For centuries, flowers, herbs and various plants have given much pleasure to people of all the nations, because their beauty has the unique ability to bring cheer when someone is ill or downhearted, their fragrances can be used to make lovely perfumes, delicate foliage can be used for certain medicines and foods, and pungent smells can bestir mood.

In fact, they have been so outstanding in this regard, that there is no wonder that mankind has attached significant meanings to them,  actually going as far as to formulate a language all their own called “floriography.” This language was particularly utilized during the Victorian era; however, flowers well into past generations have had religious and symbolic meanings, and still do today.

For example, there were references given to flowers, herbs and plants in Biblical times, and during the Middle Ages, herbs were even believed by some to have magical powers. Therefore, they were given a place of honor in the royal floral gardens. The use of these floral gardens existed well into the Victorian era, and helped to create the elaborate list of meanings to describe these beloved flowers.

History relates that during the reign of Queen Victoria in England, which lasted from 1837 to 1901, (known as the Victorian era) the language of flowers was as important to people as being well dressed. For example the recognizable scent of a particular flower, plant or perhaps a scented handkerchief sent its own unique message.

Flowers adorned almost everything,  hair, clothing, jewelry, gowns, men’s lapels, home décor and china, and stationery, to name a few.  A young man could either please or displease a lady by his gift of flowers. Flowers would convey messages of love or dislike depending upon which ones were given, their sizes how they were held, or also grouped together. They had a silent meaning of their very own, and could say what was not dared to be spoken. Even the manner in which flowers were sent had a special meaning. A flower presented in an upright position represented a positive thought; whereas one presented in the opposite direction had a negative meaning. Also, a person could say “yes” by offering a flower with the right hand, the left hand “no.”

Dictionaries were written to explain this language to all, and were especially used by lovers.  One could learn that “ROSES” symbolized love, in general but each variety and color had their own meaning. The “LILY” generally symbolized beauty, but it also has many varieties, thus many diversified meanings. Consider the quandary that could have developed if lover’s used two different dictionaries, with each possibly having its own connotation. There could be some real misunderstandings! So we see the importance of acquiring accurate information in this regard.

Those of the Victorian era liked to make up bouquets. Tussie-Mussies were generally very well liked gifts. These were small bouquets of flowers wrapped in a lace doily and tied with satin. The intrigue of secret messages sent this way, became a popular pastime.

Today, one may find it difficult to express his true feelings. One may wonder, “How do I say I love you?” or “I want to be your friend” or “You are special.” If one is gifted in such a way he could compose a song, or write a poem. Or he could do something much easier and more significant,  he could give flowers!

Speak with finesse and bring the Language of Flowers into YOUR modern day romance. Incidentally, be sure to include an accompanying card that explains their meaning!

I have composed a list of the most popular and more common herbs and flowers and their meanings. However the list is infinite. And of course, the meanings may change with various combinations. Enjoy reviewing the list, it is truly fascinating!

Nancy Annie

 

VICTORIAN TUSSIE MUSSIE FLOWERS AND MEANINGS

A

APPLE BLOSSOM – Preference, Better Things to Come, Good Fortune
ARBUTUS – Thee Only Do I Love
ARUM – Ardor
ASPARAGUS FERN – Fascination
ASPHODEL – My Regrets Follow You to the Grave
ASTER – Symbol of Love, Daintiness, Talisman of Love
ASTER (CHINA) – Fidelity, Variety, I Will Think of Thee
AZALEA – Take Care, Temperance, Fragile, Passion, Chinese Symbols of Womanhood
B
BABY’S BREATH – Innocence, Pure of Heart
BACHELOR BUTTON – Single blessedness, Celibacy
BALM – Sympathy
BALSAM – Ardent Love
BEGONIA – Beware, A Fanciful Nature
BELLS OF IRELAND – Good luck
BIRD OF PARADISE – Often given today from a woman to man as a symbol of faithfulnes

BITTERSWEET – Truth
BLACK BRYONT/LADY’S SEAL – Be My Support
BLUEBELL/BELL FLOWER – Humility, Constancy, Gratitude
BROOM – Humility, Neatness
BUCK BEAN – Calm repose
BUTTERCUP – Childishness, Riches

C
CACTUS – Endurance, My Heart Burns with Love
CALYCANTHUS/CAROLINA ALLSPICE/SWEET SHRUB – Benevolence
CALLA LILY – Magnificent Beauty
CAMELLIA – Admiration, Perfection, Good Luck Gift for a Man, Gratitude
CAMELLIA (PINK) – Longing
CAMELLIA (RED) – You’re a flame in my heart
CAMELLIA (WHITE) – Adoration, Perfection, Loveliness
CANDYTUFT – Indifference
CANTERBURY BELLS/BELL FLOWER – Gratitude
CARDINAL FLOWER/SCARLET LOBELIA – Distinction
CARNATION (GENERAL) – Fascination, Devoted Love
CARNATION (PINK) – I’ll never forget you, Women’s Love
CARNATION (RED) – My heart aches for you, Admiration
CARNATION (DEEP RED) – Alas! for my poor heart
CARNATION (PURPLE) – Capriciousness
CARNATION (SOLID COLOR) – Yes
CARNATION (STRIPED) – No, Refusal, Sorry I can’t be with you, Wish I could be with you
CARNATION (WHITE) – Sweet & Lovely, Innocence, Pure Love, Woman’s Good Luck Gift
CARNATION (YELLOW) – Disapointment, Rejection
CATCHFLY (RED) – Youthful Love, I Fall Victim
CATTAIL – Peace, Prosperity
CATTLEYA – Mature charms

CEDAR – I live but for thee, Think of Me
CELANDINE/PILEWORT/FIGWORT – Future Joy
CHAMOMILE/GOLDEN MARGUERITE/ANTHEMIS – Energy in Action
CHERRY BLOSSOM (SINGLE) – Education
CHICKWEED – I Cling to Thee
CHICORY – Frugality
CHRISTMAS ROSE/HELLEBORUS – Relieve My Anxiety
CHRYSANTHEMUM (GENERAL) – Abundance & Wealth,
Cheerfulness, You’re a wonderful friend
CHRYSANTHEMUM (RED) – Love
CHRYSANTHEMUM (WHITE) – Truth
CHRYSANTHEMUM (YELLOW) – Slighted Love
CINQUEFOIL – Beloved Child
CLEMATIS – Artifice (ingenuity)
CLOVER (FOUR-LEAF) – Be Mine
CLOVER (WHITE) – Think of Me
CLOVER (RED) – Industry
COLCHICUM (MEADOW SAFFRON) – My Best Days Fled
COLUMBINE (PURPLE) – Resolved to Win
COLUMBINE (RED) – Anxious
COMPASS FLOWER – Faith
CONVOLVUS MINOR/BINDWEED – Uncertainty
CORCHORUS – Impatience of Happiness
COREOPSIOS – Always Cheerful
CORNFLOWER – Delicacy, refinement,
CORONILLA/CROWN VETCH – Success to You
COWSLIP – Rusticity, Winning Grace, Healing, Youth, Pensiveness
COXCOMB – Foppery, Unfading Love
CROCUS – Cheerfulness, Abuse not, Gladness
CROWN IMPERIAL/FRITILLARIA – Majesty
CYCLAMEN – Resignation and Good-Bye
D
DAFFODIL – Regard, Unrequited Love, Sunshine, Respect, The sun shines when I’m with you
DAFFODIL (YELLOW ) – Chivalry
DAHLIA – Dignity and Elegance, Forever Thine
DAISY – Innocence, Loyal Love, I’ll Never tell, Purity, Beauty
DAISY OX-EYE – Patience
DAISY (RED) – Beauty Unknown to Possessor
DANDELION – Faithfulness, Happiness, Love’s oracle
DAPHANE CNEORUM/ROSE DAPHANE – I Desire to Please
DAPHANE ODORA/WINTER DAPHANE – I Would Not Have You Otherwise
DRACAENA/DRAGON’S BLOOD/DRAGON LILY – Inner Power
DEAD LEAVES – Sadness
DELPHINIUM – Big-Hearted, Fun
DILL – Lust
DIOSMA – Your Simple Elegance Charms Me
DOG ROSE – Pleasure and Pain
DOGWOOD (FLOWERING) – Am I Indifferent to You?
DRAGON ROOT/GREEN DRAGON (Arum draconium) – Ardor

E

EDELWEISS/ALPINE CUDWEED – Daring, Courage, Noble Purity
EGLANTINE/SWEET-BRIAR/ROSA EGLANTARIA – Poetry, I Wound to Heal
ELDER FLOWER – Zeal
ENDINE – Frugality
EPIGAEA, REPENS/MAYFLOWER/TRAILING ARBUTUS – Budding
EUPATORIUM/HARDY AGERATUM – Delay
EREMURUS – Endurance
EUPHORBIA – Persistence
EVERLASTING – Never Ceasing Memory

F
FERN – Magic, Fascination, Confidence, Shelter
FERN (MAIDENHAIR) – Secret bond of love, Discretion
FERN (ROYAL) – Reverie
FILBERT – Reconciliation
FIR – Time
FLAX – Domestic Symbol
FLORA’S BELL – Without Pretension
FLOWERING REED – Confide in Heaven
FORGET ME NOT – True Love, Memories
FORSYTHIA – Anticipation
FOXGLOVE/FAIRY THIMBLES/DEAD MEN’S BELLS – Stateliness, Youth
FOXTAIL GRASS – Sporting
FRAXINELLA/CULTIVATED DITTANY/GAS PLANT – Fire
FREESIA – Innocence, Trust
FUCHSIA (SCARLET) – Confiding Love, Taste
FURZE – Love for All Occasions

G
GARDENIA – You’re lovely, Secret love, Purity, Refinement
GARLIC – Courage, Strength, Get well, Ward Off Evil & Illness
GENETIAN (FRINGED) – Intrinsic Worth, I Look to Heaven, Autumn
GENTIAN (CLOSED) – Sweet Be Thy Dreams
GERANIUM – True Friend, Stupidity, Folly
GERANIUM (APPLE) – Present Preference
GERANIUM (IVY) – Your Hand for Next Dance
GERANIUM (LEMON) – Unexpected Meeting
GERANIUM (NUTMEG) – I Expect a Meeting
GERANIUM (OAK-LEAVED) – True Friendship, Lady, Deign to Smile
GERANIUM (PENCILED) – Ingenuity
GERANIUM (ROSE) – Preference
GERANIUM (SCARLET) – Consolation, Melancholy
GERANIUM (SILVER-LEAF) – Recall
GERBERA – Innocence
GLADIOLI – Generosity, I’m sincere, Flower of the gladiators
GLOBE AMARANTH – Unfading Love
GLOXINIA – Love at first sight
GINGER – Strength
GOLDEN-ROD – Be cautious, Encouragement
GOOSEBERRY – Anticipation
GOOSEFOOT – Goodness
GORSE – Endearing Affection
GRASS – Submission
GUELDER ROSE/SNOWBALL – Winter

H
HAREBELL/CAMPANULA – Humility, Grief
HEART’S EASR/PURPLE/JOHNNY JUMP UP – You Occupy My Thoughts
HEPATICA (Anemone nobilis) – Confidence
HEATHER (LAVENDER) – Admiration, Solitude
HEATHER (WHITE) – Protection, Wishes will come true
HELIOTROPE – Devotion
HENBANE – For Males to Attract Love from Females
HIBISCUS – Consumed by Love, Delicate Beauty
HOLLY – Defense, Domestic Happiness, Am I forgotten
HOLLYHOCK – Fruitfulness
HOLLYHOCK (WHITE) – Female Ambition
HONESTY/LUNARIA/DOLLAR PLANT/MONEY PLANT – Sincerity
HONEYFLOWER – Sweet, Secret love, Generous Affection, Sweetness of Disposition
HONEYSUCKLE – The Bond of Love
HONEYSUCKLE (CORAL) – I Love You
HOUSTONIA/BLUET/QUAKER LADIES – Content
HOYA/WAX PLANT – Sculpture
HUCKLEBERRY – Faith, Simple Pleasures
HYACINTH (GENERAL) – Games & Sports, Rashness, Flower dedicated to Apollo
HYACINTH (BLUE) – Consistency
HYACINTH (PURPLE) – Sorry, Please forgive me, Sorrow
HYACINTH (RED OR PINK) – Playful Joy
HYACINTH (WHITE) – Unobtrusive Loveliness, I’ll pray for you
HYACINTH (YELLOW) – Jealousy
HYDRANGEA – Thank you for understanding, frigidity, heartlessness

I
IPOMACA – I Attach Myself to You
INDIAN CRESS/NASTURTIUM – Resignation
IRIS – Faith, Wisdom, Promise in Love, Hope, Wisdom & Valor
IRIS (YELLOW) – Passion
IRIS (GERMAN) – Flame
IVY – Wedded Love, Fidelity, Friendship, Affection
IVY (SPRIG OF WHITE TENDRILS)- Anxious to please, Affection

J
JAPONICA – Sincerity, Symbol of Love
JASMINE (INDIAN) – Attachment
JASMINE (SPANISH) – Sensuality
JASMINE (YELLOW) – Modesty, Grace, Elegance
JASMINE (WHITE) – Amiability
JERUSALEM OAK – Your Love is Reciprocated
JONQUIL – Love Me, Affection Returned, Desire, Sympathy

K
KENNEDIA – Intellectual Beauty

L
LADY’S SLIPPER – Win me, Capricious Beauty
LANTANA – Rigor
LARKSPUR – Levity, An Open Heart, Lightness
LAURISTINUS – Cheerful in Adversity
LAVENDER – Love, Devotion,
LEMON BLOSSOM – Fidelity in Love; I Promise to be True
LILAC (GENERAL) – Beauty, Pride
LILAC (PURPLE) – First emotions of love
LILAC (WHITE) – Youthful Innocence
LILY (GENERAL) – Majesty & Honor, Purity of Heart
LILY (ORANGE) – Hatred, Dislike
LILY (WHITE) – Virginity, Purity, Majesty, It’s Heavenly to be with You, Youth
LILY (YELLOW) – I’m Walking On Air, False, Gay, Gratitude
LILY (CALLA) – Beauty
LILY (DAY) – Coquetry, Chinese Emblem For Mother
LILY (EUCHARIS) – Maiden Charms
LILY (TIGER) – Wealth, Pride, Prosperity
LILY OF THE VALLEY – Sweetness, Tears Of The Virgin Mary, Happiness, Humility
LIVERWORT – Confidence
LOVE IN A MIST – You Puzzle Me
LOVE-LIES-BLEEDING/AMARANTHUS – Hopeless, Not Heartless, Desertion
LOTUS – Estranged love, Forgetful of the Past
LUCERNE – Life
LUNGWORT – Thou Art My Life
LUPINE – Imagination
LYCHNIS/CAMPION/MALTESE CROSS – Religious Enthusiasm

M
MAGNOLIA – Nobility, Perseverance, Nobility
MAGNOLIA (CHINESE) – Love of Nature
MALLOW – Delicate Beauty, Sweetness
MARIGOLD (COMMON) – Pretty Love, Sacred, Affection, Caress, Sorrow
MARJORAM – Joy, Happiness
MARVEL OF PERU/FOUR O’ CLOCK – Timidity
MEADOW SAFFRON – My Best Days Are Gone
MIGNONETTE – Your qualities Surpass your Charms, Health
MEZEREON – Desire to Please
MILK VETCH – Your presence softens my pain
MIMOSA – Secret Love
MINT – Virtue
MISTLETOE – Kiss me, Affection, Difficulties, Sacred plant of India,
MONKSHOOD – Beware, Danger is near
MOUSE-EAR CHICKWEED – Simplicity
MORNING GLORY – Affection
MOSS – Maternal Love, Charity
MOTHERWORT – Secret Love
MOONWORT/HONESTY – Forgetfulness
MUGWORT/WORMWOOD – Tranquility, Happiness
MULLEIN – Good Nature
MYRTLE – Love, Joy, Hebrew Emblem of marriage
MYRTLE (WAX) – Discipline, Instruction

N
NARCISSUS – Formality, Stay As Sweet As You Are
NASTURTIUM – Conquest, Victory In Battle
NUTS – Stupidity

O
OAK LEAVES – Bravery
OLEANDER – Caution
OLIVE BRANCH – Peace
ORANGE BLOSSOM – Innocence, Eternal Love, Marriage, Fruitfulness
ORANGE, MOCK – Deceit
ORCHID – Love, Beauty, Refinement, Chinese Symbol for Many Children, Thoughtfulness
ORCHID (CATTLEYA) – Mature Charm

P
PALM LEAVES – Victory & Success
PANSY – Merriment, Thoughts (You Occupy My Thoughts)
PARSLEY – Useful Knowledge
PASSION FLOWER – Faith, Religious Fervor
PASQUE FLOWER – Unpretentious, You Have No Claims
PEAR – Affection
PEACH BLOSSOM – I am your Captive

PEONY – Shame, Happy Marriage, Compassion, Bashfulness
PEPPERMINT – Cordiality
PERIWINKLE/VINCA/MYRTLE – Early Recollections, Pleasures of Memories, Sweet Memories
PETUNIA – Your Presence Soothes Me
PHEASANT’S EYE/ADONIS – Sorrowful Memories
PHLOX – Our souls are united, Unanimity
PIMPERNEL/POOR MAN’S WEATHER GLASS – Change
PINE – Hope, Pity
PINK- Pure Affection
PINK (MOUNTAIN) – You Are Aspiring
POPPY (GENERAL) – Eternal Sleep, Oblivion, Imagination
POPPY (RED) – Pleasure
POPPY (WHITE) – Consolation
POPPY (YELLOW ) – Wealth, Success
POMEGRANATE FLOWER – Elegance
PRIDE OF CHINA – Dissension
PRIMROSE – I Can’t Live Without You, Woman
PRIMROSE (EVENING) – Inconstancy
PRIMROSE (RED) – Unpatronized Merit
PRINCE’S FEATHER – Unfading Love
PUSSY WILLOW – Motherhood

Q
QUAKING GRASS – Agitation

R
RAGGED-ROBIN – Wit
RANUNCULUS – I am Dazzled by your Charms
REEDS – Music
RHUBARB – Advice
RHODODENDRON – Danger, Beware, I am Dangerous
ROSE (BRIDAL) – Happiness
ROSE (BURGANDY) – Unconscious Beauty
ROSE (CHRISTMAS)- Relieve my anxiety
ROSE (CORAL) – Desire
ROSE (DAMASK) – Freshness, Persian Ambassador of Love
ROSE (DARK CRIMSON) – Mourning
ROSE (DOG) – Pleasure & Pain
ROSE (GREEN) – I am from Mars
ROSE (HIBISCUS) – Delicate, Beauty
ROSE (LEAF) – You may Hope
ROSE (LAVENDER) – Enchantment
ROSE (ORANGE) – Fascination
ROSE (PINK) – Perfect Happiness, Secret Love, Grace & Sweetness, Indecision
ROSE (DARK PINK) – Thankfulness
ROSE (PALE PINK) – Grace, Joy
ROSE (PEACH) – Immortality, Modesty
ROSE (RED) – Love, I love you, Respect, Beauty
ROSE (DEEP RED) – Bashful, Shame
ROSE (TEA) – I’ll Remember – Always
ROSE (THORNLESS) – Love at first sight, Early Attachment
ROSE (WHITE) – Innocence, Purity, Humility, I am Worthy of You, Secrecy, Silence
ROSE (WHITE & RED TOGETHER) – Unity, Flower Emblem of England
ROSE (WHITE-DRIED) – Death is Preferable to Loss of Virtue
ROSE (YELLOW) – Joy, Jealousy, Friendship (one yellow rose with 11 red ones means love & passion)
ROSEBUD – Beauty & Youth, A Heart Innocent of Love
ROSEBUD (RED) – Pure & Lovely
ROSEBUD (WHITE) – Girlhood, Heart Ignorant of Love
ROSEBUD (MOSS) – Confessions of Love
ROSES (Bouquet of full bloom) – Gratitude
ROSES (Single full bloom) – I truly love you, Simplicity.
ROSES (GARLAND or CROWN OF) – Beware of Virtue, Reward of Merit, Symbol of Superior Merit
ROSE (MUSK CLUSTER) – Charming
ROSE-OF-SHARON – Consumed by Love
ROSEMARY – Remembrance
RUSH/HORSE-TAIL – Docility

S

SAGE – Wisdom, Great Respect, Speedwell Female Fidelity
SATIN-FLOWER – Sincerity
SENSITIVE PLANT – Timidity
SHAMROCK – Lightheartedness
SLOE – Difficulty, Austerity

SMILAX – Loveliness
SNAPDRAGON – Gracious Lady, Strength
SNOWBALL – Thoughts of Heaven
SNOWDROP – Hope, Consolation
SPEARMINT – Warm Sentiment
SPIDER FLOWER – Elope with me
SOLIDAGO – Success
STAR OF BETHLEHEM – Atonement, Reconciliation
STARWORT – Welcome to a Stranger
STEPHANOTIS – Marital Happiness, Desire to Travel
STOCK- Bonds of Affection, Promptness, You’ll Always Be Beautiful to Me
STONECROP – Tranquility
STRAW FLOWER – Agreement
STRAW (BROKEN) – Broken agreement
SYTINGIA/MOCK ORANGE/LILAC – Memory
SUNFLOWER (TALL) – False riches, Pride
SUNFLOWER ( DWARF) – Adoration
SWEETPEA – Good-by, Departure, Blissful Pleasure, Thank You for a Lovely Time
SWEET-SULTAN – Felicity, Happiness
SWEET-WILLIAM – Grant me one smile, Gallantry

T
TEASEL (Dipscaus) – Misanthropy
THORNAPPLE – I dreamed of thee
THRIFT (ARMERIA) – Sympathy
TRAVELER’S JOY – Rest, Safety
TRUMPET FLOWER/ANGEL’S TRUMPET/DATURA – Separation
TULIP (GENERAL) – Perfect Lover, Fame, Flower Emblem of Holland
TULIP (RED) -Believe me, Declaration of Love
TULIP (VARIEGATED) – Beautiful eyes
TULIP (YELLOW) – There’s Sunshine In Your Smile
TURNIP – Charity

V
VALERIAN – Accommodating Disposition
VENUS FLYTRAP – Caught at Last
VENUS’ LOOKING GLASS – Flattery
VERBENA – Pray for me, Sensibility
VERONICA SPEEDWELL – Fidelity
VERVAIN – Enchantment
VINE – Intoxicating
VIOLET – Modesty, Virtue, Affection
VIOLET (BLUE) – Watchfulness, Faithfulness, Love
VIOLET (WHITE) – Let’s Take A Chance On Happiness
VIRGIN’S BOWER/CLEMATIS – Filial Love (Filial: referring to a son or daughter)
VISCARIA – Will You Dance With Me?

W
WALL FLOWER/GILLY FLOWER – Faithful in Adversity, Fidelity, Lasting Beauty
WINDFLOWER – Sincerity, Symbol of Love
WINTERGREENS – Harmony
WISTERIA – Welcome
WITCH HAZEL – A spell
WOLFBANE/ACONITE/TURK’S CAP/FRIAR’S CAP/BEAR’S FOOT – Misanthropy, Chivalry, Knight
WOODBINE – Fraternal Love
WORMWOOD/ARTEMISIA – Absence, Do not be discouraged

Y
YARROW – Cure for heartache

Z
ZEPHYR FLOWER- Sincerity, Symbol of Love
ZINNIA (MAGENTA) – Lasting Affection
ZINNIA (MIXED) – Thinking (or in memory) of an Absent Friend
ZINNIA (SCARLET) – Constancy
ZINNIA (WHITE) – Goodness
ZINNIA (YELLOW) – Daily Remembrance

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