We do it all the time. We surprise someone with a bunch of bright yellow flowers to cheer them up.
We declare our fervent passion with two-dozen velvety roses. We sense the personalities of different flowers and intuitively choose one
over another to fit our mood or the occasion.
But did you know that associating certain flowers with different meanings is an age-old art form?
The Japanese call it Hanakotoba, and King Charles II brought it to Sweden from Persia in the 17th century.two-dozen velvety roses. We
sense the personalities of different flowers and intuitively choose one over another to fit our mood or the occasion.
Floriography – a fancy name for the language of flowers – was coined in the Victorian era, and while its original translations may have
shifted over time, the notion that through flower symbolism we can express what we want to say (and may not be able to speak out loud)
still holds true.
From the origin of a flower’s name to its distinctive characteristics and rich mythology, flowers are infused with symbolism and meaning.
Our Teleflora Flower Meaning Guide is designed to unravel these hidden mysteries, uncover these floral gems and open you up to a
whole new language – the language of flowers.
Heather’s scientific name, “Calluna vulgaris,” comes from
Latin “vulgaris,” meaning “common,” as heather twigs were
once used for making brooms. Native to Ireland, Scotland,
bedding, as thatch for roofs and even to flavor beer or tea.
Today, it’s the beautiful heather flowers—in colors ranging
from white to pink, purple and red – that draw our
attention. Symbolizing admiration and good luck, heather
is also believed have protective powers.
Baron Claus von Alstromer, a Swedish baron who collected the seeds on a trip to Spain in 1753.
Today, this popular flower can be found in a range of colors – from white to golden yellow, orange to apricot, pink to red,
lavender and purple. Symbolizing friendship and devotion, the alstroemeria’s leaves grow upside down, with the leaf twisting
as it grows out from the stem, so that the bottom is facing upwards – much like the twists, turns and growth of our friendships.
Legend has it that the amaryllis - the stunning red flower we've come to associate with the holidays began as a
shy, timid nymph.
Amaryllis fell deeply in love with Alteo, a shepherd with Hercules' strength and Apollo's beauty, but her affections
Hoping that she could win him over by bestowing upon him the thing he desired most - a flower so unique it had
never existed in the world before - Amaryllis sought advice from the oracle of Delphi.
Following his instructions, Amaryllis dressed in maiden's white and appeared at Alteo's door for 30 nights, each
time piercing her heart with a golden arrow.
When at last Alteo opened his door, there before him was a striking crimson flower, sprung from the blood of
With this romantic - albeit tragic - tale as its beginning, it's not surprising that today the amaryllis has come to
symbolize pride, determination and radiant beauty.
According to Greek mythology, the anemone sprang from Aphrodite’s
tears as she mourned the death of Adonis. Thought to bring luck and
protect against evil, legend has it that when the anemone closes its
petals, it’s a signal that rain is approaching.
Still other mythology connects the anemone to magical fairies, who were
believed to sleep under the petals after they closed at sunset.
Perhaps it’s because of this magical and prophetic tales that today in the
language of flowers, anemones represent anticipation.
With their open, heart-shaped flowers and tropical disposition, it's no
wonder that anthurium have come to symbolize hospitality.
Also known as the Flamingo Flower, Boy Flower, Painted Tongue and
Painters Palette because of their distinctive shape and color.
The name anthurium comes from Greek, meaning "tail flower." Exotic
and compelling, with bold, typically red flowers and shiny, dark green
foliage, anthurium, like the hospitality they represent, are long- lasting
and irresistibly beautiful.
With their wildflower beauty and lush texture, asters have
long been considered an enchanted flower.
In ancient times, it was thought that the perfume from their
burning leaves could drive away evil serpents.
Today, they’re known as a talisman of love and a symbol of
for “star,” and its star-like flowers can be found in a rainbow
of patience. Also known as starworts, Michaelmas daisies or
colors – white, red, pink, purple, lavender and blue, with
mostly yellow centers.
The September birth flower, asters also hold the honor of
being the 20th wedding anniversary flower.
Bearing an unmistakable resemblance to a brightly
colored bird in flight, bird of paradise are native to
south Africa and represent joyfulness and (not
surprisingly) paradise itself.
Also known as Crane flowers, they are distinctive and
striking, spectacularly shaped like a bird's beak and
plumage. Bird of Paradise are the 9th wedding
Blue flowers hold a special significance in the language of flowers and apparently – given their long-standing popularity – a special place in our
commelina or the dramatic arch of blue delphinium, blue flowers offer a cooling antidote to our over-stimulated lives and anxious days.
A color that is known to hold universal appeal, blue plays a significant role in many cultures’ religious rituals and ceremonies. It’s said that the
Western tradition of a bride wearing something blue is tied to the color’s symbolism of faithfulness and loyalty. In its dark, regal tones, blue can
express trustworthiness, confidence, intelligence and unity, which explains why it’s frequently the color of police uniforms, why the blue “power suit”
is an icon of the business world and why winners of competitions receive blue ribbons. And yet, in its softer hues, blue can embody the uplifting
spirit of a sunny sky or soothing ocean – perhaps explaining why so many of us choose blue flowers when we want to send a message of calming
beauty, tranquility and peace.
Their star-like flowers grow in clusters on thin, branching
stems, like small flower bouquets in soft shades of pink,
white, yellow, salmon and red.
With a delicate scent and feminine appearance, in the
language of flowers, bouvardia represent enthusiasm.
With a history that dates back more than 2,000 years, it's not surprising that carnations are rich with symbolism,mythology and even debate.While
some scholars suggest that their name comes from the word "corone" (flower garlands) or "coronation" because of its use in Greek ceremonial
crowns, others propose that it's derived from the Latin "carnis"(flesh) referring to the flower's original pinkish-hued color or "incarnacyon"
(incarnation), referring to the incarnation of God-made flesh.
Today, carnations can be found in a wide range of colors, and while in general they express love, fascination and distinction, virtually every color
carries a unique and rich association. White carnations suggest pure love and good luck, light red symbolizes admiration, while dark red represents
deep love and affection. Purple carnations imply capriciousness, and pink carnations carry the greatest significance, beginning with the belief that
they first appeared on earth from the Virgin Mary's tears,making them the symbol of a mother's undying love.
Worn on Mother's Day, Teacher's Day, St.Patrick's Day (in green, of course) and at weddings, this hardy, sweetly fragrant flower is also the state
flower of Ohio, the January birth flower and the 1st wedding anniversary flower.
Bird of Paradise
With a history that dates back to 15th century B.C., chrysanthemum mythology is filled with a multitude of stories and symbolism. Named from
the Greek prefix “chrys-“ meaning golden (its original color) and “-anthemion,” meaning flower, years of artful cultivation have produced a full
range of colors, from white to purple to red. Daisy-like with a typically yellow center and a decorative pompon, chrysanthemums symbolize
A symbol of the sun, the Japanese consider the orderly unfolding of the chrysanthemum’s petals to represent perfection, and Confucius once
suggested they be used as an object of meditation. It’s said that a single petal of this celebrated flower placed at the bottom of a wine glass will
encourage a long and healthy life.
Symbolizing rebirth and new beginnings, the daffodil is virtually synonymous with spring. Though their botanic name is narcissus, daffodils are
sometimes called jonquils, and in England, because of their long association with Lent, they’re known as the “Lent Lily.” Lore connecting the
first daffodil of the season, your next 12 months will be filled with wealth, and Chinese legend has it that if a daffodil bulb is forced to bloom
during the New Year, it will bring good luck to your home.
The March birth flower and the 10th wedding anniversary flower, a gift of daffodils is said to ensure happiness. But always remember to
present daffodils in a bunch – the same legends that associate this cheerful flower with good fortune warn us that when given as a single
bloom, a daffodil can foretell misfortune.
Derived from the Greek word
"delphis" meaning dolphin,delphinium
are also commonly knownas larkspur.
Other names include Lark's Heel,
Lark's Claw and Knight's Spur. Used
by Native Americans and European
settlers to make blue dye, it's
believed that the most ancient use of
delphinium flowers was for driving
The July birth flower, these
symbolize anopen heart and ardent
attachmentand convey a feeling of
lightness and levity.
Named after the German physician
Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese,freesia,
with their bell-shaped blooms and sweet,
citrus scent are among the most popular
fragrant flowers. And, while in most cases
the white variation of a flower is the most
fragrant, in the case of freesia, the pink
and red varieties are actually more highly
With their wiry stems and delicate blooms,
it's not surprising that one of the most
popular freesia varieties is named
The 7th wedding anniversary flower,in the
language of flowers, freesia are said to
symbolize innocence and friendship.
LARKSPUR / DELPHINIUM
Named for the shape of their leaves,gladioli,
from the Latin word "gladius,"meaning
sword,have a history than spans from Africa
to the Mediterranean.
Symbolizing strength and moral
integrity,gladioli also represent infatuation,
with a bouquet conveying to a recipient that
they pierce the giver's heart with passion.
Striking and colorful with towering stems, this
August birth flower and 40th wedding
anniversary flower evoke the drama of
The iris's mythology dates back to Ancient
Greece, when the goddess Iris, who
personified the rainbow (the Greek word for
iris), acted as the link between heaven and
It's said that purple irises were planted over
the graves of women to summon the goddess
Iris to guide them in their journey to heaven.
Irises became linked to the French monarchy
during the Middle Ages, eventually being
recognized as their national symbol, the
fleur-de-lis. The February birth flower, the
25th wedding anniversary flower and the
state flower of Tennessee, the iris's three
upright petals are said to symbolize faith,
valor and wisdom.
The story of lilac, according to Greek mythology,
begins with a beautiful nymph named Syringa
(lilac's botanical name).
Captivated by her beauty, Pan, the god of the
forests and fields, chased Syringa through the
Frightened by Pan's affections, Syringa escaped
him by turning herself into an aromatic bush, the
flower we now refer to as lilac.
The 8th wedding anniversary flower and the state
flower of New Hampshire (symbolizing the hardy
character of the Granite State's citizens), lilacs
are frequently considered a harbinger of spring,
with the time of their bloom signaling whether
spring will be early or late.
In the language of flowers, purple lilacs symbolize
the first emotions of love, while white lilacs
represent youthful innocence.
Dating as far back as 1580 B.C., when images of lilies were discovered in a villa in Crete, these majestic flowers have long held a role in
ancient mythology. Derived from the Greek word “leiron,” (generally assumed to refer to the white Madonna lily), the lily was so revered by
the Greeks that they believed it sprouted from the milk of Hera, the queen of the gods. Lilies are known to be the May birth flower, and the
30th wedding anniversary flower.
While white lilies symbolize chastity and virtue – and were the symbol of the Virgin Mary’s purity and her role of Queen of the Angels – as
other varieties became popular, they brought with them additional meanings and symbolism as well. Peruvian lilies, or alstroemeria,
represent friendship and devotion, white stargazer lilies express sympathy and pink stargazer lilies represent wealth and prosperity.
Symbolizing humility and devotion, lilies of the valley are the 2nd wedding anniversary flower.
As the flowers most often associated with funerals, lilies symbolize that the soul of the departed has received restored innocence after death.
First discovered in Japan, the name hydrangea comes from
the Greek "hydor," meaning water, and "angos," meaning jar
This roughly translates to "water barrel," referring to the
hydrangea's need for plenty of water and its cup shaped
flower. With its wooden stems and lacy, star shaped flowers
packed closely together in a pompom, the hydrangea's color
ranges fromwhite to blue to pink and purple, determined by
the acidity level of the soil.
There remains some debate over the hydrangea's symbolism
with some connecting it to vanity and boastfulness (perhaps
reflecting its abundance of petals and lavish, rounded shape)
and others suggesting that a bouquet of hydrangea
expresses the giver's gratefulness for the recipient's
Still others suggest it represents anything that's sincerely
heartfelt. Despite this variation in flower meaning, there
appears to be an overwhelming consensus that this 4th
wedding anniversary flower possesses enduring grace and
god who had the power to know all things past, present
those seeking his insights, he would change his shape
at will, and it’s said that the protea flower was named
were named after Proteus, the son of Poseidon. A sea
after him because it, too, presents itself in an astounding
variety of shapes, sizes, hues and textures to make up
more than 1,400 varieties.
With its mythological associations to change and
transformation, it’s not surprising that in the language of
flowers, protea symbolizes diversity and courage.
With a host of names – from Texas San Pedro –
lisianthus symbolize an outgoing nature. Native to
Texas and Mexico, and descended from a North
American wildflower, in their single-form variety,
lisianthus may resemble tulips or poppies. In their
double form, they can take on the appearance of
roses or peonies.
With wide ruffled, delicate petals and oval leaves,
in colors ranging from white to pink, lavender to
that lisianthus also symbolize appreciation.
The most highly coveted of ornamental orchid
represents love, luxury, beauty and strength. In ancient
Greece, orchids were associated with virility.
In fact, Greek women believed that if the father of their
unborn child ate large, new orchid tubers, the baby
would be a boy. If the mother ate small orchid tubers,
she would give birth to a girl.
During the Victorian era, orchid symbolism shifted to
luxury, and today this sense of magnificence and artful
The 14th wedding anniversary flower, pink orchids
convey pure affection, and the popular cattelya orchid
represents mature charm.
With a recorded history that dates back thousands of years, it's
not surprising that even the mythology surrounding the origin
of the peony has multiple versions.
One legend has it that the peony is named after Paeon, a
physician to the gods, who received the flower on Mount
Olympus from the mother of Apollo. And another tells the story
of that same physician who was "saved" from the fate of dying
as other mortals by being turned into the flower we know today
as the peony.
The traditional floral symbol of China, the state flower of
Indiana, and the 12th wedding anniversary flower, peonies are
known as the flower of riches and honor.
With their lush, full, rounded bloom, peonies embody romance
and prosperity and are regarded as an omen of good fortune
and a happy marriage.
Also known as the Christmas Star and Christmas Flower, it's
said that this winter flower's association with Christmas
comes from a Mexican legend.
The story goes that a child, with no means for a grander gift,
gathered humble weeds from the side of the road to place at
the church alter on Christmas Eve.
As the congregation witnessed a Christmas miracle, the
weeds turned into brilliant red and green flowers.
Named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, first United States
ambassador to Mexico and the amateur botanist who
introduced the plant to the U.S. in 1825, the poinsettia is also
known as Mexican Flame Leaf, Winter Rose, Noche Buena
and, in Turkey, Atakurk's Flower, because it was the favorite
flower of Atakurk, the founder of modern Turkey.
While considered by the ancient Aztecs to be symbols of
purity, in today's language of flowers, red, white or pink
poinsettias, the December birth flower, symbolize good
cheer and success and are said to bring wishes of mirth and
Legend has it that Queen Anne, the wife of King
James I, was challenged by her friends to create
lace as beautiful as a flower.
While making the lace, she pricked her finger, and
it's said that the purple red flower in the center of
Queen Anne's Lace represents a droplet of her
Also called Wild Carrot (since Queen Anne's Lace is
the wild progenitor of today's carrot), Bishop's Lace
or Bird's Nest (for the nest like appearance of the
bright white and rounded flower in full bloom), in the
language of flowers, Queen Anne's Lace represents
Native to Asia and celebrated for its medicinal
properties as well as its bright beauty, the
small camellia-like ranunculus ranges from
white to pink, red to yellow to orange.
Also known as Buttercup and Coyote's Eyes,
legend has it that the mythological Coyote
was tossing his eyes up in the air and
catching them when Eagle snatched them.
Unable to see, Coyote created eyes from the
In the language of flowers, a bouquet of
ranunculus says,"I am dazzled by your
Long a symbol of love and passion, the ancient Greeks and Romans associated roses with Aphrodite and Venus, goddesses of love. Used for
hundreds of years to convey messages without words, they also represent confidentiality. In fact, the Latin expression “sub rosa” (literally,
“under the rose”) means something told in secret, and in ancient Rome, a wild rose was placed on the door to a room where confidential matters
were being discussed.
Each color offers a distinct meaning: red, the lover’s rose, signifies enduring passion; white, humility and innocence; yellow, expressing
friendship and joy; pink, gratitude, appreciation and admiration; orange, enthusiasm and desire; white lilac and purple roses represent
enchantment and love at first sight. The number of stems in a rose bouquet can also express specific sentiments.
The June birth flower and the 15th wedding anniversary flower, roses are also the national flower of the United States and the state flower of
Georgia, Iowa, New York, North Dakota and the District of Columbia. And, not surprisingly, June – the month so often associated with weddings –
is National Rose Month.
Statice is commonly used in dried flower
arrangements as well as fresh bouquets.
Its botanical name is derived from the Greek word
“limonium,” meaning meadow, referring to the
plants original habitat and likely why this versatile
flower is also called marsh-rosemary.
With a misty and seafoam appearance (two more
names associated with this wildflower-like plant),
in the language of flowers, statice symbolizes
A symbol of happy life and contented existence,
the stock flower, with its sweet, heady-scented
blooms, is native to Southwestern Greece and the
Typically found in white, pink, red or lilac, stock is
also called gillyflower or Virginia stock.
While their distinctive and brilliant appearance makes it easy to see why sunflowers have long held our fascination, when they were first grown in
Central and South America, it was more for their usefulness (providing oil and food) than beauty. And perhaps this unique combination of striking
beauty and utility is, in part, why sunflowers have appeared as such revered symbols throughout the ages.
It’s said that the natives of the Inca Empire worshipped a giant sunflower, and that Incan priestesses wore large sunflower disks made of gold on
their garments. Images of sunflowers were found in the temples of the Andes mountains, and Native American Indians placed bowls of sunflower
seeds on the graves of their dead. The Impressionist period of art is famous for its fascination with the sunflower, and this striking flower remains
today a commonly photographed and painted icon of uncommon beauty.
The 3rd wedding anniversary flower and the state flower of Kansas, sunflowers turn to follow the sun. Their open faces symbolize the sun itself,
conveying warmth and happiness, adoration and longevity.
With its richly colored yet small, delicate flowers,
the sweet pea's history can be traced back to 17th
century Italy, when a Sicilian monk, Franciscus
Cupani, sent its seeds to England.
Although that original sweet pea bore little
resemblance to the flower we know today, when
Harry Eckford, a Scottish nurseryman, crossbred
the original flower, he created the colorful,
ornamental and sweetly scented sweet pea we
Ekford's varieties included the pink Dorothy
Eckford, the lavender Lady Grisel Hamilton, the
scarlet King Edward VII and perhaps his most
famous, the Countess Spencer.
Meaning delicate or blissful pleasure in the
language of flowers, this enchanting flower
remains a favorite fragrant blossom.
Originally from Persia and Turkey, tulips were brought to Europe in the
16th century, where they got their common name from the Turkish word
for gauze (with which turbans were wrapped) - reflecting the turban-
like appearance of a tulip in full bloom.
By the 17th century, the popularity of tulips, particularly in the
Netherlands, became so great that the price of a single bulb soared to
new heights, causing markets to crash and putting into motion "tulip
Although different tulip colors carry distinct meanings - yellow tulips
symbolizing cheerful thoughts, white conveying forgiveness and purple
representing royalty - a Turkish legend may be responsible for the red
The story goes that a prince named Farhad was love struck by a
maiden named Shirin. When Farhad learned that Shirin had been
killed, he was so overcome with grief that he killed himself - riding his
horse over the edge of a cliff.
It's said that a scarlet tulip sprang up from each droplet of his blood,
giving the red tulip the meaning "perfect love."
The 11th wedding anniversary flower, it's said that the tulips velvety
black center represents a lover's heart, darkened by the heat of
With the power to rival roses in their red variety and the sweet charm to
express simple joy when yellow, it's no wonder that in addition to all its
other symbolism, in the language of flowers, a tulip bouquet
represents elegance and grace.
Derived from the Greek words "anti," meaning like, and
"rhin," meaning nose, antirrhinum, the snapdragon's
botanical name, is a fitting description of this snout-
It's said that the common name for this colorful flower
comes from the snap it makes when the sides of the
"dragon's mouth" are gently squeezed.
While their actual origin is unknown, it's believed that
snapdragons were originally wildflowers in Spain and
Legend has it that concealing a snapdragon makes a
person appear fascinating and cordial, and in the
language of flowers, snapdragons are said to represent
both deception (perhaps tied to the notion of
concealment) and graciousness.
In the language of flowers, a bouquet of ranunculus
says, "I am dazzled by your charms."