Floriography: A Guide to the Beautiful Vocabulary of Flowers

Floriography is a word given to the hidden meanings that flowers hold. Let’s take a look at its origins and a few examples of what Floriography outlines.

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Throughout the ages, humanity has cultivated flowers for decoration and even medicine. Mythology brought a great deal of symbolism and meaning to all of the different types of flowers. Let’s take a look at the vocabulary of flowers—Floriography—and where it comes from. We are even giving you a glimpse into the dictionary of what meanings different flowers hold to the Western nations. Keep reading to get all your Spring flower details!

The History of Floriography

Floriography is referred to as the language of flowers. The concept attained its name and popularity from a fad in the Victorian Era. To follow this increase in attention, books were published and helped to create a vocabulary for certain flowers. Many were thought to have been used as what was referred to as a ‘coffee-table book’. Coffee-table books are large hardcover books with beautiful imagery meant to enhance the look of a coffee table or another furniture piece in a living space.


Despite this somewhat superficial use, the concept has endured through various books and other media that include the use of flower imagery and symbolism. During the Victorian Era, Floriography enabled people to communicate feelings that may have been socially unacceptable or even forbidden. Before it was even published in books the concept is said to have originated from Lady Mary Wortley Montagu who is credited with its development.


Le langage des fleurs is said to have been one of the first famous books published specifically on the topic of Floriography. This book was published in 1836 by Louise Cortambert under the pen name Madame Charlotte de la Tour. Since then, there have been many other dictionaries of flowers that hold some of the same meanings.

Flowers and Their Meaning

There are so many beautiful flowers out in the world, all of which have their own meaning. Make sure if you ever want to send a message in this manner you do plenty of research! Certain flowers may have one meaning in one country and then an entirely different one in another. This can cause your intentions to become misconstrued! That being said, let’s take a look at a few common examples of meaning according to the Floriography language.


Rose Bouquet Flowers Floriography

The flower’s symbolism can not only vary from country to country but also vary by color. Roses do have the meaning of love tied to them, but that’s not all. Specifically, red roses are the flower of love and deep emotion, whereas a yellow rose would symbolize more friendship-related love. These are just examples of the different things that even one type of flower can convey.


Daffodil Field Flowers Floriography

Another example is the Narcissus flower which is also known as the daffodil. The name is Greek in origin and translates to numbness, which reflects the sedative effect of the plant. This flower is quite interesting as it has both a negative and a positive connotation depending upon where it is in the world. Daffodils have an association with narcissism and numbness in one culture but symbolize renewal and rebirth in another as it is one of the first bulbs to appear in spring.


Next, we will take a look at the amaranth flower. According to the Floriography definition, Amaranth holds the symbolism for immortality and unending love due to its hardy nature. The name amaranthus was coined by the ancient Greeks and translates to “one that does not wither.” This flower attained its name not only due to its ability to grow in a wide variety of situations but also due to the fact that once it is cut, amaranths take much longer to wither than most other flowers. Due to this longevity after being cut, the Amaranth became a common choice to decorate graves and show enduring love.



Salvia is the flower commonly known as sage and includes a genus of about a thousand different species of perennial herbs and shrubs. Sage is known for its healing properties, which led to its name being derived from the Latin word “salvere” which means to feel healthy. Due to its healing properties and use in medicine, sage symbolizes good health, thoughtfulness, wisdom, and longevity. Dried sage is used in purification rituals and religious ceremonies from many different cultures as well.

We have only begun to scratch the surface of all of the different meanings that flowers hold. What are some of your favorites?

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