Flower Symbolism

A common accompanying gift for Mother’s Day are flowers. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love receiving flowers! But what motivates our flower purchases? Sometimes it’s beauty, sometimes it’s price – how often is it the symbolism behind flowers?  Believe it or not, there is a deeper meaning to the bouquet you’re giving. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Ophelia’s flower-gifts, here’s a list of flowers and what they mean:

  • Rosemary: remembrance, normally associated with remembrance of the dead at funerals, but also remembrance between lovers.
  • Pansies: thought. The French word for thought is pensees; pensar is “to think” in Spanish ; when we say someone is pensive we mean that the person is thoughtful and contemplative.
  • Fennel: marital infidelity, cuckoldry
  • Columbines: flattery- insincerity culminating in dissembling and pretense (or) ingratitude, thanklessness
  • Rue: (also “Herb Of Grace”) repentance (or) sorrow
  • Daisy: forsaken love, unhappy love
  • Violets: faithfulness
  • Roses: (red) love, (yellow) friendship, (white) faithfulness, (black) death
  • Sunflower: adoration, loyalty, and longevity
  • Tigerlily: wealth, affluence
  • Belladonna Lily: sparkle, pride
  • Anemone: dying hope
  • Azalea: believed in Chinese culture to mean “take care of yourself, for me”
  • Calla Lily: not really a lily at all, this flower is extremely poisonous, but means innocence
  • Carnation: affection, femininity
  • Chrysanthemum: a good friend
  • Daffodil: unanswered/unrequited love
  • Baby’s Breath: pure of heart
  • Bleeding Heart: wearing your heart out on your sleeve
  • Cherry Blossom: abundance of new beginnings

There are so many flowers to choose from, this is only the beginning!  Their beautiful scents, and moments they create, are one of the most important parts of celebration and mourning in our culture. The next time you think about buying flowers as a gift, consider the symbolism attached to it.

Photo Credit – The Natural Wedding Company UK

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