Sunday, February 14, 2021

The Language of Flowers By Annee Jones


The Language of Flowers

By Annee Jones

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Valentine’s Day!  I was researching the historical origins of this holiday and came across some fascinating facts!  Did you know the tradition of giving flowers to loved ones on Valentine's Day originated in the 17th century when King Charles II of Sweden popularized "the language of flowers", or attaching conversationalist meanings to different types of flowers?   The language of flowers  - such a beautiful idea!!  As a romance author, I had to delve into this topic further!

According to my sources, “floriography” (language of flowers) is a means of cryptological communication through the use or arrangement of flowers.  Meaning has been attributed to flowers for thousands of years, and some form of floriography has been practiced in traditional cultures throughout the world.

For example, plants and flowers are used as symbols in the Hebrew Bible, particularly of love and lovers in the Song of Songs, as an emblem for the Israelite people, and for the coming Messiah.  In Western culture, William Shakespeare used flower symbolism in his plays, such as in Hamlet with the character of Ophelia.  In Henry VI, Shakespeare had English noblemen pick either red or white roses to symbolize their choice of allegiance either to the House of Lancaster or the House of York.   

Interest in floriography soared in Victorian England and in the United States particularly during the 19th century.   Learning the special symbolism of flowers became a popular pastime during the 1800s.  Gifts of blooms, plants, and specific floral arrangements were used to send a coded message to the recipient, allowing the sender to express feelings which could not be spoken aloud in Victorian society. 

For example, flowers could be used to answer “yes” or “no” questions. A “yes” answer came in the form of flowers handed over with the right hand; if the left hand was used, the answer was “no.”

The color of the flowers and how they were presented contained meanings, as well. 

If the flowers were given upside down, then the idea being conveyed was the opposite of what was traditionally meant.  How the ribbon was tied said something, too: Tied to the left, the flowers’ symbolism applied to the giver, whereas tied to the right, the sentiment was in reference to the recipient.

Here is a list of common symbolic meanings of herbs, flowers, and plants:


Abatina        Fickleness

Acanthus      The fine art, artifice

Amaryllis     Pride

Anemone     Forsaken, sickness

Angelica      Inspiration

Apple blossom       Preference

Aster  Symbol of Love, Daintiness

Bachelor’s button  Single blessedness

Sweet Basil  Good wishes

Bay tree       Glory

Begonia       Beware, dark thoughts

Belledonna  Silence

Bittersweet  Truth

Black-eyed Susan  Justice

Bluebell       Humility, constancy

Butterfly weed       Let me go

Camellia, pink       Longing For You

Camellia, red         You’re a Flame in My Heart

Camellia, white      You’re Adorable

Candytuft     Indifference

Carnation     Women, Love

– Red carnation      Alas for my poor heart, my heart aches

– White carnation  Innocence, pure love, women’s good luck gift

– Pink carnation     I’ll never forget you

– Striped      Refusal

– Yellow carnation Disdain, disappointment, rejection

Chamomile  Patience in adversity

Chives         Usefulness

Chrysanthemum, red        I love you

Chrysanthemum, yellow  Slighted love

Chrysanthemum, white    Truth

Clematis, evergreen         Poverty

Clover, white         Think of me

Columbine   Foolishness, folly

Columbine, purple Resolution

Columbine, red      Anxious, trembling

Coriander     Hidden worth/merit

Crab blossom         Ill nature

Crocus, spring        Youthful gladness

Daffodil       Regard, Unequalled Love

Dahlia, single         Good taste

Daisy Innocence, hope

Dill    Powerful against evil

Edelweiss    Courage, devotion

Fennel          Flattery

Fern   Sincerity, humility; also, magic and bonds of love

Forget-me-not        True love memories, do not forget me

Gardenia      Secret love

Gladiolus     Remembrance

Goldenrod    Encouragement, good fortune

Heliotrope    Eternal love, devotion

Hibiscus       Delicate beauty

Holly Foresight

Hollyhock    Ambition

Honeysuckle          Bonds of love

Hyacinth      Sport, game, play

– Blue Hyacinth     Constancy

– Purple Hyacinth  Sorrow

– Yellow Hyacinth Jealousy

– White Hyacinth   Loveliness, prayers for someone

Hydrangea   Gratitude for being understood; frigidity and heartlessness

Hyssop         Sacrifice, cleanliness

Iris     A message

Ivy     Friendship, fidelity, marriage

Jasmine, white       Sweet love, amiability

Jasmine, yellow     Grace and elegance

Lady’s Slipper       Capricious beauty

Larkspur      Lightness, levity

Lavender      Distrust

Lemon balm Sympathy

Lilac  Joy of youth

Lily, calla    Beauty

Lily, day      Chinese emblem for mother

Lily-of-the-valley  Sweetness, purity, pure love

Lotus Flower         Purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration, and rebirth

Magnolia     Love of nature

Marigold      Despair, grief, jealousy

Marjoram     Joy and happiness

Mint  Virtue

Morning glory       Affection

Myrtle          Good luck and love in a marriage

Nasturtium   Patriotism

Oak    Strength

Parsley         Festivity

Peony           Bashful, happy life

Pine   Humility

Poppy, red   Consolation

Rhododendron       Danger, beware

Rose, red      Love, I love you

Rose, dark crimson          Mourning

Rose, pink   Happiness

Rose, white  I’m worthy of you

Rose, yellow          Jealousy, decrease of love, infidelity

Rosemary    Remembrance

Rue    Grace, clear vision

Sage   Wisdom, immortality

Salvia, blue  I think of you

Salvia, red    Forever mine

Savory         Spice, interest

Snapdragon  Deception, graciousness

Sorrel A ffection

Speedwell    Feminine fidelity

Sunflower, dwarf   Adoration

Sunflower, tall       Haughtiness

Sweet pea    Delicate pleasures

Sweet William       Gallantry

Sweet woodruff     Humility

Tansy     Hostile thoughts, declaring war

Tarragon      Lasting interest

Thyme         Courage, strength

Tulip, red     Passion, declaration of love

Tulip, yellow         Sunshine in your smile

Valerian       Readiness

Violet           Loyalty, devotion, faithfulness, modesty

Wallflower   Faithfulness in adversity

Willow         Sadness

Yarrow         Everlasting love

Zinnia          Thoughts of absent friends


I can't wait to use floriography as a means of symbolic communication in my upcoming books!  Will you be able to spot these references?  Be sure to contact me when you do!  :-) 

About Me:


Annee Jones is an inspirational romance novelist who enjoys sharing her heart and imagination with others.  She is passionate about writing stories that offer hope and encouragement and likes to think of her books as “romance filled with faith and a sprinkle of fairy dust!”

Annee is also a professional book reviewer for Publishers Weekly in the genre of faith-based fiction (fun tidbit: she writes many of the editorial reviews you see on Amazon).

Professionally, Annee works as a disability counselor where she helps her clients navigate through complex medical and legal systems while rediscovering their wholeness in Spirit.


Connect with Annee here:

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1 comment:

  1. Wow that is so neat a really interesting blog I loved it peggy clayton