Flower Meanings, History, Mythology & other information
From the beginning of recorded history, men and women have assigned special meaning and significance to different flowers and plants. The symbolic use of flowers is mentioned in Egyptian inscriptions, Chinese writings, and in Greek and Roman mythology.
Subtle and secret messages can be given by choosing flowers carefully. It is believed that the flower language began in Turkey during the seventeenth century. Romantic lovers began using floral exchanges to convey emotional messages using the flower meanings. The Victorians became very knowledgable in the flower language and chose their bouquets carefully. Flowers gave them a secret language that enabled them to communicate feelings that the propriety of the times would not allow, there were strict restraints on courtship and any displays of emotion. Flower selections were limited and people used more symbols and gestures to communicate than words.
Please take a look at the different Flower Meanings according to the following categories by clicking on the direct links below
Birth Month Flowers
Florigraphy is a recognised science and means the study of flower meanings. The first "Flower Dictionary" was written by Mme. Charlotte de la Tour in 1818. It was titled Le Language des Fleurs. A Victorian woman named Miss Corruthers of Inverness, was inspired by this book and wrote another book on the subject in 1879. This book has become the standard of flower symbolism.
We cannot claim this list is definitive because there is no definitive list. Depending on the culture, quite different meanings of flowers are attached to the same blooms, so you may find variations. This is our list of flower meanings.
A-E F-L M-Z Acacia - Elegance, friendship
Achillea - Elegance, Friendship
Aconitum - Beware
Agapanthus - Flower of love
Allium - Unity, Humility, Patience
Almond blossom - Hope
Alstromeria - Devotion,Wealth, Good fortune
Amaranth - Never - Fading
Amaryllis - Beautiful, timid, proud, Determination
Anemone - Abandonment, Anticipation, Lust,Forsaken, dainty
Antherinium - No secrets from you
Anthurium - Hospitality
Anthirrhinum - Gracious Lady, Deception, Presumption
Apple blossom - Good fortune and better things to come
Asparagus fern - Sincerity
Aster - Symbol of love,Patience, Afterthought, Daintyness
Azalea - Moderation, Forbearance, Temperance
Bamboo - Wealth, Happiness, Longevity
Bells of Ireland - Good luck, Whimsy
Birch - Longevity
Bluebell - Humility, Everlasting love
Bouvardia - Enthusiasm
Burdock - Do not touch me
Cactus - Endurance
Caladium - Great joy, Delight
Calla Lily - Magnificent beauty
Camellia (Pink) - Longing for you
Camellia Blue - You are the flame in my heart
Camellia (Red) Y - ou're a flame in my heart
Camellia (White) - You're adorable
Campanula - Thankfulness
Carnation (Pink) - I'll never forget you
Carnation (Red) - My heart aches for you, Admiration
Carnation (White) - Innocence, pure love,Devotion
Carnation (Yellow) - You disappointed me, rejection, Contempt
Carnation (Purple) - Capriciousness
Chamelaucium - Susceptability
Chrysanthemum (red) - I love you too
Chrysanthemum (white) - Truth, Trust
Chrysanthemum (Yellow) - Dejection, Slighted Love
Cornflower - Delicacy, Hope in love, Blessedness
Cosmos - Beautiful
Cotton Balls - Nature
Crocus - Youth, Gladfulness, Cheerfulness
Cyclamen - Resignation, Goodbye
Daffodil - Regard, You're the only one,Unrequited love, Chivalry, Respect
Dahlia - Dignity, Elegance, Good taste, Instability
Daisy - Innocence, Loyal love, Purity, Gentleness, Romance, Cheerfulness
Delphinium - Flight of fancy, Ardent, Attachment, Agility
Eryngium - Independence, Austerity, Sternness
Eucalyptus - Spirituality
Evening Primrose - Inconstancy
Fern - Magic, fascination, confidence & shelter, Secret bond of love
Forget-me-not - Faithful love, Undying hope, Memories, True love, Do not forget
Freesia - Innocence, Trust, Friendship
Gardenia - Purity, Sweet love, Sectre love, Refinement
Geranium - Thoughts of youth, Folly
Gerbera - Happiness, Cheerfulness
Ginger Lily - Diversity, Unlimited wealth
Gladioli - Infatuation, Strength of character
Gloxinia - Love at first sight
Godetia - Farewell to Spring
Goldenrod - Good fortune
Gypsophilia - Pure of Heart, Innocence
Heather - Good luck, Protection, Admiration, Solitude
Heliconia - Great returns
Heliotrope - Devotion and faithfulness
Hellebore - Scandal
Hibiscus - Delicate beauty
Holly - Foresight, Domestic happiness, Defence
Hollyhock - Devotion
Honeysuckle - Generosity
Hyacinth (purple) -
Hyacinth (blue) - Sincerity
Hyacinth (white) - Modest loveliness
Hydrangea - Thank you for understanding, Heartlessness, Arrogance, Vanity
Iris - Faith, Wisdom, Valor, Promise, Hope, Friendship
Ivy - Wedded love, Fidelity,Frienship, Affection
Japonica - Loveliness
Jasmine - Amiability
Kalanchoe - Endurance, Lasting Affection
Larkspur - Fickleness
Lavender - Acknowledgement, Suspicion, Failure, refusal
Lemon blossom - Fidelity in love
Liatris - Enthusiasm
Lilac (white) - Youthful innocence
Lilac (white) - Youthful innocence, Purity, Modesty
Lilac (purple) - First emtion of love
Lily (Calla) - Beauty
Lily - Majesty
Lily Day - Coquetry
Lily (pink) - Youth, Acceptance,Prosperity
Lily (white) - Youthful love, Purity
Lily (yellow) - Walking on air
Lily Tiger - Wealth
Lily of the Valley - Return to happiness, Sweetness, Devotion
Lisianthus - Appreciation
Magnolia - Perseverance, Dignity
Maidenhead fern - Discretion
Marigold - Grief, Cruelty,Jealousy
Meadow Saffron - My best days are past
Mexican Orange Blosson - Purity, Eternal love, Marriage
Mimosa - Sensitivity, Concealed love
Miniature Rose - Always remember
Moss - Eternal affection
Myrtle - Love, Duty, Affection
Narcissus - Stay sweet
Orange blossom - Purity and virginity
Orchid - Refined love, Beautiful lady
Peach blossom - Captive
Peony - Happy marriage, Bashfulness, Prosperity
Phlox - Our souls are united
Pine - Hope, Pity
Pink - Boldness
Poinsettia - Good cheer, Success
Poppy - Pleasure, imagination, Wealth
Primrose - I cannot live without you
Protea - Magic and enchantment, Diversity, Courage
Queen Anne's Lace - Haven, Sanctuary
Ranunculus - I am dazzled by your charms, radiant
Rhododendron - Fascination
Rose - Confidentiality, Love, Passion
Rose (lavender) - Enchantment
Rose (orange) - Fascination, Desire
Rose (peach) - Enthusiasm, Desire
Rose (pink) - Grace, Gratitude
Rose (red) - Love, passion
Rose (White and Red Mixed) - Unity
Rose (white) - Innocence, Secfrecy
Rose (yellow) - Friendship
Rosemary - Remembrance
Snapdragon - Grace
Snowdrop - Consolation, Hope
Solidago - Success
Stephanotis - Happiness in marriage, Desire to travel
Stock - Happy life, Bonds of affection
Sunflower - Adoration, Pride, Sunshine, Longevity
Sweet pea - Delicate pleasure, Goodbye
Sweet Williams - Grant me one smile, Gallantry
Tuberose - Dangerous pleasure
Tulip (General) - Perfect lover, Romance
Tulip (red) - I love you
Tulip (variegated) - Enchantment
Tulip (white) - Forgiveness
Tulip (yellow) - Hopeless love, cheerful thoughts
Twisted willow - Remembrance
Verbena - Will you get your wish?
Veronica - Fidelity
Violet - Faithfulness
Back to top of Flower Meanings page
Birth Month Flowers
1st - Carnation
2nd - Lily of the Valley
3rd - Sunflower
4th - Hydrangea
5th - Daisy
6th - Calla Lily
7th - Freesia
8th - Lilac
9th - Bird of Paradise
10th - Daffodil
11th - Tulip
12th - Peony
13th - Chrysanthemum
14th - Orchid
15th - Rose
20th - Aster
25th - Iris
40th - Gladiolus
50th - Yellow Roses and Violets
January - Carnation
February - Iris
March - Daffodil
April - Daisy
May - Lily
June - Rose
July - Delphinium
August - Gladioli
September - Aster
October - Marigold
November - Chrysanthemum
December - Poinsetta
Aries (21 Mar-20 Apr) - Tulip
Taurus (21 Apr-21 May) - Lily
Gemini (22 May-21 Jun) - Rose
Cancer (22 Jun-22 Jul) - Delphinium
Leo (23 Jul-Aug 22) - Sunflower
Virgo (23 Aug-23 Sep) - Daisy
Libra (24 Sep-23 Oct) - Hydrangea
Scorpio (24 Oct-22 Nov) - Peony
Sagittarius (23 Nov-21 Dec) - Carnation
Capricorn (22 Dec-20 Jan) - Violet
Aquarius (21 Jan-19 Feb) - Orchid
Pisces (20 Feb-20 Mar)- Alstroemeria
Back to top of Flower Meanings page
Flower History, Myths, Legends and Folklore. For hundreds of years flowers have held hidden meanings, derived from mythology, folklore, religious and historical symbolism.
Plants played an important role in ancient Greece, and their plant superstitions were numerous. Their mythical stories were either about natural phenomenon’s like the seasons, or definitions of the supernatural in everyday life.
According to the Greeks, there were twelve gods that ruled the heavens, earth, sea, and underworld. All members of one family, these gods made their home on Mount Olympus in Northern Greece. Not only did each one of these god’s have distinct attributes and special personalities, each also had a favorite plant. So in Greek literature and art, these plants of the gods were seen as living links to the gods.
Through the ages, plants have provided man with food, shelter, clothing, weapons, and healing. No wonder they have been attributed with magical powers, and so many myths have been built around plants.
I have compiled a list of flowers and a few myths, legends and folklore that surround them. Enjoy!
Acacia, Wattle - Beauty in retirement, Friendship, Concealed love, Chaste love.
In Greek mythology the acacia tree symbolizes immortality and resurrection. Acacia wood was used in the Bible to build the tabernacle in the wilderness. Many believe that a variety of acacia, the Shittah tree, is what was used to produce the Ark of The Covenant. It also figures prominently in freemasonry folklore and is a symbol of love for Native Americans.
Early spring flowering. Originating from Central and South America, Kenya, South Africa, Polynesia and Australia.
Achillea, Yarrow - Elegance, Friendship.
Named after Achilles from Greek mythology, who used Achillea to treat cuts and bruises on his wounded soldiers.
Summer flowering. Originating from temperate regions of the Northern hemisphere.
Aconitum, Monkshood, Wolfsbane - Beware, a deadly foe is near.
In Greek mythology, Medea, the daughter of King Aeetes, attempted to poison Theseus, legendary King of Athens, with a cup of wine poisoned with Wolfsbane. However Aegeus his father interceded when he discerned his identity. Wolfsbane has been ascribed with supernatural powers in the mythology relating to werewolves and other lycanthropes, either to repel them, relating to aconite's use in poisoning wolves and other animals, or in some way induce their lycanthropic condition, as aconite was often an important ingredient in witches' magic ointments. In folklore, aconite was also said to make a person into a werewolf if it is worn, smelled, or eaten. They are also said to kill werewolves if they wear, smell, or eat aconite.
Early summer flowering. Originating from the Northern hemisphere.
Agapanthus, Lily of the Nile, African Lily - Flower of love.
Comes from the Greek word agape, meaning love and anthos, meaning flower. This is the National Flower of Antigua.
Late summer flowering. Originating from South Africa.
Allium - Unity, Humility, Patience.
Allium is the onion genus, with about 1250 species, making it one of the largest plant genera in the world. They are perennial bulbous plants that produce chemical compounds (mostly cystein sulfoxide) that give them a characteristic onion or garlic taste and odor, and many are used as food plants. Allium is classified in family Alliaceae although some classifications have included it in the lily family (Liliaceae). According to folklore alliums are said to act as barriers for keeping moles and rodents out of the garden.
Early summer flowering. Originating from the Northern hemisphere.
Alstroemeria, Peruvian Lily, Lily of the Incas - Wealth, Prosperity, Good Fortune. Named after the Baron Clas Alstomer, a Swedish naturalist.
Summer flowering. Originating from South America.
Amaryllis, Hippeastrum - Pride, Splendid Beauty, Determination, Timidity, Sparkling.
In Greek Mythology, Amaryllis was a lovelorn shepherdess, who fell deeply in love Altheo, a shepherd with the strength of Hercules and the beauty of Apollo, but her love was unrequited. She pierced her heart to produce a new flower for the hard hearted shepherd, in the hope that she may win him round.
Winter flowering. Festive. Originating from Central and South America.
Amaranth, Pigweed, Amaranthus – Immortality.
The word comes from the Greek word amarantos, meaning the one that does not wither or the never-fading. Aesop’s Fables compares the Rose to the Amaranth to illustrate the difference in fleeting and everlasting beauty. In ancient Greece was sacred to Ephesian Artemis. It was supposed to have special healing properties, and as a symbol of immortality was used to decorate images of the gods and tombs. In legend, Amarynthus (a form of Amarantus) was a hunter of Artemis and king of Euboea; in a village of Amarynthus, of which he was the eponymous hero, there was a famous temple of Artemis Amarynthia or Amarysia . Amaranth was also widely used by the Chinese for its healing chemicals, curing illnesses such as infections, rashes, and migraines.
Late summer flowering. Originating from temperate and tropical regions worldwide.
Anemone - Anticipation, Forsaken, Expectations, Love, Lust, Abandonment, Daintiness.
From the Greek word anemos, meaning wind. In Greek mythology the Anemone sprang form Aphrodite's tears as she mourned the death of Adonis. Other legend has it that when the Anemone closes it's petals, it indicates that rain is on it's way and is also thought to bring luck and protect against evil. Spring or Autumn flowering, dependent on type. Originating from temperate regions , mainly in the Northern hemisphere.
Anthurium, Flamingo flower, Painted Tongue - Hospitality, hard working, think of me.
Anthurium in Greek means tail flower.
Originating from tropical and subtropical North and South America.
Antirrhinum, Snapdragon - Gracious lady, Deception, Presumption.
The name comes from the Greek words anti, meaning like and rhin, meaning nose. Legend has it that concealing a snapdragon makes a person appear fascinating and cordial.
Summer flowering. Originating from Europe, USA and Northern Africa.
Aster, Michelmas Daisy - Symbol of love, Patiemce, Daintiness, Afterthought.
The name is from the Greek word meaning star. In ancient times it was thought that the perfume from their burning leaves could drive away evil serpents. According to one legend, the field bloomed with asters when Virgo scattered stardust on the earth. The other claimed that the Goddess Asterea began to cry when she looked down upon the earth and saw no stars. The asters bloomed where her tears fell. Another myth comes from Greek mythology. Every year Aegeus, king of Athens, would send seven young men and seven maidens to the king of Crete. There they would be sacrificed to the Minotaur, a creature with a bull's body and human head. One year Aegeus' son Theseus volunteered to be one of the youth, believing he could slay the Minotaur. When he sailed for Crete he told his father, who dearly loved his son, that when he returned he would fly white sails on the ship instead of the black ones that were raised when the ship left. Theseus did arrive at Crete, where he fell in love with the king’s daughter Ariadne. With her help, he entered the labyrinth and killed the Minotaur. However, on his return to Athens, Theseus forgot to hoist the white sails. Seeing the black sails his father, believing his son was dead, he killed himself. Purple asters sprang up from the ground where his blood flowed, the result of a spell put on him by sorceress Medea, who had been once been his wife.
Autumn flowering. Originating from the Northern hemisphere.
Astrantia, Masterwort, Hattie’s pincushion
It is thought Astrantia is named after Astron, the Greek word meaning star.
Summer flowering. Originating from Europe to Western Asia.
Azalea, Rhododendron - moderation, Forbearance, Temperance.
In Chinese culture, the azalea is known as "thinking of home bush" (xiangsi shu) and is immortalized in the poetry of Tu Fu and is used to rich effect in contemporary stories such as "A Sea of Blood-red Azaleas".
Spring flowering. Originating from Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America.
Bamboo, Bambusa - Wealth, happiness, longevity.
Because bamboo is sturdy and always green, the Chinese regard it as a symbol of long life. A Philippine legend that credits the birth of humanity to the bamboo stem -- a creation myth in which a man and woman came from the stem and began the world's progeny. A Malaysian legend tells of a man finding the love of his life, a beautiful woman, inside a bamboo stem. In the creation story of the Andaman Islanders of the Indian Ocean, the first man is born inside a large stalk of bamboo. Philippine Islanders traditionally believed that bamboo crosses in their fields would bring good crops. Originating from Tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia and Central and South America.
Bells of Ireland, shellflower, Moluccella laevis - Good luck, Whimsy.
Bells of Ireland have a spicy/peppery scent and are part of the mint family.
Summer flowering. Although the name suggests these flowers come from Ireland, they originate from the Mediterranean to North West India.
Bluebell, Hyacinthoides - Humility, Everlasting love.
Bluebells are named after a Greek youth ‘Endymion’ with whom the Moon Goddess Selene fell in love. The Bluebell is one of the most potent of all faerie flora. Bluebells are also known as Cuckoo's Boots, Deadmen's Bells and Crowstoes. A bluebell-wood shimmers with faerie-woven spells and enchantments. Legend tells that the Bluebell faeries will hold children captive and adults in a Bluebell wood will be 'pixie-led'. In English folklore it is said that the bluebells call the fairies to their meetings.Some say that you should not walk through bluebells as it is believed that the enchantment would lead you to the little folk who would then spirit you away. Folklore also warns you that should you be unlucky to hear the bluebells ring, that you may die within a year. Some believed that by wearing a wreath made of the flowers, the wearer would be compelled to speak only truth. Others believed that if you could turn one of the flowers inside out without tearing it, you would eventually win the one you love.
Spring flowering. Originating from Western Europe and Northern Africa.
Bouvardia - Enthusiasm.
Named after Louis XIII's physician, Charles Boubard.
Autumn flowering. Originating from tropical and subtropical South USA and South America.
Cactus – Endurance.
Among the remains of the Aztec civilization, cactus-like plants can be found in pictorial representations, sculpture and drawings, with many depictions resembling Echinocactus grusonii. This cactus, also known as "Mother-in-law's Cushion," has great ritual significance - human sacrifices were carried out on these cacti. Tenochtitlan (the earlier name of Mexico City) means "place of the sacred cactus." The coat of arms of Mexico to this day shows an eagle perched on a cactus while holding a snake, an image which is at the center of the Aztec origin myth.
Originating from North, Central and South America.
Caladium, Angel Wings, Elephant ear - Great joy and delight.
Originating from tropical South America.
Camellia - Gratitude, Perfection.
Some colours have specific meanings and are shown below. The genus was named by Linnaeus the Jesuit botanist George Joseph Kamel.
Spring and Autumn flowering, depending on type. Originating from North India to the Himalayas, to China and Japan.
Camellia (White) - You are adorable, Perfected loveliness
Camellia (Red) - Unpretending excellence
Camellia (Pink) - Longing for you
Camellia (Blue) - You are the flame in my heart
Campanula, Bellflower, Harebell, Scottish Bluebell – Thankfulness.
The flower of witches, who used its juice as part of their flying ointment. It was was used by witches to transform themselves into hares. Its associated with seeing fairies, goblins and earth spirits This was the fairy plant of the south-west of England; in the Isle of Man the 'fairies' thimble'; the bluebell of Scotland (also the Devil's bell). Clumps of this thick and pretty ground cover were once thought to offer shelter to the fairies. In folklore, the flowers assist mortals in seeing fairies or seeing into their reality, but were regarded by some as unlucky because they could also reveal or even attract malign spirits, including the Devil himself, hence "Aul Man's Bells,", Aul or Old Man being used as a way of naming the Devil without invoking him by speaking his name. They are also called Dead Men's or Dead Man's Bells, because hearing the bells ringing is an omen of death. As a garden weed, it was often left un-pulled for fear of offending the 'Aul Man' or the fairies; hence it was in every garden with suitable soil. Contrarily it is also dedicated to St Dominic de Guzman, confessor, founder of the Friar Preachers.
Early summer flowering. Originating from the Northern hemisphere.
Carnation, Dianthus - Fascination, Womanly love, Devoted love, A Mother's love. Several conflicting explanations exist to explain their origin. Coronation, because Greek ceremonial crowns used carnations, Corone, meaning flower garlands, for the same reason and carnis, meaning flesh, from the hue of the original flower, pink or incarnacyon, referring to god-made flesh. Dianthus comes from the Greek words dios, meaning god and anthos, meaning flower. In Canada on mothering Sunday you would wear a red flower if your mother was alive or a white flower if your mother had died. There is a story that the scent was bred out of florist carnations at the request of funeral directors to avoid people being overcome by the smell and fainting at funeral services. Pink carnations are said to have first appeared on Earth when a tear fell from the Virgin Mary's eye when Jesus Christ was carrying the cross. According to Christian legend, the flower was said to have sprung up from the Earth when her tear hit the ground, therefore the pink carnation represents a Mother's undying love.
Summer flowering. Originating from Europe, Asia and South Africa.
Carnation (White) - Devotion, Pure and Ardent Love, Sweet, Lovely
Carnation (Purple) - Capriciousness
Carnation (Red) - My heart aches for you, Admiration
Carnation (Yellow) - Rejection, Disappointment, Contempt.
Chamelaucium, Waxflower – Susceptibility.
Chamelaucium is often called Geraldton wax after the town in Western Australia where it originates. Delicate rounded cup-shaped flowers occur in sprays along woody stems. The leaves are long and narrow like pine needles; and have a lovely scent of lemons mixed with almond when crushed.
Originating from Western Australia.
Chrysanthemums - You're a Wonderful Friend, With Love, Cheerfulness, Cheerfulness In Old Age, Optimism, A desolate heart.
Named from the Greek prefix chrys, meaning golden (it's original colour) and anthemion, meaning flower. The Japanese believe the orderly unfolding of their petals represents perfection and Confucius once suggested you should use them as an object of meditation. It's believed that to place a single petal at the bottom of your glass will encourage a long and healthy life. The dew found on flowers was collected because it promoted longevity. The Chinese consider it a sign of rest and ease and believe that if tea made from Chrysanthemums is drunk it will drive out the devil of drunkeness. The Chrysanthemums is known as the Christ's flower, because it bloomed on the morning of his birth. The Chinese legend tells the story of an elderly emperor who had heard about a magic herb that would give him eternal youth. This herb was said to grow on Dragonfly Island and could only be picked by young people. The elderly emperor therefore sent twenty-four children on what proved to be a long and hazardous journey. Much to their dismay, when they finally arrived at the island they found it totally deserted. There was no sign of the magic herb. All they found was a flower - the golden chrysanthemum, which today still symbolises the Chinese people's ties with their country. Later Mao Tse Tung replaced the imperial golden yellow with the red of the people's republic. The Japanese legend revolves around the god Izanagi and the goddess Iznami, who were sent to earth across a bridge of clouds because there were too many gods in heaven. When she arrived on earth, the goddess created the gods of the wind, the mountains and the sea, but perished miserably in the flames that sprang up while she was creating the god of fire. Izanagi, who missed her, followed her into a dismal place known as the 'Black Night'. When he finally caught a glimpse of the goddess, he was immediately pursued by an old witch. He fled back to earth, where he decided to cleanse himself in the river. The items of clothing he dropped onto the ground turned into twelve gods. His jewels turned into flowers, his bracelet into an iris, a second bracelet into a lotus flower and his necklace became a golden chrysanthemum.
Autumn flowering. Originating from the Arctic, Russia, China and Japan. The annuals come from the Mediterranean.
Chrysanthemums (Yellow) - Dejection, Slighted love
Chrysanthemums (Red) - I love you too
Chrysanthemums (White) - Trust, Truth
Cornflower, Bachelor's Button, Centaurea cyanus - Delicacy, Hope in love, Blessedness.
The Cornflower got its common name due to being found mostly in cornfields. The Latin name refers to a mythical centaur that the ancient Greeks worshiped as the father of medicine. Although these days, due to modern methods of harvesting corn and other grains, it is much rarer. In folklore, cornflowers were worn by young men in love; if the flower faded too quickly, it was taken as a sign that the man's love was unrequited. Summer flowering. Originating mainly from Europe.
Cosmos - Beautiful. derived from the Latin word kosmos.
Summer flowering. Originating from the US.
Crocus - Youthful gladness, Cheerfulness.
Crocus was a friend of the Greek god Hermes. One day as the two friends were playing, Hermes accidentally hit and killed his friend. A small flower grew at the place of the accident. Three drops of Crocus' blood fell on the center of the flower and formed the spots on this plant. The plant took the name crocus because of this event. According to another myth, Crocus was a young man who transformed into a flower because of his unfulfilled love for a nymph called Smilax. At the same time, Smilax transformed into a vine-plant. According to legend, young Crocus was a shepherd boy of fine and noble spirit. He fell deeply in love with the lovely nymph Smilax. The gods were so impressed with the depth of his devotion, that they granted him immortality and turned him into a flower. To ensure that they could be forever together, Smilax was transformed as an evergreen, the yew.
Early Spring flowering. Originating from Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, W.China.
Cyclamen, Sow Bread - Resignation, Goodbye.
They have a common name of Sow Bread because pigs eat the big roots. Their tubers contain cyclamin, which is harmless to pigs, but, when ingested by humans, can cause gastritis and nervous tension. The toxicity of cyclamen is destroyed by roasting. In ancient times, tubers were roasted, beaten, and made into small cakes, said to be an aphrodisiac. Much of the folklore about cyclamen refers to love and conception. The power of the plant was considered so great that it was dangerous for a pregnant woman to even step on the plant. There are many other powers believed to be held by cyclamen including: healing snake bites, warding off magic spells, and influencing the affairs of the heart. The essence of the cyclamen is supposed to bring good luck.
Autumn and Spring flowering. Originating from the Mediterranean.
Daffodil, Narcissus, Jonquil, Lent Lily - You're the only one, Regard, Unrequited love, The sun shines when I'm with you, chivalry, respect, new beginnings.
Named after Narcissus from Greek mythology. He was so arrogant that he looked into a mirror and fell in love with his own reflection. He was later said to have been turned into a flower. Another legend has it that a young wood nymph named Echo fell in love with a young man named Narcissus, who was bestowed with great beauty, by the gods. He was given the gift of eternal youth and beauty, provided he did not look at his own reflection. Self-absorbed, he spurned the affections of Echo, who was consumed by love, until all that was left of her was her voice. Because of this sad affair, the daffodil signifies unrequited love. Nemesis, the goddess of retribution and vengeance, led the vain Narcissus to a shimmering mountain lake that mirrored his face. There, at the water's edge , he fell in love with his image and was transfixed, caught in the spell of his beauty. Every time he tried to touch the image it disappeared in the ripples of water, so instead he simply sat at the water's edge and stared sadly at the reflection. The "drooping" of the daffodil symbolizes Narcissus admiring himself. The Gods thought that Narcissus would die of hunger if he remained there any longer so they turned him into a scented flower which, to this day blossoms in the mountains in spring and which is still called Narcissus. Thus, the daffodil symbolizes unrequited love, vanity and excessive self-love. The center of the daffodil cup is said to contain the tears of Narcissus. Narcissus comes from "narke, " the Ancient Greek work for deep sleep, stupor or numbness. Narke is also the root of the word "narcotic." The name is probably a reference to a toxic paralyzing alkaloid contained within narcissi bulbs. The good news is the bulbs taste just awful, making it highly unlikely that anyone could even keep down one bite. Roman soldiers would carry several bulbs with them and if mortally wounded, they'd chow down on the bulbs. The bulb would work its narcotic wonder and the soldier would painlessly die. The Chinese believe that a daffodil forced to bloom for Chinese New Year can bring good luck to your home. In Wales, it is said that if you spot the first daffodil of the season, it will bring 12 months of wealth. There is a legend that the daffodil first appeared on the night of The Last Supper in the Garden of Gethsemane to comfort Jesus in his hour of sorrow.
Early Spring Originating from Europe and North Africa.
Dahlia - Dignity, Elegance, Good taste, Instability. Named after Swedish botanist Dr Anders Dahl.
Autumn flowering. Originating from Central America and Mexico.
Daisy, Bellis - Innocence, Loyal love, I will never tell, Purity, Gentleness, Romance, Cheerfulness, you're a wonderful friend, Abundance, Wealth.
The name daisy comes from the words "day's eye" because the flowers open in the daytime and close at night. Named by Carolis Linneaeus in the 17th century. The daisy has a very long history. In Christian legend, daisies represent the tears of Mary. In ancient Greece, they were dedicated to Aphrodite. According to an ancient Celtic legend, daisies came from the spirits of children who died at birth. To cheer up their parents, God sprinkled the flowers all over the earth. This legend is the reason why daisies have the meaning of innocence. Daisy chains should always have their ends joined when finished as they represent the sun, the earth, and the circle of life.
It was once believed that dressing a child in a daisy chain would protect them from being stolen by the fairies. In the Middle Ages the daisy was often used to treat battle wounds; bandages containing crushed daisies were thought to give relief from pain and aid healing. Originating from Europe, mainly Turkey.
Dandelion - Legend has it that the number of breaths it takes to blow off all the seeds of a dandelion globe that has gone to seed, is the hour number. The dandelion is called the rustic oracle; its flowers always open about 5 am. and shut at 8 pm, serving the shepherd for a clock. It's said that if you can blow all the seeds off with one blow, then you are loved with a passionate love. If some seeds remain, then your lover has reserveations about the relationship. If a lot of the seeds still remain on the globe, then you are not loved at all, or very little.
Delphinium, Larkspur - Flight of fancy, Ardent attachment, Agility. Pink – Fickleness. Blue – Flippancy.
Delphinium name comes from the Greek word delphis, meaning dolphin. Ancient use of Delphiums was to drive away scorpions and for blue dye. According to myth the species originated during the ancient battle at Troy. The armor of a brave soldier was given to Ulysses instead of Ajax. In his disappointment Ajax killed himself. From the blood that flowed from his sword, delphinium sprang.
Early Summer flowering. Originating from all over the world except Australia and the polar regions.
Dicentra, Bleeding Heart, Dutchman’s breeches - The name Dicentra derives from dis, meaning twice, and kentron, indicating a spur—hence, two-spurs - referring to the flower's corolla. The plant is unpopular with farmers as cattle could suffer convulsions, even death from eating too much of the leaves. Ranchers called it staggerweed because of the effect it had on livestock. Dutchman's breeches is one of the most important love charms of the Menomini. The young swain tries to throw it at his intended and hit her with it. Another way is for him to chew the root, breathing out so that the scent will carry to her. He then circles around the girl, and when she catches the scent, she will follow him wherever he goes, even against her will.
Late Spring flowering.
Eryngium, Sea Holly, Eryngo - Independence, Austerity, Sternness. The name is from the Greek word, which means thistle. The botanical name Leavenworthii is in honour of Dr M Conkling Leavenworth, a botanist. Originating from Europe, North Africa, Turkey, Central Asia, China and Korea.
Evening Primrose, Sundrops, Oenothera – Inconstancy. The scientific name of the plant, Oenothera biennis, comes from two Greek words "oinos" (wine) and "thera" (hunt) because eating the roots was once believed to increase a person's appetite for wine. Folklore also says that evening primrose counters the effects of drinking too much wine. In folk medicine, evening primrose has been used to treat asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, whooping cough, and symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. The use of evening primrose as an herbal remedy in modern times is relatively recent. Scientific research regarding its healing properties began in the 1980s. Originating from North and South America.
Eucalyptus, Gum, Ironbark - well covered. Derrived from the Greek word eu, meaning well and kalyto, meaning to cover. . In Australia, the eucalyptus has been the tree of folklore where children sing of the "kookaburra in the gum tree." Where also children and aborigines, enjoy the sweet flakes of the manna gum. Medicine is found in its oils which has been used to cure everything from an upset stomach to a nasty laceration. Doctors and primitive cultures have both used it as a healer. Originating mainly from Australia.
Fern, Bracken - Secret bond of love, Fascination, Sincerity, Magic. In England it is believed that hanging dried ferns in the house will protect all the inhabitants from thunder and lightning damage. It is believed that it may rain when the ferns are cut or burnt. The bracken seed of the plant is said to provide magical qualities if you place a few in the pocket - invisibility being the most notable. It is also believed that treading on a fern will cause the traveller to become confused and lose his way. If a traveller treads on a fern he or she will become confused and lose their way.
Forget-Me-Not, Myosotis - Faithful love, Undying hope, Memories, Do not forget, True love. The name is Greek and means mouse's ear. Legend has it that once a medieval knight and his lady-love were walking beside a river. The knight held a bouquet in his hands. Because of the weight of the armor, he fell into the water. According to the legend, he threw the bouquet at her shouting forget-me-not . Another legend tells of a wayfarer in a lonely valley who sees a flower at his feet he had never before seen. He picked the flower, and immediately the mountainside opened. He entered and saw rich stores of gold and precious gems. He began to gather them, but dropped the little flower, which murmured faintly, ~forget-me-not.~ The wayfarer was so intent on the possessions before him, he ignored the plea. The rift in the mountain began to close, and he barely had time to escape. But, alas! the little flower that had opened the treasure-cave was lost forever. Originating from Europe, Asia, Australasia and North and South America.
Forsythia - Good nature, Innocence, Anticipation. According to legend, the Forsythia marks the coming of springtime. Korean legend tells of another kind of rebirth heralded by Forsythia — the rejuvenation of love. Originating from South East Europe and East Asia.
Freesia - Innocence, Trust, Friendship. Named after a German physician, Dr Friedrich Freese. Originating from South Africa.
Gardenia - Purity, Sweet love, You're lovely, Secret love, Refinement. Named after Dr Alexander Garden, a physician and botanist of South Carolina. Originating from Africa and Asia.
Geranium, Cranesbill - Folly, Stupidity. Ancient legend tells us that the geranium first grew when the Prophet Mohammed's shirt was hung on a mallow plant to dry in the sun, when he removed the shirt the bush had turned into a geranium. According to folklore Rose Geranium helps to guard against evil spirits! According to folklore, if you keep a scarlet geranium in the house all year a member of the family will die. The Mohammedans believed that the geranium was originally a swallow, which was changed into a geranium by touching the robe of Mahomet. Originating from temperate regions.
Gerbera, Germini - Happiness: Cheerfulness. Native of Africa and Asia. A German botanist, Traugott Gerber named the genus in 1743. They were at once distinctive because the order of the 'false petals' create a perfect symmetry and their texture creates a satin sheen. They are called 'false petals' because the true botanical flower is contained within the fuzzy yellow center! Originating from Africa, Madagascar, Asia and Indonesia.
Ginger Lily, Hedychium - Diversity, Unlimited wealth. During the 15th century, gingerbread became a gift of love and respect. In the 1800's, Ginger was commonly sprinkled on top of beer or ale, then stirred into the drink with a hot poker - thus the invention of ginger ale. Originating from Asia.
Gladiola -Infatuation, Strength of character, Sincerity, Generosity, Natural grace, moral integrity. A native of Africa, gladioli were common during the time of the Greeks. The name 'gladiolus' comes from the Latin gladius (a sword), from the shape of the leaves. The gladiolus corm (or mini bulb) is said to taste like chestnuts when roasted. Originating mainly from South Africa.
Gloxinia - Love at first sight. Originating from Central and South America.
Godetia, Clarkia, Farewell to Spring - Pleasing. Named after Captain William Clark. Originating from North and South America.
Gypsophila, Soap Wort, Babys Breath - Pure of heart, Innocence. Gypsophila has a distinct scent that has been compared to the breath of babies. The name has a Greek origin from words meaning lime and loving. Most species grow in alkaline soil, such as comes from gypsum rocks. Originating from the Mediterranean to Caucasus, Central Asia and North Western China.
Heather, Ling, Calluna vulgaris - Protection, Wishes will come true, Admiration, Solitude, Good luck. The name comes from the Greek word kallune, meaning to clean or brush. The idea that white heather is lucky reached England as part of a Victorian enthusiasm for Scottish traditions, and is now known everywhere. A winter-flowering variety is deliberately grown for sale on Burns Night in January, and Gypsies sell both real heather and substitutes in the streets of many English towns in summer. Long, long ago in Scotland, the famous Celtic bard, Ossian, had a daughter called Malvina. She was beautiful and sweet natured. She won the heart of Oscar, a handsome warrior. They became betrothed, but Oscar left in search of fame and fortune. Malvina pined for him and sought solace by telling her father how much she loved her brave warrior, Oscar. On a beautiful autumn day, the two were sitting on a Highland hillside when a ragged messenger staggered towards them. He brought the terrible news that Oscar had been killed in a mighty battle. The messenger held out a spray of purple heather to Malvina - a last gift from Oscar - and told her that he had died whispering her name and pledging his love. In her grief, Malvina ran over the hillside, weeping bitterly. Where her tears fell, the purple heather turned pure white. When she saw this, she said "May this white heather forever bring good fortune to all those who find it". Originating from Europe, Siberia and Morocco.
Heliconia, Lobster Claw, Tropical Parrot Flowers - Great returns. The name Heliconia comes from Greek mythology after the great Mount Helicon. The variety of common names it also goes under such as lobster claw and parrot flower reflect their beak-like shape. This was the abode of the of the 9 inspirational goddess muses of the arts and sciences. Originating from Central And South America.
Hibiscus - Delicate beauty. The Hibiscus is native to Asia and Pacific islands. Hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia and of the Conch Republic. It is the State flower of Hawaii. It is called the ~Queen of Tropical Flowers~ as it signifies peace and happiness. It is also known as the Shoe Flower because its petals are used to shine shoes. In islands of the Pacific Ocean, the red hibiscus is worn by women behind the ear. If worn behind the left ear, she is desirous of a lover, if behind the right ear she is already spoken for. But if she wears two flowers, one behind each ear she has a lover but would like another. Another use of the hibiscus is its ability to enhance the taste of tea. The hibiscus tea is a well known drink which has lasted throughout the centuries. This drink has been around as far back as ancient Egypt. It is believed that the Pharaohs of this era drank this drink while relaxing next to the river. It was known then as "drink of the gods." The healthy properties of the hibiscus tea have not gone unnoticed as well. This drink has been known to prevent bladder infections, as well as high blood pressure. Long ago, there was a man who was very angry with his wife. He was so angry that he sent her into the ocean on a raft. However, the gods had warned the woman about her husband's plan, and because of this she was prepared with supplies the gods told her she would need. Days later, when the woman had drifted far outside the reef, she scattered the ashes over the ocean as the gods had instructed. She then stuck the hibiscus branch into the bottom of the sea and covered it with the coconut shell. This created an island an the woman was saved. The island is now known as Kayangel, and the scared hibiscus tree still grows. Widely distributed in warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions.
Holly, Ilex - Foresight, Domestic happiness, Defense. According to a Christian legend the pointed leaves of the Holly represent the thorns of Christ's Crown. The green leaves represent eternal life. The red berries represent the blood of Christ. It is said that holly was used to make the crown of thorns. At that time the berries were yellow. In honor to the blood shed by Christ the berries turned red. Holly was the sacred plant of Saturn and was used at the Roman Saturnalia festival to honor him. Romans gave one another holly wreaths and carried them about decorating images of Saturn with it. Centuries later, in December, while Romans continued pagan worship, Christians celebrated the birth of Jesus. To avoid persecution, they decked their homes with Saturnalia holly. As Christians increased, holly lost its pagan association and became a symbol of Christmas. Holly was believed to protect against lightning and witchcraft, and was often planted near the house. It has been proved that the spikes of the holly leaves act like miniature lightning conductors, and so protect the tree. In winter the Druids would advise people to take holly into their homes, as they believed it would shelter the elves and fairies who could join humans at this time without causing them injury. An old country saying states that if the smooth-leaved holly is brought into the house first at yuletide the wife will rule the household for the coming year, and if the prickly holly enters first, the husband will rule. According to another legend, when the Holy Family was fleeing into the desert from Herod, they hid the baby Jesus in a holly bust. At that time, the leaves had fallen as the holly was not an evergreen. Mary prayed for protection, and the leaves grew - green to hide and protect the baby Jesus. The Druids believed that holly, with its shiny leaves and red berries stayed green to keep the earth beautiful when the sacred oak lost it leaves. They wore sprigs of holly in their hair when they went into the forest to watch their priests cut the sacred mistletoe. In Medieval Europe it was associated with good fortune. Trees planted near homes were said to offer protection from thunder and lightning. The berries and leaves were used to ward off witchcraft and the evil eye - said to be more effective for men than women. In West England it is said sprigs of holly around a young girl's bed on Christmas Eve are supposed to keep away mischievous little goblins. They also put a sprig of holly on the bedpost to bring sweet dreams. In an old Christian legend the Holly is said to have sprung up under the footsteps of Christ as he trod the earth, the spines of the leaves became symbolic of “Crown of Thorns”, the red berries representing the drops of blood associated with his suffering. In pagan folklore the Holly tree is associated with the spirit of vegetation and the waning forces of nature, to which he is personified as a mythical figure called the Holly King. The Holly King rules nature during its decline from the mid-summer solstice (Litha - Jun 21st) through to the mid-winter solstice (Yule – Dec 21st). At each of the solstice Sabbats, the Holly King and his brother the Oak King engage in ritual combat for the attentions of the Goddess, from whence the victor presides over nature through the following half of the year. In Scandinavian mythology the Holly belonged to Thor & Freya. Holly's association with Thor's lightning meant that it could protect people from being struck by bolts. Norsemen & Celts would plant a holly tree near their homes specifically to take lightning strikes & protect a house & its inhabitants. The crooked lines of the holly leaves probably gave rise to the association with lightning, as well as the fact that hollies do conduct lightning into the ground better than most trees, with the least injury to the tree. That Holly should be sacred to a God & a Goddess is natural enough when the trees themselves are of two sexes. An old Germanic tradition has it that when the household's Christmas wreath is made of a "he-holly," that indicated that for the coming year, the husband would rule the house. But if it were a she-holly ( for sake of the berries, it usually was a she-holly), that meant the wife would rule the house. As wives usually do! In Shinto mythology the Japanese holly held a similar position as that of the holly in Europe. When the Sun-goddess Amaterasu withdrew into her cavern & refused to come out, the erotic clown-goddess Uzume hung a sacred jewel & a sacred mirror in the branches of a holly, & began to dance about the black-fruited holly tree in a humorously sexy manner to attract the attention of Amaterasu & draw her out of the cavern so that Spring would begin. A New Years charm popular in Japan consists of a holly leaf & skewer. This represents the Buddhist monk-god Daikoku. Once when he was about to be attacked by an oni devil, the rat that dwelt with Daikoku as a friendly companion hurried into the garden to fetch the monk a holly branch, bringing it to him in the nick of time, since an oni devil will not go near holly. Native to tropical, subtropical and temperate regions.
Hyacinth - Games,Sport, constancy.Hyacinth (Blue) - Sincerity Named after Hyakinthos, a young boy god from Greek Mythology, who was loved by Apollo, the God of Sun and Zephyr, the god of the west wind. One day competing for his attention, whilst playing with a discus, Zephyr threw the discus in a rage and struck Hyakinthos on the head, killing him. Apollo named the flower that formed from his blood hyacinth. Other stories say that the bulbs came from a mixture of Apollo's tears and Hyacinth's blood, since the gods could not bear to allow Hyacinth to travel to the underworld after his death. One legend says the hyacinth arose from the blood of Ajax, whose defeat by Ulysses in a dispute for the arms of Achilles, threw him into a fit of madness. He slaughtered the sheep belonging to the Greek army, thinking they were his enemies. When he discovered his mistake, he killed himself and from his blood there rose a purple flower, bearing the inscription ai, his initials, also expressing a sigh. The hyacinth was brought to England from Turkey in the mid-1500's. Hyacinths are native to the region from Greece to Asia Minor.
Hydrangea - Thank-you for understanding, Heartlessness, arrogance, aloofness, vanity. The name is derived from the Greek words hydor, meaning water and angos, meaning jar or vessel. This is due to it's great need for water and cup-shaped flower.
Hypericum, St John's Wort - Greatest health. According to legend the plant is said to flower on June 24, St John's Day. Hypericum has interested herbalists for hundreds of years, from the ancient Greeks, who use to use it to heal wounds, to the Medieval times, where it was believed that wearing the herb would aid soldiers in battle. One story of how the plant got it's name goes like this. The devil was out on a recruitment drive for Hell, hanging around at the bottom of beds where it seemed obvious someone was about to pop their clogs; but time and time again a relative/friend would turn up with a medicine made from this one plant, and Bob's your uncle, patient recovers, praises the Lord, and is lost to the devil. Lucifer is not happy about this so decides to rid the world of this pesky plant, he takes a dagger and stabs and stabs and stabs again, the plant bleeds. What the devil doesn't realise at first, is the plant is bleeding the blood of St John the Baptist, so not only does the plant NOT die, but it is strengthened and it's healing powers are multiplied hundred of times. Look closely at the underside of the petals and the topmost leaves, and round the edge you will see dark dots - the places where the devil stabbed the plant! This is where the red healing oil comes from. Another legend says that if you pick the flowers on St John's Eve and stand on them at midnight, and the fairies will take you!
Iris, Flag - Faith, Wisdom, Valor, Promise, My compliments, Hope, Your friendship means the world to me. Named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow (the Greek word for Iris), who was said to have been the link between heaven and earth. It is believed that purple irises were planted over the graves of women to summon the goddess Iris to guide them into heaven. The three leaves of the iris are believed to represent faith, wisdom, and valor. Iris flowers have three petals often called the standards and three outer petal-like sepals called the falls. It has been a symbol of royalty and divine protection for centuries throughout the world. The Fleur-de-Lis, a stylized Iris motif has symbolized France since the 13th century. It was also used by the monarchs of France to decorate their royal robes, furnishings and walls. Traditionally, it has been used to represent French royalty and is said to signify perfection, light, and life. Legend has it that an angel presented Clovis, the Merovingian king of the Franks, with a golden lily as a symbol of his purification upon his conversion to Christianity. Others claim that Clovis adopted the symbol when Water Lilies showed him how to safely cross a river and succeed in battle. In the 12th century, King Louis VI became the first French monarch to use the fleur-de-lis on his shield. The iris found its way onto England's coat of arms, British Royal Arms, after King Edward III laid claim to the French crown. English kings later used the symbol on their coats of arms to emphasize their claims to the throne of France. In the 14th century, the fleur-de-lis was often incorporated into the family insignia that was sewn on the knight's surcoat, which was worn over their coat of mail, thus the term, coat of arms. Joan of Arc carried a white banner that showed God blessing the French royal emblem, the fleur-de-lis, when she led French troops to victory over the English in support of the Dauphin, Charles VII, in his quest for the French throne. The Roman Catholic Church ascribed the lily as the special emblem of the Virgin Mary. Due to its three petals, the fleur-de-lis has also been used to represent the Holy Trinity. Military units, including divisions of the United States Army, have used the symbol's resemblance to a spearhead to identify martial power and strength. Irises are also known as flags or sword flags, relating them to symbols of heraldry and royalty. In Japan it expresses heroism and the blue colour refers to blue blood, so irises play a key role in the Japanese spring festival for boys. Originating in the Mediterranean region and southern Europe, the Iris was considered a symbol of power by the ancient Egyptians. They placed the iris on the brow of the Sphinx and on the scepters of their kings as a symbol of power. As a sacred flower, the Iris was credited with healing powers and was used in ancient medicine. Originating from the Northern hemisphere.
Ivy, Hedera - Wedded love, Fidelity, Friendship, Affection. Ivy is the vine of the Greek god Dionysus, who was known to wear a crown of ivy leaves. It is said that at a celebration honoring Dionysus, a young maiden, Cissos, who overdid the dancing and celebrating, died of exhaustion, so Dionysus turned her into an ivy plant. It is also the plant of the Roman god, Saturn, and was used as decoration in Saturnalia festivals. Ivy was in high esteem among the ancients and its leaves formed the poet's crown. The ivy was dedicated to the Roman god Bacchus, the God of Intoxication who is often depicted wearing a wreath of ivy and grapevines. He is also depicted holding a chalice and carrying a thyrsus (a wand) which was also entwined with ivy and vine leaves. Ivy leaves were thought to prevent intoxication and the binding of the brow with ivy was seen as a counterbalance to the vine. Old writers tell us that the effects of intoxication by wine are removed if a handful of ivy leaves are bruised and gently boiled in wine and drunk. In former days old English taverns bore a sign of an ivy bush over their doors, this to indicate the excellence of the liquor supplied within, hence the old saying “A good wine needs no bush”. In ancient Egyptian folklore it was said that to become a priestess of the goddess Nepthys, the woman must be born after the autumnal equinox (or the month of the Ivy – October) when the power of Nepthys was growing in power. To place an ivy leaf under your pillow will cause you to dream of your lover, however if you dream of an ivy plant it may foretell of a breakup soon to come. Known to embody the attributes of fertility, love and fidelity, Ivy was frequently used in spells for love magic (though it should definately NOT be ingested). In the ogam, (the Celtic alphabet that is the magical equivalent of the runes), the Ivy is known as Gort, and represents ruthlessness and achievement. A tenacious plant by nature (it is actually a parasite), the Ivy symbolizes adaptability and a powerful survival instinct. When you look at the Ivy plant you can even see in its leaves the face of a wolf (also known for its adaptability and powerful survival instincts). Throughout the ages ivy has been regarded as the emblem of fidelity, and of old, Greek priests would present a wreath of ivy to newly married persons. Today the ivy is still commonly associated with weddings, and is carried or worn by bridesmaids. The custom of decorating houses and churches with ivy at Christmas was once forbidden by the Christian Church, on account of its pagan associations. The ivy is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa.
Jasmine, Jasminium, Jessamine – Amiability. It is said that a few drops of jasmine oil, combined with almond oil and massaged on the body, will overcome frigidity. Dreaming of this flower is supposed to bring good fortune, especially in matters of the heart. For the ancient Chinese, this flower was the symbol of womanly sweetness. Jasmine is very soothing and was traditionally used as an aphrodisiac. In folklore, Jasmine is said to be capable of leading us into brighter worlds of fantasy and sensuality. In Indian culture, a poignant and beautiful legend attempts to explain why jasmine blooms are fragrant at night. In the myth, a princess falls hopelessly in love with the sun god Surya-Deva. Unmoved by her beauty, Surya-Deva spurns her affection. Distraught and devastated, the princess takes her own life. In every place that her ashes were scattered, beautiful jasmine flowers grew—but because it was the sun god who had broken the princess’s heart, the flowers refused to open during the day, and would only bloom and release their scent during the night. Originating mainly from Europe, Asia and Africa.
Kalanchoe, Flaming Katie - Endurance, Lasting affection. Native to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Central and South Africa, Asia, Australia and tropical America.
Lavender, Lavadula - Acknowledgment, Suspicion, Distrust, Failure, Refusal, I like you only as a friend. Comes from the Latin word lavare, meaning to wash. Lavender was first introduced to England around 1568. English farmers wore spikes of lavender flowers under their hats to prevent sunstroke and headaches. The dried flowers were sewn into pillows to prevent insomnia. During the middle Ages, lavender gained a reputation as an aphrodisiac that attracted a lover. Sprinkling lavender water onto your lover’s head was said to keep your lover faithful. This belief fuelled a great demand for lavender. A lot of lavender folklore is about love. It was said to attract men but was also used for chastity. On St Luke's day young maidens would sip on a lavender tea and say "St Luke, St Luke, be kind to me, In my dreams, let me my true love see.". Alpine girls would tuck some lavender under their lover's pillow so their thoughts would turn to romance. Once married they would put some lavender under the mattress to ensure marital passion. Young ladies would wear little lavender bags in their cleavage to lure suitors. Lavender was used for tremblings of the heart. Lavender is useful for emotional pain. If someone lost a loved one they used lavender to heal the heart. It is said that Cleopatra seduced Julius Caesar and Mark Antony while wearing perfumes with lavender in it. Lavender was also associated with protection. Small children would wear lavender on their shirts to avert the evil eye. Traditionally, a cross of lavender was hung on the door to safeguard against evil. Lavender was also one of the ingredients of the Middle Age’s ‘Vinegar of Four Thieves’, which was used by grave robbers to ward off the plague. Victorian women added crushed lavender to the bath, and soaked in front of the fire before a love tryst. Scenting Brides' beds and clothes with lavender was a custom. It is said that the flower can soothe the fears of wedding night. The flower is also one Witches throw into the fire on Midsummer night as an offering to the Gods. Lavender is also used to work magic against unresolved guilt. Lavender was also a favourite for scenting bed linen in 17th century England. It is believed that baby Jesus' clothes were put out to dry on a lavender bush, which gave it it's beautiful smell. Lavender is the oil that was used by Mary Magdalene to was Jesus' feet. Native to the Mediterranean, North East Africa, South West Asia and India.
Leptospermum, Tea Tree - The name is derived from the Greek words, leptos, meaning
slender and sperma, meaning seeds. It is said that Captain Cook brewed tea of Leptospermum leaves to prevent scurvy amongst his crew. The mystique of Tea Tree oil can be traced back to folklore of the Bunjalung Aboriginal tribe. Elder tribesmen told travelers of miraculous lagoons with healing waters that were thought to be a gift from their god. Scientific study revealed that the leaves of the Melaleuca Alternifolia (commonly known as Tea Tree) had fallen into the water to create a naturally antiseptic bath. Native to Australia, New Zealand and South East asia.
Liatris, Gayfeather, Blazing Star - Entusiasm. References are common in Folklore books about the medicinal properties of Liatris. The roots of Liatris spicata mixed with water were used by the eastern Cherokees for back-ache, pain in the limbs, dropsy, diuretic, cough, and as a stimulant. John Barton refers to this same species as being used as a treatment for venereal disease. Chippewa tribes in the western plains used Liatris scariosa as a diuretic and for sore throat. This tribe also used the root of this species mixed with water to give to horses before a race. Native to North America.
Lilac, Syringa - Purple - First emotion of love. Lilac White - Youthful innocence, Purity, Modesty, Virginity, majesty. Syringa got it’s name from a Greek word “syrinx” which means “pipe” because from lilacs wood herders made pipes. But in Russia it is called also as “sinel” from the word “blue” because the active color define one of the tints of plants. In Greek mythology there was a beautiful wood nymph called Syringa, who captivated Pan, the god of the forests, with her beauty. Pan chased Syringa through the forest, frightening her. She managed to escape him by turning herself into an aromatic Lilac bush. The other legend says that the lilac’s flowers came to us when the Spring drove away snow from fields and raised the sun higher. The sun with the rainbow went above the Earth. Than the Spring gathered some sun beams merged them with some rainbow beams and started to throw them on the Earth. When the Spring reached the north she had only white and violet colors. There were Scandinavian lands below the Spring. Then the Spring threw lilac colors to the small bushes which covered with small flowers. Then she had only white color and the Spring scattered it on the Earth. In the places where she threw white colors grew up a lot of white lilac bushes. Originating from South East Europe to East Asia.
Lily, Lillium - Lilies have many meanings depending on type and colour - see below.The name is a translation of the Greek word leiron to Lily and is believed to refer to the Madonna Lily. In Greek Mythology, the Lily is believed to have sprouted from the milk of Hera, the Queen of the gods. Roman mythology associates the lily with Juno. While nursing her son Hercules, excess milk fell from the sky. Part of it stayed in the heavens, creating the Milky Way, and part of it fell to earth, creating the lily. In Rome, lilies were known as Rosa junonis, or Juno's rose. The lily, according to one tradition, sprang from Eve's tears when she learned that she was pregnant. It is believed that if you dream of lilies during their season (summer), you can expect marriage and prosperity yourself. But, dream of them at any other time, and you are promised only frustrated hopes and death! Some stories held that unfortunates wrongfully executed often had white lilies spring up on their graves to proclaim their innocence. Originating from Europe, Asia and North America.
Lily Eucharis, Pineapple Lily - Maiden charms
Lily (Tiger) - Wealth, Pride, Prosperity
Lily (Day) - Conquetry
Lily (Pink) - Youth, Acceptance, Wealth, Prosperity.
Lily (White) - Youthful love, Purity, chastity, Virtue.
Lily (Yellow) - Walking on Air
Lily of the Valley, Convallaria, - Sweetness, Humility, Return of happiness, Devotion. Lily of the valley supposedly sprang from the blood shed in the fierce struggle between St. Leonard and the dragon Malitia. Due to the flower's pristine color and its association with the Virgin Mary's tears, it often symbolizes purity, and is considered the 5th thing that a bride should carry. Folklore holds that the distillation, dabbed on the forehead and nape of the neck, also restores common sense! Convallamarin, which is derived from lily of the valley, does slow and strengthen the heart in a manner similar to digitalis (foxglove). Although it is not considered as poisonous as digitalis, Convallamarin can still be toxic-especially to children. It is sometimes called Fairy Cups, because the flowers look like cups the fairies have hung up while dancing. The flowers are said to ring when fairies sing and to form ladders fairies use to reach reeds from which they weave their cradles. According to folklore, this plant blooms on the grave of someone who was executed for a crime they did not commit. It is thought that planting them in the garden will protect the home from ghosts and evil spirits. Although some people consider it bad luck to bring the flowers into the house, in France, people still trade gifts of this plant on May Day in order to have good luck through the year. The scent of this flower is said to attract nightingales and to give people the power to see a better world. In mythology this plant is connected with Maia, the oldest of the Seven Sisters and the goddess of growth, increase, fields, and spring. Native to Northern temperate regions.
Lisianthus, Eustoma, Texas Bluebell, Prairie Gentian - Appreciation, Thoughts, Calming, Outgoing nature. The name comes from the Greek words lysis, meaning dissolution and anthos, meaning flower. The flowers existing today are derived from an American wildflower that is native to prairies ranging from Colorado to Nebraska and down to Texas.
Magnolia - Love of nature, Nobility, Dignity. Magnolias are the oldest flowering plants of the world and lived during the time of the dinosaurs. Magnolia fossils have been found throughout Europe, North America, and Asia, in rocks over 100 million years old. Magnolia flowers are pollinated by beetles of the Nitidulidae family because magnolias evolved before bees and other flying pollinators. The flowers do not have true petals and sepals and do not produce nectar, but attract beetles with fragrant, sugary secretions. Native to the Himalayas, Asia, North and South America,
Marigold, Calendula - Grief, Cruelty, Jealousy, Sacred affection, Despair. The name Calendula derives from the Latin word Calendae ‘the first day of the month’ and is often translated as ‘little calendar’ or ‘little clock’. Marigold is associated with the lion, an animal legendary for its courage and brave heart. It is an herb of the Sun. Marigold was called Mary's Gold by early Christians who placed the flowers around statues of Mary, offering the blossoms in place of coins. It was told that Mary used the blossoms as coins. A legend says that during the Flight into Egypt the Holy Family was accosted by a band of thieves. They took Mary's purse and when they opened it, marigolds fell out. It represents the golden rays of glory that are often shown round the Mary's Head and is used in all the chief festivals of the Virgin Mary.
The marigold’s long association with the sun inspired Shakespeare in A Winter’s Tale. Linnaeus noted that the flowers open from nine in the morning until three in the afternoon. In the West country of England these flowers are known as ‘The Drunkards’ due their reputation for turning people into alcoholics when the flowers are picked or even looked at for any length of time. The Welsh traditionally believed the flower could be used as a weather omen. If the flowers were not open early in the morning a storm was on the way. In Devon and Wiltshire they believed that to pick marigolds meant thunder followed soon. Used as a love charm, in wedding garlands and posies, it was also believed that rubbing the flower head on a wasp or bee sting would alleviate any pain. In India the flowers are offered to the Hindu gods, Vishnu and Lakshmi, especially in the month of December. Originating from South Europe to North Africa.
Mexican Orange Blossom, Choisya - Purity, Innocence, Eternal love, Marriage, Fruitfulness, Loveliness. Native to USA and Mexico.
Mimosa - Concealed love, Sensitivity. The flowering of millions of "yellow suns" is celebrated each February by the people of Mandelieu-La Napoule, where growth of the sweet-smelling mimosa is one of the largest industries. Native to tropical regions worldwide.
Myrtle, Myrtus - Duty, Affection, Home, Love, Discipline, Instruction. Sacred to the Goddess Astarte also known as Aphrodite, myrtle has long been associated with love and romance. In Victorian times it was a favourite item in bridal wreaths and in tussie mussies. In the language of flowers myrtle represented love and marriage and love in absence. However a chaplet of myrtle was also worn by brides at their wedding ceremonies to help them avoid being 'with child' too quickly. In folklore it is said that if myrtle is grown either side of the front door then peace will always be within the home. Grown in window boxes, especially if planted by women, myrtle is said to bring luck and money to the household. In Mythology Myrtle was the symbol of one of the Three Graces, and along with the dove, sparrow, and swan, represented Aphrodite. Myrtle has often been associated with marriage, probably because it was originally connected with sex; it was a Victorian symbol of fidelity in marriage and is still thought to bring good luck at weddings. In English folklore, a marriage will follow shortly after a myrtle blooms. The myrtle is also protective; the nymph Daphne turned herself into a myrtle to escape being raped by Apollo. In Jewish mythology, Myrtle was a woman who turned into a myrtle tree after being murdered by townspeople for being a witch; this fits with a Greek story that the myrtle was once human and was speared to death by barbarous villagers, this is why its leaves have tiny holes in them. Myrtle is considered a good ritual remedy for when one is threatened. In the past, Jews believed that eating myrtle leaves allowed a person to detect witches, and they also thought that if leaves crackled when they were crushed in the hand, the person's lover would be faithful. It was said in the Middle Ages that the Moors (Muslim Arabs who conquered Spain) used myrtle as a strewing herb on Midsummer, and the Catholic church used it as a strewing herb at Easter. The smoke of its wood or leaves gives a bay/rosemary flavor to grilled food, as is done in Italy and Sardinia, but don't eat the leaves themselves. Use them to flavor vinegar or marinade. The berries can be used like juniper berries, and in some cultures were a substitute for black pepper; ancient Greeks nibbled them as breath freshener, and it was said that they made a wine that did not intoxicate. Native to southern Europe and north Africa.
Nasturtium, Tropaelum - Patriotism, Conquest, Victory in battle. Folklore had it that a lotion make from the leaves of Nasturtium flowers and seeds, when mixed with nettle leaves and three oak leaves, would prevent baldness. There is an old legend that says by planting three red nasturtiums, you will protect your garden and keep unwanted visitors from your land. Some believe that putting a nasturtium in your lapel will energize you when you are feeling sluggish. In Feng Shui, nasturtiums can be planted to help harmonize the energies between the buildings and the land. It helps bring back a balance that is similar to what the land would have had before it was altered. Nasturtiums are long-lasting and popular in the kitchen. Used in salads, vinegars etc., the flowers and the leaves have a sweet, peppery taste. It is for its tangy taste that nasturtium gets its common name. During World War II, dried ground nasturtium seeds were used as a substitute for black peeper, which was unattainable. Sun and heat tend to make the pepper taste in the nasturtiums spicier. Flowers planted in the shade or semi-shade have a milder tang. The Indians of Peru used the leaves as a tea to treat coughs, colds and the flu, as well as menstrual and respiratory problems. Being high in vitamin C, nasturtiums act as a natural antibiotic, and as such were used topically as a poultice for minor cuts and scratches. Nasturtiums are also used in Ayurvedic medicine. The leaves are rubbed on the gums to stimulate and cleanse them. Early English herbalists referred to nasturtiums as Indian Cress. Nasturtiums are native to Central and South America.
Orchid, Orchis - Love, Beauty, Pure affection, Refinement, Beautiful lady, Flower of magnificence. The name is derived from the Greek word orchis, meaning testicle and in ancient Greece Orchids were associated with virility. Greek women believed that if the father of their unborn child ate large, new orchid tubers, the baby would be a boy. If the mother ate small Orchid tubers, she would give birth to a girl. In Greek mythology, Orchis was the son of a nymph and a satyr. During a celebratory feast for Bacchus, Orchis committed the sacrilege of attempting to rape a priestess, resulting in his being torn apart by wild beasts, then metamorphosing into a slender and modest plant. Folklore would have us believe that orchids spontaneously grow wherever animals have mated. And the Victorians felt that women shouldn't own orchids because of their sometimes vividly displayed reproductive organs. Orchid flower seeds are used to produce vanilla flavouring. There are more than 60,000 known species and humans have cross-bred 100,000 or more. Orchids. Native to Europe and Asia.
Paeonia, Peony - Bashfulness, Happy marriage, Prosperity. In China the word for Peonies is sho yu, meaning most beautiful. Greek mythology has 2 versions. The first has it that the Peony is named after Paeon, a physician to the gods, who received the flower from the mother of Apollo on Mount Olympus. The other says that the same physician was saved from death by being turned into the Peony flower. Two stories involving the peony in Japanese legend are The Spirit of the Peony and The Peony Lantern. In the first, Princess Aya is to be wed to the second son of Lord Ako. One night while walking near her favourite peony bed, she almost fell into the pond but for a handsome samurai clad in a peony robe who saved her. She fell in love with him, though he had disappeared after saving her. Later he visited her again in her sickness at the sound of music played. When it was learned that he was really the spirit of the flower, the princess kept the flower close to her. But when she was well and made to marry, at the hour of her wedding the peony died. In the tale of The Peony Lantern, Tsuyu is visited by a physician and a young samurai whom she falls in love with. She tells him that if he does not visit her again soon she shall die. The physican purposefully sees to it that the lovers are kept apart and the young woman pines for her love unto death. Faithful to her mistress, her servant dies soon after. The young man is grief-stricken and cannot forget Tsuyu. When the time of the Festival of the Dead arrives, lanterns are hung to guide the spirits. Tsuyu and her servant come with a peony lantern in hand. The story ends tragically with the young man found dead with the bones of Tsuyu wrapped about his neck. The peony has been called the "Queen of Flowers." A white peony is a symbol for a young girl of beauty and wit in China. The peony itself can mean maidenhood, or simply a very attractive young woman. Chinese poetry has frequently used the flower as a metaphor for a blushing young girl. The French have an expression that goes 'as red as a peony'. Native to Europe, Asia and North America.
Phlox - Our souls are united. The word Phlox means flame in Latin. Found mostly in North America.
Pine, Pinus - Hope, Pity. Egyptians buried an image of the god Osiris in the hollowed-out centre of a pine tree. He writes that "it is hard to imagine how the conception of a tree as tenanted by a personal being could be more plainly expressed." As a symbol of royalty the pine was associated with the Greek goddess Pitthea, and also with the Dionysus/Bacchus mythology surrounding the vine and wine making, probably as a fertility symbol. Worshippers of Dionysus often carried a pine-cone-tipped wand as a fertility symbol and the image of the pine cone has also been found on ancient amulets as a symbol of fertility. In Greek mythology, Pan, the Greek God who watches over shepherds and their flocks., loved a nymph named Pitys. Pitys, (meaning pine) was a nymph who was pursued by Pan. She was changed into a pine tree by the gods in order to escape him. For the Romans the pine was an object of worship during the spring equinox festival of Cybele and Attis. As an evergreen tree the pine would also have symbolised immortality. Druids used to light large bonfires of Scots pine at the winter solstice to celebrate the passing of the seasons and to draw back the sun. Glades of Scots pines were also decorated with lights and shiny objects, the tree covered in stars being a representation of the Divine Light. It is easy to see how these rituals have given rise to the latter day Yule log and Christmas tree customs. Native to the Northern hemisphere.
Poinsettia, Christmas Star, Winter Rose, Mexican Flame Leaf, Euphorbia pulcherrima - Good cheer, success, wishing you mirth and celebration. Named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States ambassador to Mexico and an amateur botanist who introduced the plant to the U.S. Mexican legend has it that a child, with no means for a gift gathered humble weeds from the roadside to place at the church alter on Christmas Eve and the weeds turned into brilliant red and green flowers. Native to Mexico.
Poppy, Papaver, - Eternal sleep, Imagination, Oblivion, Pleasure, Wealth. Papaver is the Greek noun for the poppy, and its species name, Somniferum is from the Latin word meaning sleep inducing. The red corn poppy has become a symbol of Remembrance Day because the battlefields of France bloomed with them after the fighting churned up the ground and the flowers also proliferated over the graves of the fallen. With its blood-red colour and short life – the blooms last only a day – the poppy is certainly a suitable flower to symbolise the loss of young life. However, poppies had been associated with death and battles long before World War One. In the battle of Waterloo it was said that poppies on the battlefield had grown from the blood shed by soldiers. The flowers were considered suitable offerings for the dead as far back as ancient Greece and Rome. In Greek mythology, the poppy was associated with Demeter, goddess of fertility and agriculture. The twin gods Hypnos and Thanatos, the Greek deities of sleep and death, are often depicted crowned with poppies. In folklore, poppies symbolise sleep as well as death, and peering into the black centre of a red poppy is a folk remedy for insomnia. The opium extracted from poppies has, for thousands of years, been used to induce sleep and numb pain. They were also used by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and many other cultures all over the world. The history of the opium poppy is replete with legends, folklore and spiritual connections. Ancient Greeks thought that poppies were a sign of fertility and, because the seeds were thought to bring health and strength, Greek athletes were given mixtures of poppy seeds, honey, and wine. Representations of the twin brothers Hypnos and Thanatos (Sleep and Death) showed them crowned with poppies or carrying poppies in their hands, demonstrating the Greek awareness that sleep induced by opium could lead to death. The Greeks also connected it to Hymnus, the god of rest and oblivion. Originating mainly from Europe and Asia.
Primrose, Primula - I cannot live without you. Cowslips (Primula veris) are a wild flower and there are many folklores about them. According to legend, St Peter dropped the keys to Heaven and where they landed Cowslips grew (the flowers were thought to resemble a set of keys). Cowslips are believed to be the favourite flower of nightingales, who were said to only frequent places where Cowslips grew. Frightened fairies hide in the flowers. Sprinkle your threshold with Cowslip flowers when you want to be left alone. Carry Cowslip flowers for good luck. If a woman washes her face in milk which has been infused with Cowslips, then her beloved will be drawn closer to her. The plant has the ability to split rocks containing treasure and can help you find hidden fairy gold. The smell of Cowslips was believed to calm nerves and alleviate amnesia. Cowslips planted upside down on Good Friday turn into Primroses! If fed on bull's blood they turn red. In Norse mythology the plant was dedicated to Odin's wife, Frega, the goddess who held the keys to happiness and sexual love. Primroses ( Primula vulgaris) are also wild flowers and are pollinated at night by moths attracted by the bright petal colours. Hundreds of years ago, these plants were grown for their medicinal and sweetening qualities, for example, it was believed that stem juice rubbed onto the face removed spots and freckles! Legend says that Primroses sprang from the body of Paralisos (the Primrose's ancient name) after he died of a broken heart. It was also alleged that if children ate the flowers they would see the fairy folk! It was lucky to bring 13 Primroses indoors but unlucky to bring in only one. Indeed, to bring indoors less than a handful would surely endanger one's ducklings!! Victorians used to plant Primroses on the graves of children, and herbalists used to use the root to make an expectorant. If you keep chickens and see a single primrose, dance round it three times in order to avert ill omens - otherwise a single Primrose will lead to bad egg laying. A Primrose blooming in winter is an evil omen. Romans used the plant to treat malaria. There is a lot of Primrose folklore attached to the ability of Primroses to let people see fairies. If you touched a fairy rock with the right number of Primroses in a posy you will be shown the way to fairyland. The wrong number would lead to certain doom. A German legend tells of a little girl who found a doorway covered in flowers and touched it with a Primrose - it opened up into an enchanted castle. Germans also believed that Primroses could reveal the way to hidden treasure and called the plant Key Flower - schusselblume. Children used to eat the flowers in the belief that this would enable them to see fairies. Posies would be left on doorsteps so that fairies would bless the house and the people in it. As well, scatter Primroses outside doors to keep fairies away as they won't cross this barrier. Don't let Primroses die as they are popular with fairies. Carry a Primrose flower and peer over the petals in order to see fairies. Leave a Primrose on the doorstep on May Day eve to prevent witches entering. In Ireland on May Day, Primrose balls were hung on cows' tails to deter witches. In Hampshire, woodmen boiled Primroses in lard to make an ointment to treat injuries. Bunches of Primroses would be left in cowsheds so that fairies would not steal the milk. Primroses can be made into a tincture for restlessness and insomnia. For animals, Primroses can treat fits, paralysis, rheumatism and worms. Native to the Northern hemisphere.
Protea - Diversity, Courage, Don’t despair. The name comes from the Greek god Proteus who was able to change into different shapes and who was the son of Poseidon. Proteus was a sea god who had the powers to know all things past, present and future and he preferred to sleep on the island of Pharos, rather than as expected, to prophesize. To deter those seeking his insights he would change his shape. The Protea also has many different shapes and sizes, there are more than 1400 varieties. Native to Africa and South Africa.
Queen Anne's Lace, wild carrot, Bishop's Lace, Bird's Nest, Cow Parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris - Haven, Sanctuary, Self-reliance. Legend has it that Queen Anne, the wife of King James I, was challenged by her friends to create lace as beautiful as a flower. Whilst attempting this, she pricked her finger and it's said that the purple-red in the centre of the Queen Anne's Lace represents a droplet of her blood. Native to the Northern hemisphere.
Ranunculus, Coyote's Eyes, Buttercup, Crowfoot - Radiant, Charming, I am dazzled by your charms. The name is derived from the Latin word ranunculus, meaning little frog, this probably due to them being found near water. Legend has it that mythological Coyote was tossing his eyes up in the air and catching them when Eagle snatched them. Unable to see, Coyote created eyes from the buttercup. Another legend says Ranunculus was a young boy who lived many, many years ago, and he always dressed from head to toe in gold and green silk. He spent his days, from dawn to dusk, running round the trees of the forest singing in a beautiful, clear, high-pitched voice. This was lovely to hear for a short time, however he never stopped running and singing. The wood nymphs, realising this was disturing the peace of the forest and all the creatures in it, turned him into a buttercup and sent him out into the open meadow to live; thereby restoring peace and harmony to the forest. The common name 'buttercup' was derived from the yellow color of the flower. It was also believed that the richness of butter's yellow color was the result of the number of buttercups in the pasture; however, this was only a myth since tall buttercup is so bitter that cattle avoid eating it. The common name 'crowfoot' refers to the resemblance of the leaf to the foot of a large bird. According to superstition, holding a tall buttercup flower against one's neck on the night of a full moon, or simply smelling the flower, causes insanity, hence the folk name 'crazyweed'. It is also customary to hold the flower under one's chin; if the skin shines yellow then the person loves butter. Flowers tend to track the daily movement of the sun in the sky. Beggars used to blister their skin purposefully with buttercup juice to arouse the sympathy of passersby. Fishermen of the 1800's poured buttercup tea on the ground to bring worms to the surface. Found in temperate regions worldwide.
Rose - Each colour has it's own meaning, but generally they are know for meaning confidentiality, love and passion. Roses were associated with Aphrodite and Venus, both Greek goddesses of love. The Latin expression sub rosa, translated to under the rose, means something told in secret. In ancient Rome a wild rose was placed on the door to a room where confidential matters were being discussed. One legend of the origin tells the story of Rhodanthe, a woman of exquisite beauty who possessed many suitors. When she sought refuge in a temple, Diana became incensed by her suitors and turned Rhodanthe into a beautiful rose and the suitors into thorns. From this legend the rose has become the symbol for love and beauty. Greek mythology has it that Chloris, the Greek goddess of flowers, crowned the rose the queen of all flowers. Chloris, Greek Goddess of Flowers, found a sad and weak nymph one day, and wishing to restore her to health asked The Graces to help. They granted the nymph the gifts of joy, brightness, and charm. Chloris wanted to do more for the dying nymph so appealed to the other gods and she was given nectar, beauty by Aphrodites, and Zephyr, the west wind, blew away the clouds so the sun could shine upon her. Chloris called this beautiful bloom Rose. It was believed that all roses were white in the beginning, and one of the many stories of how roses became coloured again comes from Greek mythology. It's told that the god Jupiter saw Venus bathing, she was so embarrassed that she blushed, and all the white roses surrounding her bath turned red in sympathy. A fairy can make herself invisible by eating a rosehip and turning anti-clockwise three times. To become visible again she must eat another rosehip and turn clockwise three times. An ancient story tells us that the roses in the Garden of Eden had no thorns, but after Adam & Eve were expelled, thorns appeared. Another Christian legend says that when the blood of the crucified Jesus dripped onto the moss at the foot of the cross, moss roses were created. In one of the most famous love stories in all of literature, Eros eventually weds Psyche. After the ceremony, Zeus' daughters, the hours (seasons) and the graces (charities), make everything "glow with roses" and scatter the blossoms about the land. The creation of the rose, according to the Romans, is attributed to Flora, the goddess of spring and flowers and the subject of many rose myths. After one of her nymphs dies, Flora calls upon the gods to change her into a beautiful flower. Apollo gives her life; Bacchus gives her nectar; Vertumnus, a beautiful perfume; Pomona, a fruit; and Flora, a "crown" of petals. The myth continues when Cupid, son of Venus and the Roman counterpart to Eros, shoots arrows at bees which have stung him. Thorns (more correctly called "prickles") grow from the rose stems where his arrows missed their mark.
See the Rose Picture portfolio for the Rose colour meanings
Snowdrop, Galanthus – Consolation. The name is derived from Latin, Calanthus, meaning milk flower. Three thousand years ago, in Homer's epic poem Odyssey, the god Mercury (Hermes) gave Ulysses an herb called Moly. Moly herb (Galanthus nivalis) made Ulysses immune to the forgetfulness poisons of the witch Circe and counteracted the amnesia that Circe had inflicted on his crew. In folklore, the legend surrounding snowdrops says that when Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden, they arrived in a cold, barren land. An angel promised that spring would arrive, sealing his pledge by blowing onto some snowflakes which were transformed into snowdrops when they hit the ground. And so snowdrops are seen as a symbol of hope. According to German legend, when God made all things he asked the snow to go to the flowers and get a little colour from them. All the flowers refused until he finally asked a Snowdrop to give a little of its colour. The Snowdrop agreed and as a regard the snow lets it bloom before all other flowers in spring. In English folklore, Snowdrops are thought unlucky if brought into the house, representing death or parting from a loved one. A single Snowdrop blooming in the garden warns of impending disaster. Wearing a Snowdrop is said to bless you with pure thoughts. Bringing a Snowdrop indoors will lead to a death in the house. This led to the plant also being known as Death’s Flower. Monks brought Snowdrop bulbs to England from Rome and planted them around their monasteries. Traditionally on Candlemas (2 February) the image of the Virgin Mary was taken down and a handful of Snowdrop blooms scattered in its place. Snowdrops were known to botanists of old as Bulbous Violets. Gerard’s “Herbal” refers to early-flowering Violets also being known as Snowdrops. Found from Europe to Western Asia.
Solidago, Solidaster , Aaron’s Rod, Golden Rod - Success. The name Solidago was taken from the Latin 'solidus' meaning 'whole' and likely referring to the supposed healing properties of this genus. In folklore the plants were thought to point to equally golden buried treasures and mark hidden springs. Native to North America, South America and Eurasia.
Spider Flower, Cleome - Elope with me.
Statice, Sea Lavender , Limonium - Sympathy, Rememberance. It's name is from the Greek word limonium meaning meadow, which was it's original habitat. Known as sea-lavender because it grows wild in salt-marshes. The Greek word Statice means, using to stand, as the spikes stand fresh-looking for months.
Stephanotis - Happiness in marriage, Desire to travel, Come to me, Luck, Prosperity, Wedding. The names comes from tghe Greek words, stephanos, meaning crown and otos, meaning ear. A crown of ears. Native to Africa, Madagascar and Asia.
Stock, Gillyflower, Virginia Stock, Matthiola - Happy life, Contented Existence, Lasting beauty, Bonds of affection, Promptness, You will always be beautiful to me. Stock came from the Mediterranean to England in the late Middle Ages where it became a favourite flower. It was also highly prized for its medicinal uses. The botanical name is after Pierandrea Mattioli, a noted Italian botanist and physician. He used stock only for "matters of love and lust.". From Western Europe, South Africa and Asia.
Strelizia, Bird of Paradise, Crane flower - Joyfulness, Paradise. Named after King George III's wife, Charlotte of Macklenberg-Streliz, who became Queen of England in 1761. Native to South Africa.
Sunflower, Helianthus - Adoration, Pride, Sunshine, Warmth, Longevity. It is believed that the natives of the Inca Empire worshipped a giant sunflower. Incan priestesses also wore large sunflower discs made of gold on their garments. The flower also represents the "male principle". The Incas believed its magic came from its geometric perfection. The way in which this flower follows the sun throughout the day dedicates this flower to Apollo and sun gods of any culture. Images of sunflowers were found in the temples in the Andes mountains. Native Indians placed bowls of sunflower seeds on the graves of their dead. sunflowers were believed to make wishes come true: pick a flower at sunset, make a wish and, by the time the sun has come round again, your wish should have been granted. It was also believed in some countries that the flower was a means of divination and that placing a sunflower under the bed would reveal the truth of any particular matter to the sleeper. According to Greek mythology, Clytie was a nymph who loved Helius (the god of the Sun), but he scorned her in favour of another girl called Leucothoe. In a fit of jealousy Clytie told the affair to Leucothoe's father, King Orchamus of Persia, who then buried his daughter alive as a punishment. Helius hated Clytie even more, and poor Clytie wasted away and became the sunflower, whose head turns to follow the course of the sun across the sky each day.Native to North and Central America, Peru and Chile.
Sweet Pea, Lathyrus odoratus- Delicate pleasures, Goodbye, Blissful pleasure, Departure, Thank you for a lovely time. Their botanical name is Greek for "pea" and their sweet scent tells the rest of the story. First introduced into England by a Sicilian monk, Franciscus Cupani in the 17th century, but the seeds he sent produced flowers that bore little resemblance to the ones we see today. Folklore suggests to plant sweet peas before sunrise on St. Patrick's Day. Found in Northern temperate regions, North and East Africa and temperate South America.
Sweet William, Dianthus barbatus - Grant me one smile, Gallantry.
Tulip - Romance, Perfect lover, Fame, Elegance, Grace. The name originates from the Turkish word for gauze, Tuliband, with which turbans were wrapped. It is said that tulip's velvety black centre represents a lover's heart, darkened by the heat of passion A Turkish legend has it that a prince named Farhad was love struck for a maiden called Shirin. When Farhad learned of Shirin's death, he was so overcome by grief that he killed himself, riding his horse over the edge of a cliff. The scarlet tulip was said to have sprang up from each droplet of his blood. The saddest part was that the message was sent by a jealous rival, and Sharin was actually still alive. It is an ancient belief in Iran, dating back to mythology, that if a young soldier dies patriotically, a red tulip will grow on his grave. The Tulip originally came from Turkey.
Tulip Red - Declaration of love, Believe me, Passion.
Tulip Yellow - Hopeless love, Sunshine in your smile, Cheerful thoughts..
Tulip White - Forgiveness
Verbena, Glandularia - Will you get your wish? Ancient Greek mythology states that if you want to have sweet dreams, put the dried leaves of lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) in your pillow just before you go to sleep. Native to North, Central and South America and Europe.
Veronica, Speedwell – Fidelity. Since speedwell supposedly drew lightning, people avoided bringing it indoors. Found mainly in Europe.
Violet, Viola, Pansy - Modesty, Faithfulness, Virtue, Thoughtful reflection, Merriment. Named after Baron Walter Von Saint Paul Illaire who discovered the plant in Tanzania in 1892. The Greek word for violet is io. Io is a character in Greek mythology and the daughter of King Argos. Zeus loved her. However, Zeus was concerned that Hera would discover their ilicit affair, so he turned Io into a heifer and then created the sweet-scented flowers that we now know as violets for her to eat while in her heifer form. The scent of violets was the favourite perfume of Josephine Bonaparte. When Napoleon returned from banishment in Elba, Josephine was dead. He picked a bouquet of violets for her grave before then being exiled to Elba. When Napoleon died, violets and a lock of Josephine’s hair were found in a locket. In Mythology, the Pansy was once pure white, becoming a rich purple when pierced by Cupid's arrow. The Ancient Greeks considered the Violet a symbol of fertility and love, they used it in love potions. Pliny recommended that a garland of them be worn about the head to ward off headaches and dizzy spells. Native to temperate regions worldwide.
Wallflower, Erysimum - Fidelity in adversity. Erysimum cheiri is commonly called English Wallflower because long naturalized in England & associated with ruins of old castles where it can literally grow on walls, or on limestone cliffs. Yet it is not in fact native to England; it originated in the eastern Mediterranean region, hence alternatively known as the Aegean Wallflower. The Greek physician Galen believed this wallflower was useful for regulating the menstrual cycle, to relieve pain of childbirth, for liver & kidney problems, & to clear cataracts. It had centuries for alleged medicinal values to mount up. The plant does in fact contain cardiac glycosides called cheiranthosides, similar to digitalis, which can have pretty intense effects on the body, potentially curative presuming its toxicity didn't merely kill the user. Its modern use as an herbal remedy is rare, due to its dangerousness. Long a symbol of doomed lovers & of faithfulness in adversity, legend has it that a certain Elizabeth the daughter of the Earl of March in 14th Century Scotland, dropped a wallflower from her father's castle window as a signal to her lover that she was willing to elope with the son of King Robert III, her father's foe. Her father, angered by her choice for dalliance, imprisoned her in Neidpath Castle. The prince, disguised as a minstrel, waited near the castle wall for his beloved's signa, when to his delight the flower fell nearby. But Elizabeth while attempting to climb down from Neidpath Castle fell to her death. The young prince left Scotland & as a grief-stricken wandering minstrel throughout Europe, keeping always a sprig of wallflower in his cap. Originating from Europe to North Africa, Asia, to North America.
Water Lily, Nymphaea - Purity of heart. This flower has sedative powers over the heart. This flower's name means "virgin" in Greek. It represents a thing of aloof grace and beauty. An Indian girl of one of the Brazilian tribes was told by her father of an ancient belief that a handsome and powerful warrior-god lived in the moon. She believed the tale and fell in love with the warrior-in-the-moon. After that, no boy of her tribe seemed worthy of her affection. Her family's efforts to marry her failed. She waited patiently, during the days when the moon was not visible and when it emerged in its full splendor each lunar cycle, she would spend hours staring into the sky, trying to see the face of her imagined love. Often she would run through the jungle, as the moon shone at its fullest, trying to catch its rays and embrace her warrior lover. Her parents and friends despaired of ever convincing her that the passion she felt was a mere illusion. One night when a full moon shone in a cloudless sky, she went into the jungle, this time determined to embrace the moon-warrior and have him forever. She raced further in the jungle and came upon a glass-like lake where she saw the reflection of the moon. She thought, that the moon warrior had come down to Earth, to bathe in a pool and without a moment's hesitation, she plunged into the lake to meet him but she drowned in the pool. The warrior-in-the-moon, so goes the legend, took pity on the girl who had loved him so much that she had died in desperation trying to embrace him. Filled with remorse, but without the power to bring her back to life, he resolved to make her a star on Earth. He transformed the dead girl into a star of the fresh flowing waters of the Amazon River. The star is now the giant flower which reigns supreme as queen of all aquatic plants. The Indian girl was transformed into the giant water lily, the Vitória-régia whose flower opens wide only at night. It is said that the Vitória-régia opens itself to its utmost only full moon when the sky over the Amazon jungle is cloudless and particularly clear. The blue water lily was the ancient Egyptians most sacred plant. It is often depicted in party scenes, sex scenes and with wine. Tutankhamen’s body was covered with the flowers. It used to grow quite commonly in ancient times along the banks of the Nile but nowadays is extremely rare. It contains a substance called nuciferine, soluble in alcohol but not known to be psychoactive.
Wisteria, Wistaria – Welcome. Native to China, Korea, Japan and Central and South America.
Zantadeschia, Calla Lily - Beauty. Named after Francesco Zantadeschia. Native to South and East Africa.
Zinnia - Thoughts of absent friends. Native mainly to Mexico.
Back to top of Flower Meanings page
View Flower Images
Note - We cannot confirm the accuracy of any of the information on this page. This information is here for your enjoyment only.