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Language of Flowers

forge collective blog

Ever gotten flowers for or from someone? Have you ever thought that the actual chosen blooms could have their own dialogue with the recipient? Get ready to learn another language, and this one smells pretty dang amazing.

Floriography, or the language of flowers, is a means of cryptological communication through the arrangement and use of flowers. Flowers have had meanings attributed to them for thousands of years and has been practiced in traditional cultures throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

It wasn’t until Victorian England though that floriography flourished. You know all those stuffy rules about politeness and public discretion? Well, people had things they wanted to ask/say/imply so thus, they turned to adding symbolism to flowers as a way to communicate. This was a way to send secret messages and almost everyone had flower dictionaries so they could translate the bloom’s meanings. Flower symbolism was of course also used in art. Children novelist Frances Hodgson, Jane Austen, and Charlotte and Emily Bronte are among some the times authors who wove the language of flowers into their writings. Some painters who adopted floriography were John Singer Sargent and John Everett Millais. The florals depicted in their paintings are for more than just their color and looks, and add a depth to the art.


.  John Everett Millais, Ophelia .

lily rose

. John Singer Sargent, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose .

Of course there are lots and lots of different definitions for each flower, but an overall consensus of meaning for common blooms has emerged. Most often, the definitions come from the actual appearance or behavior of the flower itself. Take the mimosa for example, it represents chastity because its leaves close at night or when touched.

mimosa flower

Roses are like the alpha dogs when it comes to being used in arrangements and when one thinks of gifting florals. But these dudes can represent a lot of different emotions; want to show friendship or devotion? Then yellow roses are your go to.

yellow roses

Playing it with chastity and virtue? Head for the white roses.

white roses

Not super feeling the person romantically, but still care for them? Holla at your pink roses as they imply a lesser affection.

pink roses

Our favorite? Obviously black roses (which are actually a very dark shade of maroon, red, or purple) because they have a long association with dark magic… and death. Death is just part of the life cycle, we ain’t getting too morbid, we promise ;)

billy kidd

. Billy Kidd .

We have a deep love for flowers, plants, and herbs and find this completely fascinating. Here’s a list of flowers and their meanings, let us know which ones speak to you the most!

Curious Insight

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