Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Flowery Language...the secret code of flowers

"Tanacetum vulgare - harilik soolikarohi Keilas2" by Ivar Leidus
 Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 
President Theodore Roosevelt once famously proclaimed, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” But if Teddy knew the language of flowers he might have said, “Speak softly and carry a big Tansy!” Tansy flowers may look fairly delicate and innocuous but for those in the know, they mean, “I declare war against you!” It seems there’s a whole vocabulary of all things floral that reached its height in Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901.) There is even a name for the study of flower-speak: Florography.

In my research I found many lists with contradictory meanings for the same flowers so if you decide to send a message with your bouquet, you might consider including a translation. Wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression! For example, some lists claim a Peony means “Happy Marriage” while others say it’s crying “Anger!” I must say, I found an inordinate amount of hostility associated with yellow flowers. Occasionally yellow-colored flowers are said to represent joy or chivalry but more often they’ve been associated with less pleasant qualities such as jealousy or falseness. Being a fan of that sunny hue I think it’s gotten a bum rap! The list I compiled, below, is taken mostly from meanings during the Victorian era. Have fun (and think twice before you send those flowers!)

Amaryllis: Pride
By Elb2000 at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Azalea: First love 
Begonia: Caution (Red: Dark thoughts)
Bluebell: Constancy
Camellia: My destiny is in your hands 
Carnation (Pink): I’ll never forget you
Carnation (Yellow): Disdain
Dahlia (Red): Dignity and elegance
Daisy: Innocence
Edelweiss: Noble courage
Evening Primrose: Inconstancy
Forget-me-not: Forget me not (well, duh)
Freesia: Lasting friendship 
Gardenia: Refinement
Geranium (Scarlet): Comforting
"Pansy Viola tricolor Flower 2448px"
 (c)2007 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man)  Licensed under Creative Commons 
Honeysuckle: Sweetness of disposition
Hyacinth (Purple): Please forgive me
Iris: Message
Ivy: Fidelity
Jasmine (Madagascar): Happiness in marriage
Jonquil: Desire
Lilac: First emotions of love
Lily-of-the-valley: Return of happiness
Magnolia: Magnificence 
Myrtle: Home and Love
Narcissus: Self-love
Nasturtium: Patriotic
Orange Blossom: Your purity equals your loveliness
Orchid: Refined beauty
Pansy: Think of me
Petunia: Do not despair
Queen Anne’s Lace: Safe Haven
Quince: Temptation
Rose (Red): Love
Roses (Red and White Together): Unity
Stephanotis: Happiness in marriage
"Tulip - floriade canberra" by John O'Neill -
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike
3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - 
Sweet William: Gallantry
Tansy: I declare war against you
Tulip: Declaration of love
Verbena (White): Sensitivity
Violet: Modesty
Water Lily: Purity of heart
Wisteria: Welcome
Yarrow: Cure for a broken heart
Zinnia: I mourn your absence

Have a good week, dear Reader. Thanks for stopping by...Y'all come back now! (and send flowers!)


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