Thursday, February 4, 2010

Language of Flowers

Language of Flowers

The language of flowers, sometimes called floriography, was a Victorian-era means of communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. This language was most commonly communicated through Tussie-Mussies, an art which has a following today.

The nuances of the language are now mostly forgotten, but red roses still imply passionate, romantic love and pink roses a lesser affection; white roses suggest virtue and chastity and yellow roses still stand for friendship or devotion. Also commonly known meanings are sunflowers, which can indicate either haughtiness or respect - they were the favorite flower of St. Julie Billiart for this reason. Gerbera (daisy) means innocence or purity. The iris, being named for the messenger of the gods in Greek mythology, still represents the sending of a message. A pansy signifies thought, a daffodil regard, and a strand of ivy; fidelity.


Though most popular in the Victorian period, the symbolic use of flowers dates back to antiquity. In medieval and Renaissance culture, flowers were often given moral meanings. This is most apparent in art in which saints are often depicted with flowers that are symbolic of their virtues. Liana DeGirolami Cheney notes that "some of the Christian symbols for Virginity or Chastity are the white rose, the myrtle, a vessel or vase, the lily, and the unicorn". Victorian sources also used flowers to describe moral, spiritual, or emotional truths.


More than any other flower, the rose has been prized for its beauty the world over. Symbolic associations with the rose have existed since the days of the ancient Romans and Greeks. Roses have been identified with love and passion since those times, beginning with their association with the goddesses Aphrodite, Isis and Venus. Cleopatra is said to have received Marc Anthony in a room literally knee-deep in roses.

The flower symbolism associated with roses is love, remembrance, passion (red); purity (white); happiness (pink); infidelity (yellow); unconscious beauty, and I love you. 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.

The History of Roses
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.
©2008-2009 Living Arts Enterprises, LLC

Meaning of Different Color of Roses


True love

Mystery, attaining the impossible

Eternal Love, Silence or innocence, wistfulness, virtue, purity, secrecy, reverence and humility

Death, hatred, farewell, rejuvenation or rebirth

Friendship, or dying love (or platonic love) or jealousy, infidelity


dark pink Gratitude

light pink Desire, passion, joy of life, youth, energy

Unconscious Beauty
coral or orange
Desire, passion

Love at first sight

red and white together Unity

red and yellowtogether Joy, happiness, and excitement

thornless Love at first sight

1 comment:

HoneymoonPlanr said...

That was very educational! =)