the language of flowers

February 02, 2020

the language of flowers


During the 19th century Victorian era, Floriography, or the study of the 'language of flowers', was used as a means of decoding flowers and their symbolism. During this time, when free expression was kept under wraps, it had been considered poor etiquette to communicate feelings of passion directly with words. Flowers became the coded language of courtship; offering flower bouquets was an efficient way to deliver inconspicuous, secret messages. Not only was the manner of delivery meaningful, but the flower type and color dictated the difference between saying "I'm sorry" and "I love you."

‘Floral dictionaries’ evolved as a response to this new language. These new 'how-to' books, were fully illustrated with anecdotes and instructions for deciphering the unspoken words of flowers. In addition to decoding each flower, there were stories of folklore, herbal recipes and detailed illustrations. Differing from the science of botany, these reference books grew popular during the late 1800s with rise of the middle class culture. John Ingram’s, Flora Symbolica (1819), one of the first more comprehensive dictionaries, listed one hundred flowers and their unique meanings, as well as, the proper etiquette for giving the correct flowers. Another 'influencer' of Victorian times, Miss Carruthers of Inverness, published Flower Lore: The Teachings of Flowers, Historical, Legendary, Poetical and Symbolic (1879). Her book was a popular resource amongst socialites.

Thankfully, sending flowers is still in vogue today, though there are plenty of flower emojis to choose from, in a pinch.

💐 Bouquet 🌸 Cherry Blossom 💮 White Flower 🌹 Rose  🌺 Hibiscus 🌻 Sunflower 🌼 Blossom 🌷 Tulip.

If you are still planning on a flower bouquet for Valentine's Day, please refer to the cheat sheet below, just to make sure there are no mixed messages!

 

 




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