Friday, July 8, 2016

The Secret Language of Flora

What's prettier than a cat and a flower?

To some people (and cats), a flower is a flower. A petaled, colorful plant specimen. To other's, flowers are a secret message. There is something called floriography, which is the use of flowers to communicate an intended message. Floriography was especially popular in the Victorian Era. 

Several years ago I had a phase of listening to a lot of audiobooks from the Victorian era. It is especially great to listen to these novels rather than read because the language is so delightful to hear. Messages were conveyed in such proper tones, things were not directly said but expressed through flourishes in the langues but also with subtly. So it is no surprise that these Victorian's with their restrained and deliberate yet elegant means of communication would chose to use flowers to secretly send messages that one did not want to speak aloud. Sometimes, it wasn't just the flower that conveyed a secret message, it was the way the flowers were arranged. The same type of flower arranged in different ways could mean completely different things. 

My cat Mue Mue is here posing with a poppy. Poppy's to me mean childhood and breaking rules. (because where I grew up in California it was supposedly illegal to pick them.). But according to the rules of floriography, Poppy's mean wealth and success. Even though Mue Mue is a cat with no bank account, he gives of an aura of wealth and success. It is his confidence. He walks around like he is the king of the universe. So it is very apt that my little fellow would pose with a poppy.

There is still a bit of the language of flowers existing in modern days. Most people associate roses with romantic love. But what about other flowers? Here are what some other flowers use to mean to people long ago:

  • If you give someone a white Camellia, it means you think they are adorable!
  • Heather means solitude. So a bouquet of heather might be a bit of either the sender is saying they want solitude or they think you should have solitude. 
  • Tulips express lots of different types of love. Yellow tulips mean hopeless love. Red tulips mean undying love. Purple tulip means forever love and white tulip means one sided love.
  • Forget-me-not means true love and does not have anything to do with forgetfulness.
  • Sweet Pea means gratitude.
  • Fungus means loneliness and disgust. I would love to get a fungus bouquet! Although it wouldn't be as much of a delight if I knew it meant someone was disgusted with me. 
  • Marigold means pain and grief.
These are just a few flowers and their meanings. If you want to learn more, read this wikipedia page.


"Plant Symbolism." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 June 2016. Web. 09 July 2016. <>

"The Language of Flowers | Archives | Aggie Horticulture." The Language of Flowers | Archives | Aggie Horticulture. Aggie Horticulture, n.d. Web. 09 July 2016. <>

"Flower Symbolism and Floriography." Avas Flowers News. Avas Flowers, n.d. Web. 09 July 2016. <>.


Love, Mom said...

Really like the pic of the CA poppy with the check decoration on it. Mue Mue communing with the poppies - I think he likes them. I like the poppy the the treasure inside.

Amber said...

Mue Mue doesn't like to admit that he has a sensitive side, but the way he is delighted by flowers reveals all!