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Flower meanings — an overview

From the beginning of recorded history, men and women have assigned special significance to different flowers.

Did you know that in the Middle Ages flowers were used as a vital part of lengthy courtships?

Since different flowers are deemed to convey different messages, lovers could express themselves without the fear of being overheard. The flowers could even be symbolically arranged to communicate different feelings of love, attraction, affection or even disdain. Flowers were all part of a secret code — and a beautiful code at that...

These days, whether you're male or female, romantic or practical, if you do decide to give the age-old gift flowers it will mean so much more if you brush up on some of the meanings beforehand.

Think of it like looking up to the stars and not only knowing the different constellations, but the ancient myths behind them. In the same way, imagine giving that special someone a bouquet of purple irises, crocuses, and ivy on Valentine's Day, and being able to tell them that it was a traditional bouquet given in Medieval times because the iris meant "heat aflame," the crocus, "joy," and the ivy ensured the recipient was wanted "above all others."

Or, imagine giving them a bunch of marigolds without realising the marigold means cruelty, grief and jealousy...

Over the centuries, some individual meanings have changed and evolved and many experts now disagree on the subtleties of some of the connotations. Moreover, every true lover of flowers knows they can mean different things to different people. Traditionally, the Sunflower conveys the message of ‘haughtiness' but I can't see their smiling faces without remembering childhood summer days of skipping through fields of sunflowers and thinking they were my friends.

Flower meanings — an assortment of traditions and categories

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