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Meanings of different flowers — an A-Z guide

You'll find a version of this list of flower meanings on hundreds of different websites; it's taken from the Victorian-era study of floriography where romantics used flowers to convey secret messages to one another. The rose's association with love stems from this period, but most other meanings have fallen by the wayside, so next time you get a bunch of flowers don't try and decode them using this list as you may end up starting a war, at at the very least, some sort of domestic disturbance. There is no 'original list' of flower meanings as floriography, like language itself, has evolved over time and with many authors, but the first widely accepted book of flower meanings Le langage des fleurs was published in 1819 by Charlotte de Latour, and most other complilations, including this one, owe something to that work.

Take the meanings with a grain of salt though, as they often contradict each other: Asphodel for example, is listed here as "my regrets follow you to the grave", other sources suggest it was a flower left by grave sites in ancient times as a form of food, and Wikipedia says it fills the plains of Hades (clearly a heat resistant plant suitable for hot climes) — all of which is an awful lot of meaning for one little flower. There are some gems here though — Yellow tulip means 'there's sunshine in your smile, and primrose means 'I can't live without you', which is rather nice really. If you have a suggestion for another meaning, or if you think this list has errors feel free to let us know.

A

Acacia — concealed love, beauty in retirement, chaste love
Acanthus — art or artistic; the fine arts; artifice
Achillea Millefolia — war
Aconite (Wolf's Bane) — misanthropy
Acorn — nordic symbol of life and immortality
Agapanthus — love letters
Agnus Castus — coldness, indifference
Allspice — compassion
Almond Blossom — hope, lover's charm
Aloe — grief
Alstroemeria — devotion, friendship
Alyssum — worth beyond beauty
Ambrosia — your love is reciprocated
Amaryllis — pride, pastoral poetry
Amaranth — fidelity
Amaryllis — pride, timidity, splendid beauty
Anemone — forsaken, unfading love, truth, sincerity, anticipation
Angelica — inspiration
Aniseed — restoration of youth
Apple Blossoms — hope, good fortune, better things to come
Arbor Vitae — true friendship
Arbutus — thee only do i love
Artemisia — dignity
Arbutus — thee only do i love
Asphodel — my regrets follow you to the grave
Aster — symbol of love, daintiness
Azalea — take care of yourself for me, temperance, fragile passion, chinese symbol of womanhood, fragility

B

Baby's Breath — everlasting love, pure in love
Bachelor Button — single blessedness, celibacy, hope in love
Basil — best wishes, love, hatred
Bay Leaf — strength, I change but in death
Bear's Breeches — art or artistic, the fine arts, artifice
Begonia — beware
Betony — surprise
Bellflower —  gratitude
Bells of Ireland — good luck
Bilberry — treachery
Bird of Paradise — magnificence
Bittersweet — truth
Bluebell — humility, constancy
Blue Periwinkle — friendship
Borage — courage, bluntness
Bouquet of Withered Flowers — rejected love
Broom — humility, neatness
Bulrush — indiscretion, docility
Burnet — a merry heart
Buttercup — childishness, cheerfulness

C

Cactus — endurance
Calendula — joy
Calla Lily — splendid beauty
Camellia (general) — admiration, perfection, good luck gift to a man
Camellia (pink) — longing for you
Camellia (red) — you're a flame in my heart
Camellia (white) — you're adorable
Camomile — energy in adversity
Candytuft — indifference
Carnation (general) — fascination, woman love, bonds of affection, health and energy, carnation (pink) — i'll never forget you
Carnation (red) — my heart aches for you, admiration
Carnation (purple) — capriciousness, whimsical
Carnation (solid color) —  yes
Carnation (striped) — no, refusal, sorry i can't be with you, wish i could be with you
Carnation (white) — sweet and lovely, innocence, pure love, woman's good luck gift
Carnation (yellow) — you have disappointed me, rejection
Cattail — peace, prosperity
Cedar — i live for thee, think of me
Chamomile — patience, attracts wealth
Chrysanthemum (general) —  you're a wonderful friend, cheerfulness and rest.
Chrysanthemum (red) — I love you
Chrysanthemum (white) — truth
Chrysanthemum (yellow) — slighted love
Cinnamon — my fortune is yours
Clover (four leaf) — good luck, be mine
Columbine — folly
Corn — riches
Cornflower — delicacy, refinement
Coriander — lust
Cowslip — pensiveness, winning grace
Coxcomb — foppery
Crocus — cheerfulness
Cyclamen — resignation and goodbye

D

Daffodil — regard, respect, unrequited love, you're the only one, the sun is always shining when i'm with you
Dahlia — good taste, instability
Daisy — innocence, loyal love, faith, cheer, simplicity
Dandelion — faithfulness, devotion, happiness, wishes come true
Delphinium — airy
Dogwood — durability

E

Edelweiss — daring, noble courage
Elder — zealousness
Elm — dignity
Eucalyptus — protection

F

Fennel — worthy of all praise, strength
Fern — magic, fascination, confidence and shelter
Fern (maidenhair) — secret bond of love
Fig — argument
Fir — time
Flax — domestic symbol, fate
Forget—me—not — true love, memories
Forsythia — anticipation, expectation
Foxglove — insincerity
Fuschia (scarlet) — fast

G

Gardenia — you're lovely, secret love
Garland of roses — reward of virtue
Garlic —   courage, strength
Geranium (rose) — preference
Geranium (scented) — stupidity, folly, comfort
Gillyflower — bonds of affection
Gladioli — profess sincerity, flower of the gladiators
Gladiolus — love at first sight, ready—armed, strength of character, generosity
Gloxinia — love at first sight
Golden rod — precaution
Guelder rose — winter, age
Grass — surrender

H

Harebell — submission, grief
Hawthorn — hope
Hazel — reconciliation
Heather (lavender) — admiration, solitude
Heather (pink) — good luck
Heather (white) — protection, wishes will come true
Helenium — tears
Hemlock — you will be my death
Hibiscus — delicate beauty
Holly — defense, domestic happiness
Honeysuckle (yellow) — bonds of love
Hyacinth (general) — games and sports, rashness, flower dedicated to apollo
Hyacinth (blue) — constancy
Hyacinth (purple) — i am sorry, please forgive me, sorrow
Hyacinth (red or pink) — play
Hyacinth (white) — loveliness, i'll pray for you
Hyacinth (yellow) — jealousy
Hydrangea — thank you for understanding, frigidity, heartlessness

I

Ice Plant — your looks freeze me
Iris — fleur—de—lis, emblem of france, your friendship means so much to me, warmth of affection, faith, hope, wisdom and valor, my compliments
Ivy — love, fidelity, marriage, friendship

J

Jasmine — amiability, sensuality, transport of joy, grace and elegance
Jonquil — love me, affection returned, desire, sympathy, desire for affection returned
Judas Tree — unbelief, betrayal

L

Larkspur (pink) — fickleness
Lavender — devotion, distrust
Leaves (all colours) — melancholy
Lemon — zest
Lemon Balm — brings love
Lemon Blossom — fidelity
Lilac (purple) — first emotions of love
Lilac (white)  youthful innocence, purity, sweetness
Lily (calla) — beauty
Lily (day) — coquetry, chinese emblem for mother
Lily (orange) — hatred
Lily (tiger) — wealth, pride
Lily (white) — virginity, purity, majesty, it's heavenly to be with you
Lily (yellow) — i'm walking on air, false and gay
Lily (eucharis) — maiden charms
Lily (tiger) — wealth, pride
Lily of the Valley — sweetness, tears of the virgin mary, return to happiness, humility, you've made my life complete
Love—In—A—Mist — perplexity
Love—lies—bleeding — hopeless, not heartless

M

Magnolia — perserverance, dignity, nobility
Marigold — cruelty, grief, jealousy
Meadowsweet — uselessness
Mimosa — sensitivity
Mint — virtue
Mistletoe — kiss me, affection, to surmount difficulties, sacred plant of india
Monkshood — beware, a deadly foe is near
Morning Glory — affectation
Moss — maternal love, charity
Myrtle — love, remembrance, hebrew emblem of marriage

N

Narcissus — egotism, formality, stay as sweet as you are, self—esteem
Nasturtium — conquest, victory in battle, patriotism
Nightshade —  truth

O

Oak Leaves — bravery
Oleander — caution
Orange Blossom — innocence, eternal love, marriage and fruitfulness, wisdom
Orange Mock — deceit
Orchid — love, magnificence, rare beauty, refinement, beautiful lady, chinese symbol for many children
Orchid (cattleya) — mature charm

P

Palm Leaves — victory and success
Pansy (all colours) — thoughts, love and happiness
Parsley — festivities
Peach Blossoms — i am your captive, longevity
Peppermint — warmth of feelings
Peony — bashfulness, shame, indignation, happy life, happy marriage
Periwinkle (blue) — early friendship
Periwinkle (white) — pleasures of memory
Petunia — resentment, anger, your presence soothes me
Phlox — we are united
Pine — hope, pity
Poinsettia — be of good cheer
Polyanthus — pride of riches
Poppy (general) — eternal sleep, oblivion, imagination
Poppy (red) — pleasure, fantastic extravagance
Poppy (white) — sleep, consolation
Poppy (yellow) — wealth, success
Prickly Pear — satire
Primrose — I can't live without you
Primrose (evening) — inconstancy

Q

Quaking Grass — agitation
Queen Anne's Lace — fantasy
Quince — temptation

R

Rose (black) — death
Rose (bridal) — happy love
Rose (dark crimson) — mourning,
Rose (deep red) — passion, bashful shame
Rose (hibiscus) — delicate beauty
Rose (leaf) — you may hope
Rose (orange) — desire
Rose (pink) — perfect happiness, please believe me, simplicity, grace
Rose (red) — love, I love you
Rose (tea) — I'll remember always
Rose (thornless) — love at first sight, attachment
Rose (white) — innocence and purity, I am worthy of you, you're heavenly, secrecy and silence
Rose (white & red mixed) — unity, flower emblem of england
Rose (white—dried) — death is preferable to loss of virtue
Rose (white with ivy) — purity of intentions and promise of fidelity
Rose (withered white) — transient impression
Rose (yellow) — decrease of love, jealousy, try to care
Rosebud — beauty and youth, a heart innocent of love
Rosebud (red) — pure and lovely
Rosebud (white) — girlhood, a heart ignorant of love
Rosebud (moss) — confessions of love
Roses (bouquet of mature blooms) — gratitude
Roses (single full bloom) — I love you, I still love you
Rosemary — remembrance, fidelity

S

Saffron — beware of excess
Sage — wisdom, long life, domestic virtue
Shamrock — lightheartedness
Smilax — loveliness
Snapdragon — deception, gracious lady
Snowdrop — hope
Spearmint — warmth of sentiment
Spider Flower — elope with me
Stephanotis — happiness in marriage, desire to travel
Stock — bonds of affection, promptness, you'll always be beautiful to me
Strawberry — perfect goodness
Sunflower — haughtiness
Sweetpea — goodbye, departure, blissful & delicate pleasure, thank you for a lovely time
Sweet William — a smile, gallantry

T

Tamarisk — crime
Thrift — sympathy
Thyme — strength and courage, activity
Tulip (general) — perfect lover, frame, flower emblem of holland
Tulip (red) — believe me, declaration of love
Tulip (variegated) — beautiful eyes
Tulip (yellow) — there's sunshine in your smile, hopeless love

V

Vernal Grass — poor but happy
Violet Tulip — modesty
Violet (blue) — watchfulness, faithfulness, i'll always be true, modesty
Violet (white) — let's take a chance

W

Wallflower — faithfulness
Water lily — purity of heart
Wistaria — I cling to you
Woodruff — sweet humility

Z

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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