In Victorian times it was very fashionable to associate “secret” meanings with certain types of flowers.

These connections weren’t very secret, as they were published in magazines and almanacs for people to use as a sort of coded language. Surprisingly many of the “meanings” were very negative and even quite nasty!

 

Here are some of these traditional associations, taken from my Sunlight Year Book 1896.

The Language of Flowers Part 1 – A-B
The Language of Flowers Part 2 – C
The Language of Flowers Part 3 – D-G
The Language of Flowers Part 4 – H-L
The Language of Flowers Part 5 – M-O
The Language of Flowers Part 6 – P-R
The Language of Flowers Part 7 – S-Z

S

Saffron – mirth
Sage – domestic virtue
Saxifrage – widowhood
Scarlet Cyclius – beaming eyes
Scotch Fir – elevation
Sensitive Plant – sensibility, delicate feelings
Shamrock – light heartedness
Snakesfoot – horror
Snapdragon – presumption
Snowdrop – hope
Sorrel – affection
Sorrel, Wild – wit ill-timedTin Teddy Language of Flowers Part 1
Sorrel, Wood – joy
Southernwood – jest, bathering
Spanish Jasmine – sensuality
Spearmint – warmth of sentiment
Spiderwort – esteem not love
Spiked Willow Herb – pretension
Spindle Tree – your charms are engraven on my heart
Star of Bethlehem – purity
Starwort – afterthought
Starwork, American – cheerfulness in old age
Stock – lasting beauty
Stonecrop – tranquility
Straw, Broken – rupture of a contract
Straw, Whole – union
Strawberry Tree – esteem and love
Sunflower, Dwarf – adoration
Sunflower, Tall – haughtiness
Swallow-wort – cure for heartache
Sweet Basil – good wishes
Sweetbriar, American – simplicity
Sweetbriar, European – I wound to heal
Sweet Pea – delicate pleasure
Sweet Sultan – felicity
Sweet William – gallantry
Sycamore – curiosity
Syringa – memory
Syringa, Carolina – disappointment

T

Tamarask – crime
Tansy, Wild – I declare war against you
Tendrils of Climbing Plants – ties
Thistle, Common – austerity
Thistle, Fuller’s – misanthropy
Thistle, Scotch – retaliation
Thorn Apple – deceitful charms
Thorn, Branch of – severity
Thrift – sympathy
Thyme – activity
Tiger Flower – for once may pride befriend me
Traveller’s Joy – safe….
Tree of Life – old and
Trefoil – revenge
Tremella Nestoc – resistance
Trumpet Flower – fame
Tuberose – dangerous pleasures
Tulip – fame
Tulip, red – declaration of love
Tulip, variegated – beautiful eyes
Tulip, yellow – hopeless love
Turnip – charity

V

Valerian – an accommodating disposition
Venus’ Looking-Glass – flattery
Venus’ Trap – deceitTin Teddy Language of Flowers 2
Vernal Grass – poor, but happy
Veronica – fidelity
Vervain – enchantment
Vine – intoxication
Violet, Blue – faithfulness
Violet, Dame – watchfulness
Violet, Sweet – modesty
Violet, Yellow – rural happiness
Virginian Spiderwort – momentary happiness
Virgins’ Bower – filial love

W

Walnut – intellect, stratagem
Walflower – fidelity in adversity
Water Lily – purity of heart
Water Melon -bulkiness
Wax Plant – susceptibility
Wheat Stalk – riches
Whin -anger
White Jasmine – amiableness
White Lily – purity and modesty
White Mullein – good-nature
White Oak – independence
White Rose (Dried) – death preferable to loss of innocence
Whortleberry – treason
Willow, Creeping – love forsaken
Willow, Water – freedom
Willow, Weeping – mourning
Willow-herb – pretension
Willow, French – Bravery and humanity
Winter Cherry – deception
Woodbine – fraternal love
Wood Sorrel – joy, maternal tenderness
Wormwood – absence

X

Xanthium – rudeness, pertinacity

Y

Yew – sorrow

Z

Zephyr Flower – expectation
Zinnia – thoughts of absent friends

 

The Language of Flowers Part 1 – A-B
The Language of Flowers Part 2 – C
The Language of Flowers Part 3 – D-G
The Language of Flowers Part 4 – H-L
The Language of Flowers Part 5 – M-O
The Language of Flowers Part 6 – P-R
The Language of Flowers Part 7 – S-Z

The Language of Flowers Part 7: S – Z
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