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Flower symbolism can be found in ancient Greece, at least. More symbolic meanings were added during the Victorian Era. Even during the 20th century, the spectrum broadened as more symbolic meanings were coined.
This poem, from the 19th century, expresses our love of flowers and the desire to include them in our celebrations ~
|And where the marjoram once, and sage, and rue, |
And balm, and mint, with curl'd-leaf parsley grew,
And double marigolds, and silver thyme,
And pumpkins 'neath the window climb;
And where I often, when a child, for hours
Tried through the pales to get the tempting flowers,
As lady's laces, everlasting peas,
True-love-lies-bleeding, with the hearts-at-ease,
And golden rods, and tansy running high,
That o'er the pale-tops smiled on passers-by.
excerpt from The Cross Roads or The Haymaker's Story
Wedding Flowers & Herbs ~
Their Meanings & Significance
Within flower symbolism, different times have given different meanings to specific flowers. In the Victorian Era, which flowers were combined together gave them even more significance and meaning. But that’s a whole study of flower symbolism beyond the scope of this website.
Wedding flower symbolism, in particular, can have great significance and undercurrent meanings. Using flower symbolism to declare your love, or other emotions began with the Victorians and is currently experiencing an renewal.
- Bachelor Buttons ~ celibacy, single, blessedness, hope in love, delicacy.
Bachelor Button image courtesy Wikipedia
Heraldic Gilliflower image courtesy James Parker
- Bluebottle ~ delicacy
Bluebottle image courtesy Wikipedia
The bachelor's button is also known as the Cornflower, Basket flower, Bluebottle, Hurtsickle, and Boutonniere flower. In heraldry, it's a Gillyflower.
This is one flower that received its flower symbolism during the Crusades and the hayday of heraldry.
- Bluebell ~ humility, constancy and gratitude. Bluebells are 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 image courtesy Wikipedia
- Camellia ~ admiration, perfection, good luck gift for a man, gratitude, nobility of reasoning. In flower symbolism, white camellias symbolize worth, adoration, perfection and loveliness
Camellia image courtesy Stock Exchange
- Daffodil ~ symbolizing rebirth and new beginnings, the daffodil is virtually synonymous with spring. Folklore connecting the daffodil as not only a sign of winter's end but a lucky emblem of future prosperity is found in flower symbolism throughout the world. In Wales, it's said if you spot the first daffodil of the season, your next 12 months will be filled with wealth, and Chinese legend has it that if a daffodil bulb is forced to bloom during the New Year, it will bring good luck to your home.
Daffodil image courtesy Stock Exchange
Daffodil image courtesy Wikipedia
Daffodil image courtesy Clip Art
Tahiti Narcissus image courtesy Wikipedia
- Daisy ~ bliss, lasting pleasures, delicacy, departure, curiosity, tenacity, and playfulness.
The daisy is the April birth month and the 5th wedding anniversary flower.
English Daisy image courtesy Wikipedia
- Dandelion ~ love me, affection returned, desire, sympathy, and wishes come true. As an oracle of time and love, it symbolizes faithfulness and happiness
Though thought of as a weed, stop and think of their cheery yellow to go with daffodils, plus the blues and whites of other flowers.
Dandelion image courtesy Wikipedia
- Delphinium ~ an open heart, ardent attachment, boldness, lightness, and levity.
The names derives from the Greek delphis which means dolphin, as the blossoms are dolphin shaped.
Delphinium image courtesy Flickr, IanBC North
Other names are Larkspur, Lark's Heel, Lark's Claw and Knight's Spur. Both Native Americans and European settlers used delphiniums to make blue dye. The settlers also used it to make ink. But the oldest use of the flowers was to drive away scorpions.
- Forget-Me-Not ~ true love, faithful love, memories
Forget-Me-Not image courtesy Wikipedia
- Forsythia ~ anticipation, innocence, good nature.
The flower was named to honor William Forsyth, Scottish botanist, Royal Head Gardener, and founding member of the Royal Horticultural Society. Read about other famous Scots at the Scottish People Who Became Famous page.
Forsythia image courtesy Morgue File
Forsythia image courtesy Wikipedia
- Gardenia ~ joy, you're lovely, secret love, purity.
Also named for a Scottish botanist, the December 3, 2008 blog tells more about Charles Garden and the Jardine tartans. It's also the name of an Elizabeth Taylor fragrance.
Gardenia image courtesy Wikipedia
- White Heather ~ for the Celts in Highland Scotland white heather symbolized attraction, beauty, cleansing, intoxication, luck, protection, purity, refinement, and romance. In other cultures heather is symbolic of admiration, good luck, and protection.
White Heather image courtesy Clip Art
- Heliotrope ~ devotion, eternal love..and the vanilla fragrance is divine
Heliotrope image courtesy About.com
- Hydrangea ~ thank you for understanding, vanity
Available in white and a variety of blue and purple hues, plus they can be dyed.
Hydrangea image courtesy Wikipedia
- Iris ~ faith, faithfulness, wisdom, cherished friendship, hope, valor, my compliments, promise in love, purity, modesty, wisdom.
February's birth month and the 25th wedding anniversary flower is the iris.
The iris is the emblem of France; Florence, Italy; and the state of Tennessee. The fleur-de-lis, one of the most well-known of all symbols, even in heraldry, comes from the shape of the iris flower.
Arms Wide Open Iris image Blue J Iris
The three upright petals and three drooping sepals are symbols for faith, valor, and wisdom.
- Ivy ~ wedded love, fidelity, friendship and affection.There's the traditional green English ivy and it's many varieties, but look at this Buttercup Ivy ~
Buttercup Ivy courtesy Wikipedia
- Lilac ~ first love, humility, youthful innocence
The Latin name is Syringa. Also the state flower of New Hampshire and the 8th wedding anniversary flower. The time of their bloom supposedly signals whether Spring will be late or early.
Lilac image courtesy Wikipedia
Greek mythology tells of a beautiful nymph named Syringa. Her beauty captivated Pan, the god of the forests and fields. He chased Syringa through the forest. This frightened Syringa, so she escaped him by turning herself into an aromatic bush - the flower we now refer to as lilac.
White Lilac image courtesy Wikipedia
- Lily of the Valley ~ sweetness, tears of the Virgin Mary, Our Ladies Tears, return to happiness, humility, you've made my life complete
The Lily of the Valley is claimed to have grown where Mary wept. Jan Van Eyck, the Dutch painter, often painted them in the grass under Mary's feet. Jesus is also called The Lily of the Valley, but this reference is to what we call the Easter Lily.
Also claimed as the May birth flower, their fragrance is sweet and special, as witnessed in Molinard's Muguet fragrance line.
Lily of the Valley image courtesy Morgue Files
- Pansy ~ thoughtfulness and love, reflection, good fortune, merriment, you occupy my thoughts
Also called heart's ease, flower-with-a-face, Johnny-Jump-Up, the word pansy comes the French pensee, which means thought.
Due to the traditional pansy, the three colors of white, purple, and yellow, another name is the Herb Trinity. In Medieval paintings of the Virgin Mary, pansies are commonly seen, often strewn under her feet.
Pansy image courtesy Wikipedia
In the heat of August, the flowers nod forward, as if in deep thought, thus adding to the flower-with-a-face name.
- Primrose ~ I can't live without you, first love.
From the Latin primus, meaning first, due to their early Spring blooms. Formally called Primula.
The primrose is the sacred flower of Freya, the Norse goddess of love claimed the primrose as her sacred flower.
Yellow Primrose image courtesy Morgue Files
Blue Primrose image courtesy Morgue FilesPurple Primrose image courtesy Morgue Files
- Queen Anne's Lace ~ haven
Also known as wild carrot, bird's nest, bishop's lace, bees nest, devils plague, garden carrot, bird's nest root, fools parsley, lace flower,rantipole, Herbe a dinde, and Yarkuki
Queen Anne's Lace image courtesy Wikipedia
- Roses ~ happiness, friendship, love, strength, beauty
Garden Gate Roses image courtesy Morgue Files
The June birth month and 15th wedding anniversary flower.
The rose also has flower symbolism assigned to individual colors…
Pink roses ~ love, grace, gentility, you're so lovely, perfect happiness, please believe me
Peach & Pink Roses image courtesy Clip Art
Peach Roses ~ let's get together, closing of the deal Blue rose ~ uniqueness, mysterious, inexplicable, you are extraordinarily wonderful, while pale blue roses express the first flush of love and enchantment.
Though blue is not a traditional color, they have been created. First by dying white roses, more recently as a genetic anomaly. They would make a striking contrast to the yellow daffodils, when used with one of the yellow and blue tartans.
Blue Roses 678166 image courtesy Stock Exchange
In the purple range, Midnight Blue is a knock-out, while the color signifies enchantment.
image source unknown
And if you're really daring, or considering the Rainbow tartan collection, these rainbow roses are dazzling. I don't know if they're just created graphically, silk, injected with colors, or how they created these ~ it's a wonderment.
Rainbow Roses image source unknown
- Scottish Broom ~ I've not found any meanings attached to Scottish Broom, but it is Scottish, so…
Scottish Broom image courtesy Wikipedia
- Shamrock ~ don't forget this for light-heartedness, good fortune and the traditional good luck.
Read about the shamrock and it’s significance beyond flower symbolism in Celtic cultures at Scottish Wedding Dreams, Scottish Wedding Traditions, At the New Home.
There's both the leaves and blooms ~
Shamrock image courtesy Morgue Files
Shamrock image courtesy Stock Exchange
- Snapdragon ~ graciousness, strength, deception.
This snout-shaped flower was called antirrhinum in Greek, meaning nose-like. The snap part of its name comes from the noise made when the sides of the dragon’s mouth are squeezed together.
Snapdragon image source unknown
Legends tell of the snapdragon's ability, when concealed, to make a person appear cordial and fascinating ~ thus the flower symbolism meaning as deception.
- Tansy ~ health, longevity
Other names ~ Common Tansy, Bitter Buttons, Cow Bitter, Mugwort, Golden Buttons
Tansy image source unknown
The fragrance of tansy is pungent yet appealing, some like it, others don't. Decide for yourself. It's long lasting and can be dried. A yellow dye is derived from the Tansy.
Thistle ~ strength, protection, healing
Thistle image Scottish Wedding Dreams
To read about the thistle and it’s significance and it’s significance beyond flower symbolism in Scotland, Scottish Wedding Dreams, Scottish Wedding Traditions, Scottish Wedding Symbols has more details.
- Tulips - remembrance, hopelessly in love, there's sunshine in your smile, cheerful thoughts, forgiveness, elegance, grace, and fame. Cream colored tulips mean I will love you forever.
Known as the 11th wedding anniversary flower, the tulip's velvety black center represents a lover's heart, darkened by the heat of passion.
For a unique twist on flower symbolism, Wayside Gardens offers a variety of blue tulip ~
Blue Tulip image courtesy Wayside Gardens
- Blue Violet ~ faithfulness
Blue Tulip image courtesy Wayside Gardens
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