Do you know what floriography and Hanakotoba are? Need a clue? The second is tied to Japanese tradition, but basically they mean the same thing… Did you guess? Both terms are synonymous with the language of flowers.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the British Ambassador to Constantinople at the end of the XVIII century, is said to have been the first to write about “selam”, the Turkish tradition that attributes symbolic meanings to all sorts of things, including plants and flowers. Evidently, news of this “curiosity” spread around Victorian Britain and France like wildfire, creating such a stir that a great many books, dictionaries and like compendiums were written to recount and explain the meaning of flowers.
Spring has always been known as the season of flowers. Their bright splashes of colour dress-up the countryside, embellish trees, decorate window sills, and permeate gardens with the welcome scent of spring. We then chose to celebrate this wonderful month by investigating the subtle messages hidden by the petals of certain flowers with a common trait… can you guess which? Right on! It’s yellow, the colour of lemons!
Lemon blossoms are not yellow, but they are indeed the parents our website’s star. In floriography, lemon flowers stand for discretion.
Yellow rose are generally associated with jealousy or infidelity, and therefore often signify dying love, although they may also represent the feelings of freedom and happiness of the donor. Remember that giving someone a mixed bouquet of red and yellow roses indicates solidarity.
Emblems of love, respect, devotion, that may also indicate outright adulation. These meanings derived from the “heliotropic” nature of these flowers, meaning they orient themselves east to west through the day, following the course of the sun like loyal subjects, grateful for the warmth and well being it provides. Greek mythology recounts how Clitie fell in love with the Sun god Apollo and spent nine days looking at the bright chariot of her beloved before becoming the first sunflower.
Broom blossoms (Genista gen.)
Celebrated by Leopardi in the namesake poem “La Ginestra”, in Italian folklore the shrub is also known as “Christ’s whip”, due to the shape of its branches. Its blossoms and green shoots are said to have diuretic properties and relieve cardiac edema. Broom blossoms represent humility.
Selfishness, uncertainty, unrequited love
In mythology the poppy is a symbol for Morpheus, god of Sleep. It represents oblivion.
Marigold (Calendula gen.)
In spite of their useful medicinal properties and sunny color, in floriography marigolds mean pain and sadness.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
It is said that in bygone days peasant women gathered these flowers at the beginning of spring to prepare a detoxicant. Even their botanical name reflects their status as a cure-all: it derives from taraxos > disorder and akos > remedy. They represent coquetry and happiness.
Widely known as the symbol for Women’s Day, these yellow blossoms are typical of acacia trees belonging to the mimosacee family. In floriography they symbolise personal modesty, and ideal beauty.
In western cultures Chrysanthemums are associated with mourning, while in the orient they are used to celebrate and symbolise birth. This shade of yellow indicates restrained yet warm feelings of affection; the gift of a chrysanthemum often represents an overt declaration of friendship.
Passion and sensual, elegant beauty.
Yellow tulips stand for desperate love, while red ones are a love declaration. Variegated tulips express admiration for the beautiful eyes of the recipient.
First flower of the spring, primroses are symbols of young , newly blossomed love, and also hopeful ingenuity.
Native to China, it represents courting and beauty that is young and fragile at the same time. Its colorful petals are in fact quite delicate.