Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. And since you’ve read the title of this post, you probably know where this is going.
You guessed it! Flowers!
It’s called floriography, and it’s been around for thousands of years, tracing its roots (ha, roots) back to Asia and the Middle East. Even Shakespeare used various flowers as metaphors for love and friendship.
There have even been floral dictionaries published throughout the years. We’re going to be using Elizabeth Wirt’s “Flora’s Dictionary” to take a look beyond the beautiful colors and smells and see what’s really being said when you give your sweetie a dozen.
Ambrosia – “Love Returned”
If your loved one has just told you they love you, this is a good flower to let him or her know that that the feeling is mutual.
American Starwort – “Cheerfulness in Old Age”
I’d think very hard about getting this for your wife or girlfriend.
Anemone – “Expectation”
This violet flower can send a deep message on Valentine’s Day. If your partner is fluent in the language of flowers, you may risk getting a Red Balsam, also known as a Touch Me Not.
Butter Cup – “Riches”
I wish someone would get me a Butter Cup.
Japonica Camellia – “Pity”
If your friend was given a Red Balsam, you may consider getting them this pink spiral flower.
Canterbury Bell – “Gratitude”
Ranging from blue to deep purple, this is a beautiful flower to let someone know you appreciate them.
Jasmine Cope – “Ecstasy”
This white flower might be most appropriate in the beginning, “can’t keep my hands off you,” stage of the relationship.
Red Catchfly – “Youthful Love”
This pretty, red, star-shaped flower is a good one to give to your high school sweetheart on prom night. Her dad may respond by giving you a Red Balsam in return.
White Catch Fly – “I Fall into the Trap Laid for Me”
This white flower is useful if you ever fall into a Meatloaf “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” situation.
Cedar – “I Live for Thee”
This light pink flower is a beautiful way of telling that special someone how you feel.
Chrysanthemum – “I Love”
This red or pink flower declares your love. But be careful about getting a yellow one…
Yellow Chrysanthemum – “Slighted Love”
Maybe the best use of this underlying meaning is in John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums,” in which a housewife flirts with a visiting salesman, and gives him her flowers which she’s been working on as a kind gesture. Upon traveling down the road, she finds the flowers discarded.
Purple Columbine – “Resolved to Win”
Give your athlete some confidence and get them a dozen of these purple star-shaped flowers to inspire that winning spirit. You might couple these with Golden Rod, which signifies encouragement.
Convolvulus – “Uncertainty”Ranging from white to blue to purple, I wonder when you would use this? I’m really not sure…
Coreopsis Arkansa – “Love at First Sight”
Yellow with a red center, I always keep one of these in my pocket for whenever I can’t think of a good pickup line.
Red Daisy – “Beauty Unknown to the Possessor”
A simply beautiful red flower, this is a good one to give to someone who needs that extra little confidence boost.
Dogwood Blossom – “I am Perfectly Indifferent to You.”
It seems that if you were buying and giving someone this flower, it would kind of defeat the purpose. Four petals from white to light pink.
Hibiscus – “Delicate Beauty”
If you’re unfamiliar with these, you should do a quick image search on them. Oh man.
Hellebore – “Scandal”
Send these to your lover’s spouse’s place of work. (Warning: My advice should not be taken.)
Purple Lilac – “The First Emotions of Love”
Can be a very subtle way of telling someone you love them, without being the first to say it.
And that’s all we have room for. Hope this answered all your que…
What? The most important one? What ever could you be talking about? Oh right.
Rose – Beauty
And LOVE! Of course. Almost nothing in American culture signifies love as much as the rose. (Maybe cash?)
You didn’t need me to tell you that!
But here’s a few other roses, and what the Flora’s Dictionary lists as their meanings.
Austrian Rose – “Thou Art All That’s Lovely”
Bridal Rose – “Happy Love”
Burgandy Rose – “Unconscious Beauty”
Cabbage Rose – “The Ambassador of Love”
Daily Rose – “The Smile that I Would Aspire To”
Deep Red Rose – “Bashful Shame”
White Rose-Bud – “A Heart that is Ignorant of Love”
White Rose – “I Am Worthy of You”
Rose Without a Thorn – “Ingratitude”
So be careful about giving a rose without a thorn. And have a great Valentine’s Day!
For the full text of “Flora’s Dictionary,” click here!