Flowers are found in so many places.

Whether it be in nature, at a party, celebration or solemn occasion, flowers are used in a
variety of ways to represent and serve as a beautiful reflection of the event. Some flowers
have different meanings between different cultures as well, so it’s important to understand
what flowers can mean to certain people to avoid any potential upset.

With so many flowers to choose from, it can be hard to know what all of them mean,
symbolise and represent. We have created the ultimate guide to flowers and flower
etiquette to help with your upcoming flower and arrangement choices.

Anthurium

Anthurium

Also known as the Flamingo Flower, Painted Tongue, Painter’s Palette and Boy Flower, it’s a symbol of hospitality. Its name stems from the Greek word which means “tail flower”. Like the hospitality they represent, they are long-lasting and very beautiful.

Aster

Aster

In Ancient times this flower was said to ward off evil serpents by burning its leaves. The perfume emitted would help remove any lingering evil spirits. Today, the flower is a symbol of love and patience.

They appear in a star-shaped form and come in a variety of colours such as white, pink, lavender, blue, and purple, with mainly yellow as its central colour.

It is also the September birth flower and used for 20th wedding anniversary gifts.

Alstroemeria

Alstroemeria

Likened in appearance to a miniature lily, the alstroemeria flower comes in a variety of colours, including white, golden yellows, orange, pink, apricot, lavender and purple.

The flower is a great symbol of friendship and devotion. This is said to be due to the nature of the leaves, which grow upside down, twisting and growing out from the stem so the bottom is facing upwards, much like the twists and turns of a standard friendship.

Amaryllis

Amaryllis

This beautiful red flower has many meanings. According to Greek legend, Amaryllis fell in love with Alteo, but her love for him was unrequited. She sought advice from the oracle of Delphi, who advised her to dress in maiden white and go to the door of Alteo for 30 nights. Each night, she pierced her heart with a golden arrow. When Alteo finally opened the door, a crimson flower sprung from her blood was there before him.

Despite this history of tragic romance, the flower represents innocence, devotion and silence in Japanese culture, and the Western interpretations usually reflect virtue and chastity.

Anemone

Anemone

This flower’s name comes from the Greek word for “windflower”. According to Ancient Greek legend, the flower sprung from the tears of Aphrodite as she mourned the death of Adonis.

This flower is thought to bring good luck and protect against evil. Legend has it that when the petals close up, it is a sign that rain is approaching.

Azalea

Azalea

Azalea flowers are one of the most popular flowers today, and make for a great addition to many centrepieces and bouquets. Like other flowers, there are different meanings for this flower across different cultures.

In Britain, the flower is symbolic of temperance. It was often sent as a gift to someone who you were hoping to influence, and to change their mind about their feelings and affections.

In Japan and China, these flowers serve as a reminder of time spent at home.

Added to this are different meanings associated with colour: white means purity and restraint, red and dark pink shows romance and love, purple reflects on a jovial occasion and is less serious, while yellow azaleas focus on friendship and family.

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

This highly distinctive flower is often brightly coloured and is native to South Africa. They also go by the name of Crane Flowers, and are a representation of joyfulness and paradise itself.

They are also used as the 9th wedding anniversary gift flower of choice.

Bluebell

Bluebell

This striking blue flower has the same meaning across varying cultures, serving as a symbol of gratitude.

Often used as a gift to thank others, these flowers represent appreciation and recognition for their efforts.

Bouvardia

Bouvardia

These flowers were named after the personal physician to Louis XIII, Charles Bouvard. Modern varieties of this flower have names such as Pink Luck, Royal Katty and Albatross.

They grow in small clusters stemming from one branch, and have a gentle scent and dainty appearance. They often represent enthusiasm and therefore make a great gift for a happy occasion.

Cactus Flower

Cactus Flower

The colour and the style of flower can vary depending on the type of cactus plant it is. There are many varieties available and the flower generally blooms in white or yellow colours, however there are some that will bloom with purple or reddish tones.

In Japanese culture, a cactus flower embodies lust. However in Western culture, the cactus flower represents bravery, warmth, affection, and most commonly, maternal love.

Camellia

Camellia

Camellias have different meanings, depending on their colouring. In general within Western cultures, camellia’s are usually related to tea time. They make a great gift for men to wish them good luck for a particular event or circumstance. They can also express qualities like excellence and perfection.

In Japan, you may want to avoid giving these as a gift (red and white varieties) unless they are for a funeral, as they mean longing or sadness.

In China, they are very popular and a highly respected flower, usually symbolising renewed life.

Carnation

Carnation

Carnations are beautiful flowers that have various meanings depending on their colour.

Red coloured carnations represent romance and love, and in Japan red carnations are often used as a common gift on Mother’s day.

Yellow carnations in Western countries usually symbolise rejection, and so are best to be avoided for a romantic gesture.

Chrysanthemum - White

Chrysanthemum - White

In many cultures white chrysanthemums represent grief. However in traditional Chinese culture, the white chrysanthemum is a sign of nobility and was grown by noble families.

Nowadays they symbolise strong life, and the red variety of chrysanthemums are a great gift for the elderly. In Germany white chrysanthemums are taken home on Christmas Eve, as they are thought to be the Christ Child Himself.

As well as being a common funeral flower in Western culture, it can also symbolise truth and honesty, and is given to a person you wish to know the truth about. Buddhists also offer them at altars due to their strong Yang energy.

Daffodil

Daffodil

The daffodil has many wide and varied meanings across the ages and cultures. According to superstition, they have been associated with death, and the Ancient Greeks thought the dead ate these flowers.

For those who own a poultry farm, it’s said that if there are daffodils in the home it will stop your hens from laying eggs. In Maine, USA, it is thought that pointing at a daffodil with your index finger will actually stop the flower from blooming.

On the brighter side, the Chinese believe the flower is a sign of good luck and provides good feng shui. In Japanese culture, they’re a sign of respect.

Daisy

Daisy

Daisies are native to north and central Europe. They have an Anglo Saxon heritage, and their name originates from the name “Day’s Eye” because they open up at dawn just as the sun is beginning to rise.

This flower symbolises innocence and purity, and sometimes also new beginnings.

Delphinium

Delphinium

The name of this flower comes from the Greek word “delphis”, which means dolphin. They are also commonly known as Larkspur, Lark’s Heel, Lark’s Claw and Knight’s Spur.

These flowers were used in the past by Native Americans and European settlers to create blue dye, and is thought to have also been used to drive away scorpions.

This is the July birth flower, making it a great birthday gift for those born within this month, and these flowers also embody a feeling of lightness and high spirits.

Frangipani

Frangipani

This flower originates from South America and the Caribbean Islands, but warm, tropical areas will have these flowers growing naturally as well.

There are a few different meanings behind this beautiful flower, such as the strength to withstand tough challenges, or connecting with spirits and ghosts, as well as intense love.

The biggest interpretation of the flower is strength through tough times, primarily due to the fact that the flower can withstand heat levels of up to 260°C before catching alight and burning.

In Chinese culture, these flowers represent affection and love during times where it may be inappropriate to discuss these feelings.

Freesia

Freesia

This attractive bloom was named after the German physician Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese. With some flowers, the white variety will often be the strongest smelling. In the case of the Freesia, the pink and red varieties have a more noticeable scent.

This flower is often used for 7th wedding anniversary gifts, and are known to represent innocence and friendship.

Gerbera

Gerbera

Gerberas are actually a part of the sunflower family, which should come as no surprise considering how bright and cheerful the gerbera can be.

Gerberas have a long vase life, so make a great gift for someone who might be wanting some flowers to last a while.

There are many different meanings for this flower, which could be due to their family cousins being the daisy and sunflower. Gerbera’s generally reflect on showing innocence and purity, however they are also a great symbol of cheerfulness.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

From the Latin word ‘gladius’ meaning ‘sword’, this flower has a strong history spanning across Africa right through to the Mediterranean.

It is the 40th wedding anniversary flower of choice and is also the birth flower for August.

The gladiolus symbolises strength, moral integrity and infatuation, indicating the receiver has pierced the heart of the giver with passion.

Heather

Heather

The scientific name of heather, ‘Calluna vulgaris’, originates from the Greek work ‘Kallune’, meaning to ‘clean or brush’, and the Latin ‘vulgaris’ means common. Heather flowers are native to Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia, Russia and North America, and their branches are thought to have been used in the past to create bedding, baskets and thatching.

Today, these flowers come in a variety of shades including white, pink, purple and red.

Heather is said to bring protective powers, and embodies admiration and good luck.

Hyacinth

Hyacinth

According to Greek legend, Apollo the sun god and Zephyr the god of the west wind were competing for the attention of a Greek boy named Hyakinthos. One day, Apollo was teaching Hyakinthos to throw a discus which made Zephyr jealous, so he blew the discus back towards them and it struck Hyakinthos in the head, killing him. A flower grew from the blood of Hyakinthos and Apollo named the flower Hyacinth, after him. This will be one reason why the flower symbolises sport or play. It also represents perseverance, and blue hyacinths in particular express sincerity.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea

There can be multiples meanings associated to this flower, regardless of colour. In Old English times, they were thought to be unlucky for young women as it will stop them from finding a suitable husband. If they grew near the front door of a home, it would curse the daughters of the house to live a lonely life.

The modern Western interpretation of the flower can be one of three things: a thank you gift to someone for being understanding, heartlessness, or frigidity.

The flowers have a more positive meaning in Chinese culture, and denote expressions of love, gratitude and enlightenment.

Iris

Iris

The iris flower is the birth flower for February, and is also used for celebrating 25th wedding anniversaries for couples. It is also the state flower of Tennessee, USA.

In the past, iris flowers were planted over the graves of women to help summon the goddess Iris, who would help those who have passed with their journey to Heaven. The three upright petals of the flower are said to denote faith, valor and wisdom.

Jasmine

Jasmine

“Yasameen” in Arabic means white flower, which in turn connotes feminine beauty and temptation for the jasmine flower. However across other cultures, slightly different meanings reign true.

In Asia, jasmine is seen as a heavenly flower and in India, Kama - the goddess of love - strikes her victims with an arrow that is laced with jasmine flowers. Jasmine connotes both seduction and sacredness.

Lavender

Lavender

Lavender has a lot of healing and soothing properties, and is often found as a key ingredient in natural remedies. Purple is the colour associated with the crown chakra, which is the centre for higher purpose or spirituality.

Because lavender is purple in colour, this establishes a connection due to its use in healing and natural remedies. In general, lavender can symbolise purity, silence, devotion, caution, serenity, grace and calmness.

Lilac

Lilac

The story of the lilac flower originates from Greek mythology. A beautiful nymph named Syringa was being chased, and to avoid the chase she turned herself into the flowering bush which we know today as lilacs.

Traditionally 8th wedding anniversary flowers, they are also known to determine the upcoming season of Spring.

White varieties personify youthful innocence, while purple flowers represent the first emotions of love.

Lily

Lily

Traditionally white lilies will symbolise chastity and virtue. But as more colours of this flower became available and more popular, additional meanings have become associated with different species.

Peruvian lilies represent friendship and devotion, while white stargazer lilies express sympathy and pink stargazers exhibit wealth and prosperity. They are also the 30th wedding anniversary flower, showing humility and devotion.

They are a common funeral flower, and so also symbolise the soul of the departed receiving restored innocence after death.

In Chinese culture they are used widely as wedding flowers, as they represent one hundred years of love.

Lisianthus

Lisianthus

This flower has a number of names used to identify it. Also known as the Texas Bluebell, Prairie Gentian or the Lira de San Pedro, these flowers depict an outgoing nature.

They are said to also mean “appreciation”, and so are a great way to show someone you are thankful.

Lotus

Lotus

The lotus is one of the most important flowers in Chinese culture. The lotus flower is thought to represent the holy seat of the Buddha, and is recognised as so by many Buddhists all over the world.

In China, it symbolises ultimate purity and perfection of the heart and mind, because of the way the flower rises beautifully from the mud. The seeds are also used in Chinese medicine.

Mimosa

Mimosa

Beginning in the 1950’s, the mimosa flower is considered a staple flower to be given to women for International Women’s Day on March 8th. This is especially true in Italy, Russia, Albania and Georgia. Both small bunches or full trees are given as gifts on this day.

They are also offered as a sign of delicacy and sensitivity.

Morning Glory

Morning Glory

Morning glory is a stunning flower with many different stories behind it, making it quite an interesting flower. In Chinese folklore, the flower means that lovers can only meet on one special day of the year. This is due to the story of a couple who were madly in love and saw each other every day, neglecting their responsibilities. Eventually, their chores had built up so much, the gods decided that the lovers could only see each other for one day in the year. For this reason, it is advised that you do not use morning glory’s in a wedding bouquet.

In Victorian literature, it appears the morning glory was a sign of a love that never ended. The flower can be seen on some gravestones which suggests a meaning of everlasting love.

Christians have a belief that the flower is a representation of life itself; one flower is one life, represented by the hours of the sun during the day. and the withering and final death at nightfall.

Orchid

Orchid

The orchid is one of the most common flowers in existence, and over 25,000 species are available. It’s very distinguishable and has many meanings which are dependent on their colours.

Pink orchids represent respect, royalty and admiration, and are often given to celebrate 14th and 28th wedding anniversaries. Purple flowers are given to other to show respect and admiration. Red orchids, just like red roses, show love, passion and desire. White orchids make for a great Christening gift, symbolising innocence and elegance.

The orchid in Chinese culture is a symbol of perfection, elegance, integrity, nobility and friendship.

Peony

Peony

According to superstition, if a family has a peony bush in their garden and it blooms wonderfully, the family will have good fortune ahead for them. However, if the leaves dry up, or the flowers fade or have an unpleasant smell, the family will need to be prepared for a potential disaster.

Traditionally, the peony is a symbol of romance, prosperity, good fortune and happy marriages. It’s also a common gift for 12 year wedding anniversaries.

In China, this flower symbolises nobility and is the national flower. It also signifies opulence, richness, beauty, honour, and high social status.

Poinsettia

Poinsettia

Commonly known as the Christmas Star or the Christmas Flower, it is said that this flower has a Mexican heritage. The story suggests a child gathered weeds from the side of the road to place at a church altar on Christmas Eve. The weeds miraculously turned into blooming red flowers we know now as poinsettias.

Considered by the Aztecs as a symbol of purity, today they are representative of good cheer, success and celebrations, and are the December birth flower.

Poppies - Red

Poppies - Red

In the UK, poppies are worn traditionally during the month of November as a remembrance gesture for those who died serving their country in war. This originated from the many poppies that grow in Flanders Fields where many English serviceman died during World War I.

However, the red poppy can have a completely different meaning in other cultures. For the Chinese, red poppies are a reminder of the Opium Wars during the 1800’s.

Primrose

Primrose

There are a various meanings for this particular flower. In Japanese culture it symbolises helplessness or desperation. Conversely, in Western culture the primrose can signify young or “early” love.

The name stems from the Latin word “primus” meaning “first”, given due to its early bloom in Spring. The flower can also symbolise belonging and nurturing.

Protea

Protea

The protea flower is thought to be one of the oldest families of flowers on Earth, spanning back as much as 300 million years. Greek legend says the flower was named after the son of Poseidon, Proteus.

This flower can change shape, size, hues and textures, and comes in more than 1,400 varieties. The flower therefore symbolises diversity and courage.

Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace

It is said that the wife of King James I, Queen Anne, was challenged to make lace as beautiful as a flower. In her attempt to make the lace, she pricked her finger. The Queen Anne’s Lace flower with its purple-red centre is said to represent a droplet of her blood.

The flower also symbolises sanctuary.

Ranunculus

Ranunculus

This flower is also known as Buttercup and Coyote Eyes. Native to Asia, it is used for medicinal purposes. it is thought that the mythological Coyote was tossing his eyes into the air when Eagle snatched them. When Coyote was unable to see, he created eyes from the buttercup.

A bouquet of these stunning flowers often connotes the message that you’re dazzled by the recipient’s charms.

Rose - Red

Rose - Red

Roses are often used for various occasions. Different coloured roses can have various meanings, but red roses are a true symbol of love and romance.

Commonly used for occasions such as Valentine’s Day, red roses are a great gift for that special someone.

Rose - Yellow

Rose - Yellow

The yellow variant of the stunning rose flower has undergone varying meanings over the years. In Victorian times in Western countries, yellow roses primarily represented jealousy.

During recent years, yellow roses are now a symbol of friendship, joy, care and devotion. However, in Japanese culture, the original meaning of “jealousy” still reigns true.

Snapdragon

Snapdragon

While their origin is unknown, they are thought to be originally from Spain and Italy. Their common name is due to the snap that occurs when the sides of the “dragon’s mouth” are gently squeezed.

According to tradition, concealing a snapdragon can make a person appear fascinating, making these flowers represent deception and graciousness.

Statice

Statice

Although a flower, this plant is also considered a herb. It is also known as “sea lavender”, and is commonly used dried flower arrangements, as well as in fresh bouquets.

Its botanical name is derived from the Greek word “limoniun”, meaning meadow, referring to their original habitat. The statice flower is commonly used to exemplify remembrance.

Sunflower

Sunflower

Originally grown in Central and South America, sunflowers were used predominantly for their oil and food before their pleasant beauty. Always brightening someone’s day, sunflowers are the 3rd wedding anniversary flower, and are also the state flower of Kansas, USA.

Sunflowers remarkably turn to face the sun where possible and express feelings of warmth, happiness, adoration and longevity.

Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea

These flowers have been traced back to 17th century Italy, however they vary greatly today to its original form. The sweet pea we know today is the outcome of crossbreeding performed by Scottish nurseryman, Harry Eckford. He created many varieties, including the Dorothy Eckford, the Lady Grisel Hamilton which is lavender in colour, and the King Edward VII which is scarlet in colour.

This flower often means blissful and delicate pleasure.

Tuberose

Tuberose

The tuberose flower has the rare ability to renew its fragrance for more than 48 hours after being picked. Growing over a metre tall, they were first discovered in India and Mexico several thousand years ago.

A favourite flower for King Louis XIV’s, it is considered one of the most fragrant of the flowers.

This flower embodies enchantment and igniting people’s innermost desires, which is why it is often used to decorate doorways and bedrooms of newlywed’s in India.

Tulip - Red

Tulip - Red

In Japanese culture red tulips take on the meaning of fame and popularity. However, in Western culture red tulips have a different meaning. According to Turkish legend, a prince named Farhad was in love with a maiden named Shirin. When he found out she had been killed, he was so upset he killed himself by riding his horse off a cliff.

It was said a red tulip sprang from each droplet of his blood, leading to the Western representation that red tulips symbolise perfect or eternal love.

Tulip - Yellow

Tulip - Yellow

Many flowers have different meanings across cultures, but the yellow tulips meaning is the same in all countries. Yellow tulips, although beautiful and stunning to admire, symbolise one-sided or unrequited love.

In Western countries, they also represent hopeless love.

Violet

Violet

Originating in the Nile Delta, the violet flower has a surprisingly strong scent for its small size.

In ancient mythology, it is believed that Flora, the goddess of flowers, created violets from the body of a butterfly.

This flower is a symbol of modesty, due to it hiding away its beauty under its leaves.

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