill.
In addition, tulips are second only to roses for love and romance. Send a bouquet featuring roses when you want to send something memorable and unique to your Valentine. Try a bouquet of pink tulips or red tulips to express your affection and love. Other good choices for Valentine’s Day flowers include red and pink lilies and purple aster flowers.
For Mother’s Day, the first Sunday in May, tulips can be sent as either cut flowers or a potted plant. Pink tulips are ideal for Mother’s Day, expressing warmth and affection. Red tulips are another good choice. Other popular Mothers Day Flowers include carnations, daisies and yellow roses.
White tulips, peach tulips, green tulips and purple tulips have become popular choices for sympathy flowers. A bouquet with white tulips symbolizes the eternal rest of the departed. A white casket spray of tulips is both beautiful and elegant, especially when combined with white roses, carnations or lilies.
A bouquet with peach tulips conveys both affection and sympathy. An arrangement including green tulips expresses the assurance of the resurrection. A
wreath with purple tulips expresses heartfelt sympathy. Tulips also have a surprisingly long history of use as wedding flowers—for table centerpieces, general wedding decor and as bridal bouquets. Cut tulips can wilt, so the stems should be relatively short and the flowers kept in water as long as possible.
Tulips are an elegant and classical choice for weddings, particularly a spring wedding. Tulips with variegated colors and ruffled tulips can create a striking, modern look for a wedding centerpiece. Potted tulips or tulip bulbs can be given as wedding favors, especially red tulips symbolizing the love of the newly wedded couple. Pink tulips are also a wonderful choice for wedding flowers.
As symbols of new life, tulips are a great choice for a baby shower or as a gift for a new baby. Pink tulips (for girls) and yellow tulips (for boys) are probably the best bets. If the gender of the baby is unknown, white tulips symbolizing heaven, newness and purity would be a great choice or orange tulips meaning energy and enthusiasm.
The same symbolism makes tulips perfect birthday gifts for those with spring birthdays. The beauty and simplicity of a bouquet including tulips, especially orange tulips, makes a strong statement for congratulating others on significant accomplishments. In addition, the achieving of a major accomplishment often
sets the stage for the next step or level—a sign of growth and new opportunities that perfectly match the flower that heralds the new cycle of spring each year.
Tulips are wonderful graduation gifts as well since these celebrations usually take place in the spring or early summer. Although you might not think of tulips for the Christmas and winter holiday season, red tulips are a striking and somewhat exotic display, reminding everyone in the darkest time of the year of the coming of spring.
Red tulips combine well with berries, green foliage and colorful sprays and can brighten up any holiday table or make a unique gift for those you love or an end-of-the-year thank you for business associates and clients. Consider displaying or gifting a cheery holiday bouquet featuring tulips.
Tulips are originally from Persia and were brought to the Netherlands in the 17th century. Approximately 150 varieties of tulips grow in the wild, especially in mountainous, cold regions. Once the tulip was hybrid, a vast array of colors and petal forms were created.
The name for tulips comes from the headdress worn by many Middle Eastern peoples known as a turban or taliban. In Latin, this translates to “tulipa.”
In the years 1636-37, tulipmania ruled in the Netherlands. Tulips were a symbol of wealth and status and were traded like currency. A bed of tulips could buy a small house.
Some highly prized tulips were even more valuable and a single bulb could be traded for a large house and all of the land, furniture and other accessories.
The most highly prized tulips had breaks or stripes in their coloration. Striped tulips were actually the result of a virus transferred by aphids, which made their appearance unpredictable. When the tulip market crashed, it was similar to the stock market crash in the 20th century. Thousands of businessmen were ruined when the bubble burst.
Tulips, however, remain the foremost national symbol of Holland, rivaling wooden shoes and windmills. Tulips need to be fertilized twice a year, especially in the spring before they blossom. Tulips also need lots of water, with watering once a week at the bare minimum. Also be aware that rabbits, squirrels and voles will uproot and eat tulip bulbs if they can.
The bulbs should be planted at a depth that is three times their height. Tulips generally prefer sun but also do well under trees that give them partial shade in the hottest part of the summer. Tulips are planted in the fall and bulbs are generally available between July and November. The huge rainbow of tulip colors available make them a certain fit for any garden.
Tulips can also be grown in pots or small containers for those who have limited garden space. A terra cotta or ceramic pot is preferable to plastic. Plastic pots may overheat or have insufficient drainage. Since tulips prefer sun and will do well on sunny porches or balconies.
Verbena Flower Meaning
The flower meaning of the verbena flower is “pray for me” and sensibility.
Verbena has longstanding use in herbalism and folk medicine, usually as a tea. Verbena is grown as a honey plant to supply bees with nectar.
Verbena is native to both the the American continent and Europe. According to legend, verbena will protect people from vampires.
Violet Flower Meaning
The flower symbolism associated with violets is modesty, virtue, affection, watchfulness, faithfulness, love and let’s take a chance on happiness. Find other Flowers Meaning Faith. Find other Flowers Meaning Happiness. Find other Flowers Meaning Love.
When newly opened, viola or violet flowers may be used to decorate salads or in stuffing for poultry or fish. Soufflés, cream and similar desserts can be flavored with essence of violet flowers. The English name is derived from the vocabulary word, from Latin viola, meaning “violet color” or “violet flower.”
Wisteria Flower Meaning
The symbolic meaning of wisteria flowers is welcome, playful spontaneity and adventure. The wisteria is called “Purple Vine” in China. In one cluster, the petal shades blend harmoniously from the strong, dark purple tip to the soft, light pink at the open base.
Wisteria is a woody climbing vine with about ten species. Wisteria vines climb steadily by twining themselves either clockwise or counterclockwise around any available support.
Among all plants, vines are the most vivid examples of nature’s playfulness. The vine is a record of the plant’s adventures. Wisteria is named for the eighteenth century Philadelphia physician, Caspar Wistar.
Zinnia Flower Meaning
The flower symbolism associated with zinnias are thoughts of absent friends, lasting affection, constancy, goodness and daily remembrance. Zinnias are the state flower of Indiana. The original zinnias were found in the early 1500s in the wilds of Mexico. They were so dull and unattractive that the Aztec name for them meant “eyesore.” The common name, garden Cinderella, indicates the level of the zinnia’s later transformation. Zinnias are named for the German botanist Johann Zinn.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathleen Karlsen is the author of 200+ articles and two books: Flower Symbols: The Language of Love (2011) and Vocal Medicine: Transformation through Sound (2019). Kathleen’s Artwork, Music and Books are available on this website. Learn more.
This information has been excerpted from the book Flower Symbols: The Language of Love by Kathleen Karlsen. This book includes ancient and modern flower meanings and folklore about the world’s most beloved flowers.