The Language of Flowers

One of the most beautiful languages in the world is the language of flowers. My love affair with flowers started even before the concept of beauty took hold in my mind. My very first memory is the purple fragrance that nestled in my mother’s lavender lathered neck. From smell it was just a short leap to sight and the dreamy images of my father’s well-loved garden.

Flowers with Love

Love Flowers

I know that if odour were visible, as colour is, I'd see the summer garden in rainbow clouds.
~ Robert Bridges, "Testament of Beauty"

Photo Credit: Mia Rose

Being incredible artists and ingenuous poets, the Chinese have maintained a holy love of flowers. Since flowers had to be distinguished from each other, they have attributed elegant, dreamy and passionate analogies to them, which harmonize in our minds the sensations of gentle charm and violent intoxication.

So it is that certain peonies are named by the Chinese according to their form or color: The Young Girl Who Offers Her Breasts, The Water That Sleeps Beneath the Moo, The Sunlight in the Forest, The First Desire of the Reclining Virgin, My Gown Is No Longer All White Because in Tearing It the Son of Heaven Left a Little Rosy Stain or even better, this one: I Possessed My Lover in the Garden.

On reflection, flowers do not seem to be quite the ‘useless beauties’ that they are sometimes perceived to be. Flowers seem to possess the precise molecular key to unlock the mechanism in our brain governing pleasure. The Language of flowers convey a myriad of messages: love of course, but also celebration and sympathy. The fragrant rose intoxicates, raises one’s spirits, and summons memories.

Effects of Love Flowers

Flowers are a powerful positive emotion inducer. They are also a symbol of sharing. Even men are delighted to get them. They have universal appeal. People love to receive flowers as a gift because it makes them feel happy and contented. The very act of buying flowers as a gift also provides an emotional boost for the one making the purchase.

Different studies have found that flowers have other emotional effects as well. In essence, they increase happiness and lead to social interactions. They have a positive long-term effect on mood. Basically, what it comes down to is this: people who buy flowers are happier. This is reason enough to buy flowers.

Common sense tells us that flowers make us happy, and research now confirms that flowers have a strong positive effect on our emotional well-being. A team of researchers explored the link between flowers and life satisfaction. The results of this 10-month study showed that flowers are a natural and healthy moderator of moods.

1. Flowers have an immediate impact on happiness. All study participants expressed ‘true’ smiles upon receiving flowers, demonstrating extraordinary delight and gratitude. Flowers, upon presentation to women, always elicited a true smile.

2. Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods. Study participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious and agitated after receiving flowers. Demonstrated a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction. For example, women who received flowers reported more positive moods three days later.

3. A flower given to men or women in an elevator elicited more positive social behaviour other other stimuli.

4. Flowers create intimate connections. The presence of flowers leads to increased contact with family and friends.

5. Flowers help senior citizens cope with the challenge of aging. Flowers presented to elderly participants (55+ age-group) elicited positive mood reports and improved episodic memory.

Therefore, flowers have immediate and long-term effects on emotional reactions, mood, social behaviours and even memory for both males and females.

I Love You Flowers

Flowers have had a long term connection with love. In Roman times brides would wear coronets of orange blossom and myrtle to symbolise a combination of virginal innocence blended with abundance (as in many children).

'Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.'
~ Heinrich Heine, The Hartz Journey

In Elizabethan times in England, the language of flowers were utilised to encode highly personal messages to prospective loved ones.

By Victorian times, the language of flowers had become a well-established code. The Victorians made an art of expressing their desires with flowers. Victorian women, for example, carried small bouquets, called tussie-mussies, with hidden messages expressed by types of flowers. Strands of ivy signified fidelity and friendship, gardenias conveyed a secret love, and forsythia meant anticipation. And in Norfolk, a young man who wore the herb southernwood in his buttonhole was announcing to the world that he was ready and available to meet single women. If he took a fancy to a particular girl, he would sniff his southernwood and if the girl liked him in return, she would inhale the aroma of the herb too. Having declared their interest, the couple would then go for a stroll together.

The language of flowers plays a role in literature too. Even Shakespeare utilised flowers in his writings. In Hamlet, when poor Ophelia expressed her grief: “There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies, that's for thoughts.”

Now that you know flowers say a lot more than you think, here are some popular garden and bouquet meanings of the language of flowers:

Alstroemeria: Devotion and friendship

Alyssum: Worth beyond beauty

Anemone: Unfading love

Apple Blossom: Good Fortune

Artemisia: Dignity

Baby’s Breath: Everlasting Love

Calla Lily: Magnificent Beauty

Camellia: Perfected Loveliness

Carnation: Pride and Beauty, Fascination

Carnation (striped): Refusal

Carnation (yellow): Disappointment

Cyclamen: It’s over, goodbye

Daffodil: Unrequited Love

Daisy: Innocence

Forget-me-not: Memories

Foxglove: Insincerity

Gardenia: Secret Love

Gladioli: Sincerity

Heather (pink): Good Luck

Jasmine: Cheerful & Graceful

Lavender: Silence and the Return of a Loved one

Lilac: First sign of love

Lily: Purity of Heart

Lily (white): Purity & sweetness

Lily (orange): Hatred

Lily of the Valley: Return of Happiness

Marigold: Cruelty or Jealousy

Mums (white): Truth

Mums (yellow): Slighted

Orange Blossom: Marriage and Fruitfulness

Orchid: Beauty

Pansies: An Invitation to Courtship

Peony: Shame or Happy marriage

Queen Anne’s Lace: Fantasy

Red Rose: Passion

Rudbeckia: Justice

Sweet Pea: Good bye

Tulips: A Declaration of Love

Violet: Modesty

Yellow Daylilies: Coquetry

Zinnia (burgundy): Lasting Affection

Zinnia (mixed): Thoughts of absent friends





If you found inspiration on our Language of Flowers page, feel free to browse the rest of our Love pages too:

Related Pages

* The 5 Languages of Love



Hope you enjoy our Language of Flowers pages!

(From Language of Flowers back to Healing Love Notes Home Page)

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