So begins the much-quoted poem written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1794. But did you know that in many cultures flowers have a very specific meaning? In Victorian times, flowers were used to say everything from “I love you” to “I don’t love you any more!” If a flower bouquet was given and the recipient agreed with the sentiments expressed, he or she showed this by wearing a flower from the bouquet in the hair or on the clothing.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you may want to know just what you are saying with the bouquet you send your loved one, so here are a few familiar flowers and their traditional meanings as listed in Kate Greenaway’s Language of Flowers.
- Red Rose = “You are pure and lovely”
- White Rose = “I am worthy of your love”
- Yellow Rose = “Jealousy” or “Decrease of love”
- Daisies = “I share your sentiments” or “Innocence”
- Ivy = “Fidelity” or “Marriage”
- Red Tulip = “Declaration of Love”
- Yellow Tulip = “Hopeless Love”
- Lily = “Purity and Sweetness”
- Heather = “Solitude”
- Larkspur = “Lightness” or “Brevity”
- Dwarf Sunflower = “Adoration”
- Tall Sunflower = “Haughtiness”