Symbolic Meaning of Flower

There are meanings ascribed to flowers. Since ancient times, flowers have been used to symbolize feelings and circumstances. Even today, flowers are part of the most meaningful times in our lives, such as birth, death, weddings, holidays and convalescence. Using flowers as symbols began with many ancient religions. They continued to grow in usage and popularity throughout the Renaissance, reaching the highest pinnacle in the Victorian age.

It is not unusual to see different flowers listed as part of the worship of many ancient deities such as Apollo, Cerridwen, Aphrodite and Brigid. Flowers used in several Renaissance paintings are thought to be a symbol of various virtues. Adding emotional meaning really took precedence in the Victorian era. There was a book written in 1819 about the meanings of flowers called “Le Language des Fleurs” by Madame Charlotte de la Tour. One that was written in 1884 is still used today: “Language of Flowers” by Kate Greenaway.

Flower names were given to girls, such as Heather, Daisy and Rose. During Victorian times, the actual flower did not have to be given. A pressed version, a card with the chosen flower printed upon it, or even a handkerchief dotted with the scent of the chosen flower would suffice. Some of the meanings follow in this article. See if they correspond with any of your own experiences when you have received flowers.


Daisies are sweet flowers with many petals surrounding a flat center. They are often used by little girls to play “He loves me, He loves me not.” They are associated with innocence, purity and simplicity. They also stand for fidelity, loyalty in love, patience and beauty. When given, they could also mean that you wish to share your feelings. Daisies have been used as decoration since ancient Egypt. They are related to lettuce, sunflowers and artichokes.

They suggest childhood innocence and modesty. Young girls used to close their eyes and pick a handful of daisies. They would then count the number of blossoms to know how many years before marriage.


The iris can be found in fancy varieties and the more delicate wild variety. Iris means hope, valor and faith. It may stand for wisdom or cherished friendship. It can be a way to display the giver’s compliments or be a promise in love. The leaves of iris are shaped like sword blades, and are meant so show that “her heart has been pierced.” This flower is the emblem of both France and the city of Florence, Italy. In China, using the iris in artwork symbolizes the “dancing spirit of early summer.” The fluttering petals are reminiscent of butterfly wings.


Roses are most often associated with love. Each color has a different angle to take.

A red rose stands for passion, romance and perfection. It is the traditional way to say “I love you”. Often used in weddings since time immemorial, it has come to stand for fidelity and faithfulness.

A white rose is purity, innocence and honor. White roses are often used as a symbol of remembrance at funerals. One can also have white be the color of true love or secrecy. Used frequently in wedding bouquets, it suggests unity, virtue and the new bond of matrimony. Young love is yet another aspect of this beautiful flower. A white rosebud may symbolize a young girl and may carry the meaning of one who is too young yet for love.

A pink rose is grace, elegance and happiness. They may also stand for appreciation or joy. When you admire someone, you often show it with the color pink. You could also imply the same, yet gentler meanings as a red rose. It may suggest gratitude, sweetness or poetic romance. Pale pinks can express sympathy.

A yellow rose is friendship, infidelity, or joy. Some consider them a sign of warmth or happiness. They may suggest power or jealousy and dying love. They can also symbolize platonic love or express an apology.

An orange rose is enthusiasm and desire. These beautiful flowers may also mean passion, excitement, and the desire for strong romance. They could suggest that a friendship turn into a romance, since orange is a blending of yellow and red. They can be given as a gift to mean “I’m proud of you.”

A lavender rose is the symbol of enchantment or love at first sight. It is associated with royalty and romance, so it often suggests splendor and majesty. Perhaps, you could have it also include the meanings of the nonexistent blue rose, and have it mean wonder and magic.  Either way, lavender roses are favorites.

Source: Jovan Washington (RSI)