Colorful Expressions: How Floriography Transcends Time and Culture

Colorful Expressions: How Floriography Transcends Time and Culture


A lot of people believe that the Victorians were the first to develop the language of flowers but in reality, it was two women from Europe’s 1700s who kick-started the craze. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Aubry de la Mottraye travelled together through the Ottoman Empire and brought back their knowledge of a secret hidden language made up of flower symbols.


The art of floral inscription (or flowers in the word) was a major Victorian period craze which involved transmitting messages via flowers. Although it dwindled at the end of the nineteenth century, floral symbolism remains current. Whitney Lynn, a contemporary artist, created to promote San Diego International Airport a project that used flowers with certain implications.

The popularity of the florature trend started in Ottoman Turkey, and was carried to Europe by Lady Mary Wortley Montague and Seigneur Aubry de Mottraye. Numerous floriography dictionaries followed the popularity of these dictionary. They included botanical information along with novelty products such as calendars and lists of floral symbols. These meanings came from legends of mythology, folklore, and mythology (the association of the daffodil to egotism as an example) Some took their inspiration directly from the flower. Interestingly, the authors of the works frequently referenced an Eastern practice known as Selam in their dictionary of flowers.

Victorian Era

In Victorian society, flowerography or floral language was utilized as a method of subliminal communications. The coded system of floral symbols could be utilized to convey love, disdain or desire. This allowed Victorians who were bound by strict social rules and customs, to communicate their emotions with a manner that was acceptable.

In the 19th century books on the symbolic meaning of flowers and languages were published. The meanings of the flower language vary based on what flower was made use of, the manner in which it was delivered or the person who presented the flower. Expressions that were nuanced let room for interpretation and creativity. The vocabulary of flower names grew hoa chia buon to include over 1,400 varieties of flowers, plants, and even trees. Although the vocabulary varied from culture to culture but many of the concepts were the same.

The Development of Symbolism

Since the beginning, flowers have been used to communicate deep feelings that express respect, love and emotions. As culture evolves and plants are more extensively cultivated, old meanings are modified or discarded, and new meanings emerge.

As the flower language craze grew in popularity in 18th century England as well as North America, authors penned intuitive guides and dictionaries that linked a particular flower to its symbolic definition. They are usually beautifully illustrated, and they’re attached to sentimental dedications.

Some of these mythological symbols were derived from religion, mythology and folklore. Narcissus’s story of being in love with him at a pool has prompted the association of daffodils and pride. Some were inspired by the plants’ appearance or characteristics. Mimosas, as an example, bring feelings of purity because they’re sensitive as well as close at night.

Cultural Influences

At the time of the Victorian Era, flower language flourished as a method of subtle communications. This was a perfect fit for a culture in which expressive speech was considered rude and proper manners was the most important aspect of conversations in social settings.

Floriography was popular with people of the upper classes, and magazines such as Godey’s Ladies’ Book often ran sections about it. The game was played in places where players were blindfolded and picked flowers from a jar in order to determine their love, fortune or fate.

There were many flower dictionaries which gave each flower its own meaning. These lexicons were quite diverse; for instance, the hyacinth was believed to be a symbol of beauty, however it also represented the concept of forgiveness and loyalty. These interpretations were based on many sources, such as literary works from the classical period, Shakespearean associations, and earlier French floral histories.


Flower symbols are still in use to this day. It is utilized by artists, editors, designers and florists as well as marketers, poets, and writers. Florography is used frequently as a term to describe it.

In the Victorian time, floral design reached the heights of its popularity. Numerous flower, herb and plant-related books were published. There were lists that explained the symbolism behind floral arrangements, plants and herb. They also were inspired by legends or folklore. For example, the association between daffodils and egotism stems from Narcissus’s obsession with himself.

Flowers can communicate diverse messages and emotions. The use of colors can be used to convey different emotions. Red roses symbolize the love and passion of a person, whereas the delicate white rose symbolises innocence and pureness.

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