The language of flowers, sometimes called floriography, was a Victorian-era means of communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. This language was most commonly communicated through Tussie-Mussies, an art which has a following today. “Tussie-mussie” is a quaint, endearing term from the early 1400s for small, round bouquets of herbs and flowers with ­symbolic meanings.

The nuances of the language are now mostly forgotten, but red roses still imply passionate, romantic love and pink roses a lesser affection; white roses suggest virtue and chastity and yellow roses still stand for friendship or devotion. Also commonly known meanings are sunflowers, which can indicate either haughtiness or respect – they were the favorite flower of St. Julie Billiart for this reason. Gerbera (daisy) means innocence or purity. The iris, being named for the messenger of the gods in Greek mythology, still represents the sending of a message. An Anemone signifies unfading love. A pansy signifies thought, a daffodil respect, and a strand of ivy fidelity and friendship.


The notion of plants having meanings is traditional, as seen for example in the play Hamlet, (circa 1600), Act 4, Scene V, in the passage beginning "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance, ...". The 19th century interest in a language of flowers began in 17th century Ottoman Turkey, specifically the court in Constantinople, connected with the tulips from the Netherlands (see tulip mania). This was then introduced to Europe by two people, Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762, English), who introduced it to England in 1717, and Aubry de La Mottraye (1674–1743), who introduced it to the Swedish court in 1727. This was then eventually popularized in various European countries – in France it was popular from about 1810–1850, via such books as Le Langage des Fleurs ("The Language of Flowers", 1819, Charlotte de Latour), while in Britain it was popular during the Victorian age (roughly 1820–1880), in the US about 1830–1850, and spread worldwide.

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  • Rose (general)(Red) - Love ; I love you
  • Rose( white) - Eternal Love ; innocence; heavenly; secrecy and silence
  • Rose(pink) - Perfect happiness; please believe me
  • Rose(Yellow) - Friendship ; jealousy; try to care
  • Rose(Black) -Death
  • Rose(red and white) - Together; unity
  • Rose(thornless) - Love at first sight
  • Rose( single, full bloom) - I love you; I still love you
  • Rose bud - Beauty and youth ; a heart innocent of love
  • Rose bud(red) - Pure and lovely
  • Rose bud(white) - Girlhood
  • Rosebud (moss) - Confessions of love
  • Roses(Bouquet of full bloom) - Gratitude
  • Roses( Garland or crown of) - Beware of virtue; reward of merit; crown ; symbol of superior merit
  • Roses ( musk cluster) - Charming
  • Rose(tea) - I'll always remember
  • Rose(cabbage) - Ambassador of love
  • Rose(Christmas) - Tranquilize my anxiety; anxiety
  • Rose(damask) - Brilliant complexion
  • Rose(dark crimson) - Mourning
  • Rose(hibiscus) - Delicate beauty
  • Rose leaf - You may hope

Carnation (in general)
meaning: Bonds of affection; health and energy; fascination; woman love
Carnation (pink)
meaning: I'll never forget you
Carnation (purple)
meaning: Capriciousness; whimsical; changeable
Carnation (red)
meaning: My heart aches for you; admiration
Carnation (solid color)
meaning: Yes
Carnation (striped)
meaning: No; refusal; sorry I can't be with you; wish I could be with you
Carnation (white)
meaning: Sweet and lovely; innocence; pure love; woman's good luck gift
Carnation (yellow)
meaning: Rejection; disdain

More meanings: