The Language of Flowers

Some flowers spoke with strong
and powerful voices, which proclaimed
in accents trumpet-tongued, " I am beautiful,
and I rule. " Others murmured in tones
scarcely audible, but exquisitely soft and sweet,
"I am little, and I am beloved."

-- George Sand (Armandine A.L. Dupin),
(1804 - 1876) French writer --

Joy and jealousy, desire and dejection, solitude and sadness, loyalty and love.
Flowers echo each voice of the human heart.

   Asters convey an afterthought or variety, except in China, where they signify fidelity

  For the most part, carnations express love, fascination, and distinction. Light red carnations represent admiration, while dark red denote deep love and affection. White carnations indicate pure love and good luck; striped symbolize a regret that a love cannot be shared. Green carnations are for St. Patrick's Day; purple carnations indicate capriciousness.

  While chrysanthemums generally denote cheerfulness and rest, individual colors do carry specific messages: red for love, good luck and best wishes; white for truth; and yellow for slighted love. Chrysanthemums will be welcomed throughout the British Isles and North America for any occasion. In Italy, however, their exclusive association with the dead makes chrysanthemums acceptable only for funerals.

  While daffodils can be taken to say, "my fond hopes have been dashed by your behavior," they mostly say, "the sun is always shining when I'm with you." For the most part, daffodils signify unrequited love, great regard and respect, and chivalry.

  Generally speaking, daisies indicate innocence, purity, and gentleness on behalf of both the giver and the receiver. Daisies say, "You have as many virtues as this plant has petals," or, "I will consider your request." A white daisy represents shared feelings of affection, while a red daisy tells of beauty unknown to the possessor.

  The fern generally signifies sincerity, confidence, and shelter. A royal fern denotes reverie, while the exchange of a maidenhair fern expresses a secret bond of love.

  The gladiolus flower signifies remembrance. It also expresses infatuation, telling the receiver that he or she "pierces the heart."

  Holly should be introduced to the house before Christmas Eve and removed on the Twelfth Night. In the language of flowers it is the symbol of domestic happiness.

  On the whole, lilies imply purity of the heart. While lilies come in a variety of colors, most people readily associate lilies with white, meaning innocence and sweetness. The white Madonna lily is considered the special flower of the Holy Virgin, for Christian lore tells that the lily had been yellow until the day the Virgin Mary stooped to pick it. Yellow lilies express gratitude and gaiety.

  The orchid is a flower of magnificence that brings a universal message of love, beauty, wisdom, and thoughtfulness. In China it signifies refinement, and the innocence of children. A pink orchid conveys pure affection; the popular cattalya orchid denotes mature charm, and is often used in corsages for Mother's Day.

  Popular worldwide as "the Christmas flower", white, pink and red poinsettias bring wishes of mirth and celebration.

  Exquisite and radiant, the rose is the principal messenger of love. A single rose denotes perpetual love; two roses of any color taped or wired together signify a commitment or forthcoming marriage.

Single Color Meanings:
  • Red roses of any hue say "I love you"; deep red roses imply unconscious beauty.

  • White roses signify spiritual love and purity; bridal white means happy love.

  • Today, yellow roses signify joy and gladness; historically, they meant a decrease of love and infidelity.

  • Coral roses imply desire; orange say "I am fascinated and enthusiastic."

  • Lavender roses mean love at first sight.

  • Light pink roses imply grace, gentility and admiration.
  • Dark pink roses say "thank you."

  • Pale-colored roses signify friendship.

Combined Color Meanings:
  • Red and yellow roses mixed together say "Congratulations!"

  • Yellow and orange roses together imply passionate thoughts.

  • Red and white roses signify unity.

  A sunflower's meaning differs from culture to culture. To some, the sunflower promises power, warmth, and nourishment all the attributes of the sun itself. Others, however, maintain that the sunflower's regal appearance denotes haughtiness and false appearances, or unhappy love. A gift of a Dwarf Sunflower signifies "a devout admirer."

  For the most part, tulips are a declaration of love; a gift from a "perfect lover." Variegated tulips are for "beautiful eyes". Red tulips indicate an irresistible love, while yellow tulips denote a hopeless love with no chance of reconciliation.

  Violets are a symbol of faithfulness. Blue violets say "I'll always be true" and signify constancy; white violets depict modesty, or the desire to "take a chance on happiness"; and yellow violets convey modest worth.