Flower Language

Published September 27, 2022 by tindertender

Article owned by: http://www.annlynnflowers.com/about-flowers.html; Flower images from google.

“Some flowers spoke with strong and powerful voices, which proclaimed in accents trumpet-tongues, “I am beautiful, and I rule”. Others murmured in tones scarcely audible, but exquisitely soft and sweet, “I am little, and I am beloved”. ~ George Sand (Armando e A.L. Dupin), 1804 – 1876 French Writer

Alstroemeria, Aster, Bird of Paradise, Calendula, Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Daffodil, Daisy, Fern, Gladiolus, Heleconia, Holly, Kalanchoe, Kangaroo, Paw, Larkspur & Delphinium, Lily, Lily of the Valley, Orchid, Poinsettia, Queen Anne’s Lace, Rose, Snap dragon, Solidago, Sunflower, Tulip, Violet

“Joy and jealousy, desire and dejection, solitude and sadness, loyalty and love — flowers echo each voice of the human heart.

While the symbolic and legendary meanings of flowers were known to many during Elizabethan times, it was the Victorians who assigned simple messages to individual flowers. Introduced to the Swedish court in 1714 by Charles II, the Victorian mode of flower language soon spread throughout Europe.

During this time of strict protocol and conformity, men and women used the beauty and color of flowers to express emotions, wishes and thoughts they dared not speak, and every corsage, bouquet, and garland represented a carefully chosen sentiment. Presentation was also important; for example, a bouquet with a ribbon tied to the left told about the giver, while a ribbon tied to the right signified the receiver. Upside-down bouquets portrayed the exact opposite of the flowers’ common meanings: to receive an inverted rose was the ultimate form of rejection.

Flower Language became so important that durch die Blume sprechen (speaking through flowers) became a Western proverb, which meant any flowery or poetic expression hiding a secret message of love.”

Here’s another site with info: https://www.btb.termiumplus.gc.ca/tpv2guides/guides/wrtps/index-eng.html?lang=eng&lettr=indx_catlog_l&page=9wa5ZSh95Yg8.html

Floriography, or “the language of flowers,” was a popular Victorian fad in which specific meanings were attributed to different plants and flowers.

Most flowers conveyed positive sentiments: friendship, fidelity, devotion, love. Others were assigned more negative meanings, such as anger, contempt or indifference.

To take advantage of this new passion, publishers churned out an endless stream of books with flower “vocabularies.” The most influential was Le langage des fleurs, which first appeared in 1819 in France. One of the last to appear in English, in 1884, was The Language of Flowers, which contained listings for hundreds of trees, shrubs, herbs and flowers, accompanied by dainty illustrations by the famous artist, Kate Greenaway.

It is unclear whether Victorians actually used the language of flowers to create bouquets expressing their feelings. It is possible that these popular flower vocabularies were mainly a kind of 19th-century “coffee-table book.” But the floral symbolism was popular with writers, poets, artists and jewellers, who used it in their work. The concept was so widespread that even an 1895 book on Canadian wildflowers gives the symbolic meanings of several plants in this “mystic dialect” of flowers.

Here, from The Dominion Educator (a century-old Canadian encyclopedia), is a brief list of flower meanings that the writers considered to be “well established”:

  • Amaranth: Immortality
  • Anemone: Anticipation
  • Apple blossom: Admiration
  • Aspen leaf: Fear
  • Brier: Insult
  • Buttercup: Wealth
  • Calla: Pride
  • Camellia: Illness
  • Candytuft: Indifference
  • Cornflower: Heaven
  • Cowslip: Youthful beauty
  • Cypress: Death
  • Daffodil: Unrequited love
  • Daisy: Simplicity
  • Dandelion: Coquetry
  • Evergreen: Hope
  • Everlastings: Undying affection
  • Fern: Forsaken
  • Five-leafed clover: Bad luck
  • Four-leafed clover: Good luck
  • Foxglove: Insincerity
  • Goldenrod: Encouragement
  • Heather: Loneliness
  • Heliotrope: Devotion
  • Honeysuckle: Fidelity
  • Hyacinth: Sorrow
  • Ivy: Trustfulness
  • Laurel: Fame
  • Lilac: Fastidiousness
  • Lotus: Forgetfulness
  • Marigold: Contempt
  • Moss or dry twig: Old age
  • Myrtle: Wedded bliss
  • Narcissus: Vanity
  • Oak leaf: Power
  • Orange blossom: Marriage
  • Oxalis: Pangs of regret
  • Palm leaf: Conquest
  • Pansy: Loving thoughts
  • Poppy: A tryst at evening
  • Rosemary: Remembrance
  • Rue: Repentance
  • Scarlet geranium: A kiss
  • Snowdrop: A friend in need
  • Stinging nettle: Rudeness
  • Tuberose: Bereavement
  • Tulip: Boldness
  • Violet: Modesty
  • Yellow rose: Jealousy

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