Meaning of flowers

Flowers have a language of their own. They symbolise various emotions and feelings, some that are even difficult to explain or express in words. Flowers are like ethereal beings of nature, lacking in conscience, ego, intellect, and yet very much alive. As Henry Ward Beecher so rightly put it " flowers are the sweetest things God ever made and forgot to put a soul into" . Throughout historical times, they have been used as forms of communication, be it in paintings, architecture, gifts or decor. Although there are about 400,000 species of flowering plants in the world, some of the most popular include:

  • Rose

  • Symbolism of Rose
    Red rose -Universal symbol of romantic love.
    Yellow rose -Reflects glee and affection and can be used on Friendship Day.
    White rose- Symbol of purity and chastity, and is thus commonly used for decorations at weddings.
    Orange rose - Desire and enthusiasm, a perfect medium for those who want to take things beyond friendship.
    Pink rose- reflects tenderness and is symbolic of gratitude and appreciativeness.



  • Plumeria or Frangipani

  • These dainty little flowers come in tints of white, pink, yellow and red. They have different meanings in different cultures. The most common image that comes to mind when thinking of a plumeria flower is that of a Hawaiian mood. But did you know that in Vietnam, plumeria is said to have remedial properties? For instance, it is used to treat skin inflammation, indigestion and high blood pressure. In some cultures, it is believed to be a sign of immortality, because of its quality of bearing flowers even after it has been uprooted!

    Plumeria or Frangipani


  • Carnation

  • The main significance of carnations include love and fascination, although different colors of carnations may have different meanings, similar to the meanings of roses. For instance, red carnations are symbolic of love, pink carnations of gratefulness and white carnations are associated with purity and luck. Moreover, striped carnations are sometimes a symbol of rejection.



  • Marigold

  • These mainly come in hues of orange and are said to be symbolic of grief. Ironically, in some cultures such as Hinduism, it is considered to be a sacred flower and has great religious as well as spiritual significance. Garlands made of marigold flowers (also called genda phool in Hindi) are thus a common sighting in Hindu temples and weddings. It is also believed to have medicinal properties.



  • Tulip

  • The primary meaning of tulips is associated with perfect love. This flower had its origin in Persia and Turkey, however, now, it is popularly linked with the Netherlands. Blooming in a variety of colors, the purple tulips most often represent royalty, while white tulips are a sign of forgiveness and red tulips represent true love. Moreover, the ones with a black center express a heart burned in passionate love, while variegated tulips are a representation of 'beautiful eyes'.



  • Sunflower

  • Sunflowers symbolise happiness and cheerfulness. They exhibit phototropism, i.e, they grow towards the sun, hence the name "sunflower". This attribute has also lead to the sunflower being a symbol of faith, warmth, vitality and life.



  • Lily

  • Lilies , particularly the white variety, are widely regarded as symbols of chastity. In accordance with ancient Greek and Roman mythology, the Lily is a flower of feminine nature and is associated with motherhood. It comes in different colors and has a number of types, each with a particular significance. For instance, a water lily symbolises enlightenment while the lily of the valley symbolises elegance. Moreover, calla lilies are used both in weddings and in funerals.



  • Chrysanthemum

  • Chrysanthemum has diverse meanings, depending on its color and culture. The Japanese for example, regard chrysanthemum as being associated with longevity and it is the symbol of the Japanese royal family, while it bears a positive and optimistic meaning in the United States. Moreover, red chrysanthemums represent love while the white ones symbolise death.



  • Jasmine

  • These beautiful aromatic flowers are most commonly associated with elegance, grace and sensuality. It is of great religious significance in some Asian countries. Indian women also commonly use jasmine flowers or Chameli ke phool as hair adornments.



  • Lotus

  • The Lotus flower basically symbolizes the clarity of heart as well as the mind. In other words the Lotus flower represents strength, good luck, long life as well as honor and respect. Some scholars have even talked of the lotus flower being a universal representation of the spiritual presence in human lives.



  • Orchid

  • An orchid stands for love, beauty and luxury. But as against its external looks, orchids also symbolize strength. Historically, the orchid flower signifies wealth, love and of course, beauty.

  • Iris

  • The iris flower meanings hail the glory of truth, friendship and trust. Now, you know the best gift for Friendship day is to let your dearest friend know with a bunch of iris, how much he/she means to you. Faith is an important pillar in our life. Faith in the Almighty as well as your dear ones is best captured by iris. Tell your partner that you have complete faith in him/her by giving an iris.



  • Daisy

  • A common daisy flower meaning is innocence. Devoid of any sin or guilt, daisy is the perfect symbol of innocence. Daisy is often used while confessing undying love. Though the use of flowers for proposing love may be ancient but daisy captures the language of love best with its silence.



    Thus, there is a myriad of flowers existent in nature today. Out of these, we humans use certain varieties to connect with other people in different ways. Nearly all such flowers denote something or the other, including virtues and vices, and these meanings have evolved over the centuries, through religious and cultural beliefs as well as ancient mythology. Therefore, it is important that we know the language of the flowers to communicate in all the right ways. So what flower did you pick today?