July 14, 2024

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Blooms of the Past: Unearthing the Victorian Fascination with Floriography

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Many people assume that the Victorians invented the language of flowers however, it was actually two women from Europe’s 17th century who sparked this craze. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Aubry de la Mottraye were both a part of the travels through the Ottoman Empire and brought back their knowledge of a encrypted language, based upon floral symbols.


“Florianography (or flowers in the or flower) was a wildly popular Victorian era craze that involved communicating messages using flowers. Floral symbolism is still relevant even though it was fading into the late nineteenth century. Like, for instance, artist Whitney Lynn created a project specifically for San Diego International Airport using flowers with specific sentimental meanings.

The trend of floriography originated within Ottoman Turkey, and was transferred to Europe by Lady Mary Wortley Montague and Seigneur Aubry de La Mottraye. In the years following its popularity, several dictionary of floriography were made available. The books contained botanical data and novelty goods such as calendars and lists of floral symbols. Certain of the meanings were based on legends or folklore, mythology and folklore (the connection between hoa khai truong daffodils and egoism such as) and others were derived from the flowers themselves. They also included dictionaries on flowers. the authors frequently referred to an Eastern custom known as Selam.

Victorian Era

When it came to Victorian society, floralography, or flower language was used as a method of subliminal communicating. This coded botanical system could communicate love, desire, or disdain, allowing people in a time which was controlled by strict social conventions to convey their feelings with a manner that was acceptable to society.

The flower language became popular in the beginning of the 19th century and dictionaries of flowers and the symbolic meaning of them came into existence. The subtleties of this flower language can vary depending upon the kind of flower that was made use of, the manner in which it was delivered or the person giving it. This subtle expression of emotions offered a lot of room for interpretation and creativity. The flower vocabulary grew to include more than 1,400 diverse flowers, herbs and trees. Though the flower lexicon varied in different cultures however, the emotions were generally the same.

Evolution of Symbolism

From the beginning of time flowers were used for conveying messages that express respect, love and emotion. Old meanings change or disappear because plants are grown, and the culture evolves.

When the flower-themed language became more popular in late 19th-century England and North America, authors penned intuitive guides and dictionaries that identified a specific flower with the meaning of its symbol. These dictionaries can be gorgeously illustrated, and attached to sentimental dedications.

Some of these mythological symbols were inspired by mythology, religion and folklore. In particular, the daffodils were believed to represent egotism. inspired by the story of Narcissus who fell in love with the reflection of his reflection in the water. Other references were drawn from the nature of the plant or its characteristics. Mimosas for instance, inspire feelings of purity, as they’re sensitive to touch and can be closed in the night.

Cultural Influences

The Victorian Era, flower language was a popular method of discrete language. The flower language worked at a time where explicit expressions of emotion were not looked on, and communication was an integral part in social interaction.

Women’s magazines such as Godey’s Ladies’ Book featured it frequently. It was played in places where players were blindfolded and the jar of flowers to discover their feelings luck, fortune or destiny.

At the time, there various flower dictionaries available that gave every flower had a particular meaning. The meanings of the lexicons were various, such as the flowers of hyacinth were believed to symbolize beauty, but also loyalty, piety, and forgiveness. These interpretations were based on a variety of sources, such as classical literature, Shakespearean associations, and earlier French flower lexicographies.


Flower symbolism is still in use today. It’s used by artists, editors, designers marketing, florists poets, and writers. Florography is often used for its definition.

The heyday of floriography was during the Victorian time period, floral design was one of the most popular literary trends. Many flower, herb and plant-related books were published. Some included lists with the significance of the plants, flowers and herbs. Other were based on legends and folklore. Daffodils’ association with egotism, for example, stemmed from the myth of Narcissus and his obsession with reflections of his own.

Flowers convey a vast range of sentiments and messages. The use of colors can be used to communicate different emotions. As an example, a fiery red rose is a symbol of passion and love, whereas gentle white flowers symbolize pureness and innocence.