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The Language Of Flowers

Flowers have had meaning attributed to them for thousands of years. But in Victorian times, the language of flowers found a special meaning.  Messages could be sent to a friend or lover via a nosegay, or tussle-mussie.  It became a widely used form of communication, as telling someone out loud, how you felt about her or him, was a taboo.  Without so much as a word, either spoken or written, one’s feelings could be conveyed through the language of flowers.  Here is a list from The old Farmers Almanac, of some common flowers and plants and the message they each convey:

Aloe – Healing, protection, affection
Angelica – Inspiration
Arborvitae – Unchanging friendship
Bachelor’s button – Single blessedness
Basil – Good wishes
Bay  – Glory
Black-eyed – Susan Justice
Carnation – Alas for my poor heart
Chamomile – Patience
Chives – Usefulness
Chrysanthemum – Cheerfulness
Clover, white – Think of me
Coriander  – Hidden worth
Crocus, spring – Youthful gladness
Cumin – Fidelity
Daffodil – Regard
Daisy – Innocence, hope
Dill – Powerful against evil
Edelweiss – Courage, devotion
Fennel – Flattery
Fern – Sincerity
Forget-me-not – Forget-me-not
Geranium, oak-leaved – True friendship
Goldenrod – Encouragement
Heliotrope – Eternal love
Holly – Hope
Hollyhock – Ambition
Honeysuckle – Bonds of love
Horehound – Health
Hyacinth – Constancy of love, fertility
Hyssop – Sacrifice, cleanliness
Iris – A message
Ivy – Friendship, continuity
Jasmine, white – Sweet love
Lady’s-mantle – Comforting
Lavender – Devotion, virtue
Lemon balm – Sympathy
Lilac – Joy of youth
Lily-of-the-valley – Sweetness
Marjoram – Joy and happiness
Mint – Virtue
Morning glory – Affection
Myrtle – The emblem of marriage, true love
Nasturtium – Patriotism
Oak – Strength
Oregano – Substance
Pansy – Thoughts
Parsley – Festivity
Pine – Humility
Poppy, red – Consolation
Rose, red – Love, desire
Rosemary – Remembrance
Rue Grace, – clear vision
Sage – Wisdom, immortality
Salvia, blue – I think of you
Salvia, red – Forever mine
Savory – Spice, interest
Sorrel – Affection
Southernwood – Constancy, jest
Sweet pea – Pleasures
Sweet William – Gallantry
Sweet woodruff – Humility
Tansy – Hostile thoughts
Tarragon – Lasting interest
Thyme – Courage, strength
Tulip, red – Declaration of love
Valerian – Readiness
Violet – Loyalty, devotion, faithfulness
Willow – Sadness
Yarrow – Everlasting love
Zinnia – Thoughts of absent friends

On April 29th, 2011, Kate Middleton married Prince William.

Her wedding flowers were very significant.  Here is what Glamour magazine had to say about her bouquet:

“Whether you loved or hated how Princess Kate’s royal wedding bouquet looked, one thing’s for sure: Once you know what the flowers in it symbolize, you’re going to fall head over heels for the bouquet.

Yes, it was all white, a traditional choice for a wedding bouquet, but these royal wedding flowers meant so much more than that. Here’s what they symbolize:

Lily of the Valley: According to the Queen Victoria language of flowers, this delicate bloom means trustworthy, a good characteristic for any husband or wife to have. But some say this flower instead represents the return of happiness. Perhaps a nod to the shaky time in the royal couple’s relationship when Prince William was caught on camera kissing other English birds?

Sweet William: This one technically stands for gallantry, which the royal family is clearing brimming with, but I doubt Princess Kate would’ve chosen this pretty, though garden-variety, bloom if her hubby didn’t share a name with it. And how sweet is that?!

Hyacinth: Here’s another with a double-meaning. The language of flowers says this one represents sport or play (the slim newlyweds do look rather sporty and playful, in comparison to other royals, at least), but others take this flower to symbolize the constancy of love, another crucial marriage quality (good choice, Kate).

Myrtle: It’s royal tradition (and many others’ tradition) to carry a sprig of myrtle in the wedding bouquet. In fact, every royal bride since Queen Victoria has played along–and Kate was no exception. But her and other princesses’ and queens’ myrtle come from a very special place: Queen Victoria’s own 170-year-old garden. Besides that significance, myrtle’s special meaning is the emblem of love and marriage. What’s more fitting than that?

Ivy: Here’s another apropos addition. This too stands for marriage, and also fidelity, friendship, and affection. (Awww…)”

Queen Victoria married the love of her life, Prince Albert in 1840.  Apparently, the myrtle in Kate’s bouquet came from a plant started from a sprig of myrtle that was part of a nosegay given to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert’s grandmother.  So the use of the language of flowers has come full circle from Queen Victoria, Prince William’s great great great great grandmother, to Catherine Middleton.  It is no wonder the language of flowers is again so popular.

If you wish to know more about this special language you might want to order A Victorian Flower Dictionary from

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  What message of love will you send using The Language Of Flowers?


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  1. Allison #

    Love learning about this sort of thing!!

    February 11, 2017
    • Two Chums #

      We love that you visit us!

      February 13, 2017

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