Dictionaries and Definitions: The Victorian Quest for Symbolic Flower Meanings

Dictionaries and Definitions: The Victorian Quest for Symbolic Flower Meanings

Most people think that the Victorians developed the flower language, however it was two women from Europe’s 1700s who started the trend. Each of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and Aubry de La Mottraye, travelled to in the Ottoman Empire. They brought home the secrets of their floral symbolism language.


“Florianography (or the flower language) was a popular Victorian time craze, which consisted of sending coded messages with flowers. While it declined in the late nineteenth century, the concept of floral symbols is current. Like, for instance, artist Whitney Lynn created a project to decorate the San Diego International Airport using floral designs with particular meanings for sentiment.

This was the Lady Mary Wortley Montague, Seigneur Aubry de La Mottraye and Seigneur Aubry de Mottraye who brought the florature trend to Europe out of Ottoman Turkey. Numerous dictionaries on floriography followed the popularity of these dictionary. They included information about botanicals, novelty items like calendars, and lists of flowers with their symbolic meanings. Some of these meanings were inspired by legends, folklore and mythology (the daffodil’s association with egotism as an example) and others were derived from the actual flowers. In their flower dictionaries, writers often used an Eastern tradition known as Selam.

Victorian Era

The time of Victorian society, flowerography or floral language was utilized to provide subtle language. This coded botanical system could convey affection, desire or resentment, which allowed people of a period governed by strict etiquette to express their emotions within a way that was socially acceptable.

Books devoted to the flower language began to be popular during the 19th century’s early years, and dictionaries of flowers as well as their meanings emerged. There are many nuances to this flower-related language would differ depending on the kind of flower used, how it was presented and even the person who delivered the flower. These subtle expressions let room for interpretation and creativity. There are more than 1,400 different flowers, trees, herbs and other plant species are listed in the vocabulary of flowers. Though the meanings of the words was different from culture to culture, many of the sentiments were very similar.

The Evolution of Symbolism

From the beginning of time flower arrangements have been used to communicate deep feelings of respect, love, and sentiment. Old meanings change or disappear in the course of cultivation and their culture shifts.

In the era of flower languages, which was gaining popularity in the the 19th century in England and North America, authors penned simple guides and dictionaries that linked a particular flower to its symbolic meaning. They were frequently lavishly illustrated and adorned with emotional dedications.

Many of these symbols were taken from mythology, religion and folklore. For instance, daffodils are believed to symbolize egoism. inspired by the story of Narcissus and his falling in love with his own reflection while swimming in a lake. Some were inspired by the flowers’ characteristics or appearance. Mimosas for instance, evoke feelings of purity as they are sensitive to touch as well as close at night.

Cultural Influences

The Victorian Era saw the emergence of flower language to be a subtle method of communications. This was a perfect fit for a culture in which explicit verbal expression of emotions was frowned upon and etiquette played a significant role in social interaction.

The art of floristry was popular among those of the upper classes and magazines like Godey’s Ladies’ Book often ran features on the subject. The game was played out in salons where blindfolded people the hoa chia buon jar of flowers to discover their feelings and fortune, or even fate.

In the period of this time, there various flower dictionaries available that gave every flower each with a specific significance. They had a wide range of meanings and included, for example, the flower hyacinth was considered to be a symbol of beauty, however it also represented loyalty and forgiveness. These theories were based on a variety of sources, including literary works from the classical period, Shakespearean associations, and earlier French floral histories.


Flowers are a popular symbolism until today. It is utilized by artists, editors, designers marketing, florists poets and writers. It is commonly used to define it.

It was at its peak during the Victorian period, the art of floriography was an ephemeral literary trend. There were hundreds of books written about flowers, plants and even plants. There were lists that explained the symbolic meanings of floral arrangements, plants and herb. Other were based on legends or folklore. The daffodils’ connection to egotism, for example was derived from the legend of Narcissus and his obsession with reflections of his own.

Floral symbols convey a wide array of feelings and messages. They also vary by color because each color evokes specific feelings and significance. A passionate red rose represents love and affection, while the delicate white flower symbolizes the purity and innocence.

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