Everything symbolic of a hidden meaning is intriguing to the human mind. The innocent flower, being one of those intriguing symbols. There are hundreds of legends and folklores associated with flowers and flower names. Flowers have come to occupy an irreplaceable significance in our life through various means. Flowers name are a vital part of our culture, tradition, religion and literature. This nature’s blossom continues to imbue every special occasion in our life with a special fragrance. It is not within the scope of this treatise on flowers to talk of all the legends associated with flowers. However, we can begin by taking a look at some of the popular legends.

The Flowers name ‘anemone’ has its roots in Greek mythology. It was believed to a nymph whom two gods were in love with- Zephyr the god of sweet spring wind and Borea the God of the west wind. Chloris, the goddess of flowers was jealous of the beautiful nymph and took revenge. She turned anemone into a nameflower which could not stay in bloom and withered before the arrival of her lover, Zephyr.

The name flower ‘rose’ has a legend that tells us how it got its beautiful hue. Eve had a vision at midnight before the vernal equinox. In her dream, she saw a little lamb bleeding and his blood was turning the white roses, that Abel had planted, into a rich red color. She could hear desperate voices which suddenly turned into melodious music. She saw a vision more beautiful than the paradise. A shepherd was grazing the flocks. He was dressed in a white robe and around his neck was a wreath of red roses. When Eve woke from her dream, she went about her daily ritual without a thought to the dream. Her sons, Cain and Abel were to make sacrifices to the deity. Eve listened impassively to the cries of the little lambs as Cain and Abel butchered them for the sacrifices; oblivious of the significance of the dream she had the night before. After the sacrifice, Cain and Abel went to the field. When they did not return at their usual time, eve was disturbed and went looking for them. Suddenly her vision returned to her and she became more and more anxious. Her worst fears were unfounded when she saw the dead body of Abel with blood splattered all around over the roses he had planted. In a second, Eve’s dream returned to her but this time instead of the shepherd, she saw Abel grazing the flocks. He was wearing a wreath of red roses around his neck. He was playing on the harp and he sang,

“Look up and see the stars shining promise through your tears. Those cars of light shall carry us to fields more blooming than Eden. There signs and moans change to hymns of rapture, and there the roses that has been stained with innocent blood blooms in splendor.”

From being burnt by the ancients for warding off evil to being decorated in the cascade of flowing hair to entice a lover, Flowers name have retained their symbolic significance down the ages. So, next time the boy next door offers you a yellow acacia, remember that it is the symbol of secret love. Flowers have been the spokesperson for many unsaid feelings and emotions for centuries now. Contrary to popular belief, flowers are not only used to express feelings of love but also rejection, hatred, despise, insult and contempt. Numerous bards and poets have endorsed their

mysticism, beauty and divinity. They have been exploited for their symbolic significance by being used by numerous writers to convey feelings, which would rather be conveyed discreetly. Shakespeare mentioned rose in Romeo and Juliet and Hollyhock in MacBeth, both conveying their symbolic significance in the two plays. As for aesthetics, every time flowers are mentioned, who cannot but visualize the daffodils tossing their heads in the famous poem by the same name written by that ethereal nature poet, William Wordsworth And who better to appreciate the aesthetics of nature than William Wordsworth Poets apart, flowers appeal to everyone’s sense of beauty and aesthetics.

It is an amazing thought that in the times in which we are living now, where liberation and speaking your mind aloud is the norm, flowers still retain their significance to convey hidden feelings. Perhaps, Flowers name could be related to that aspect of our tradition which modernity has been unable to shake off. Flower- giving has flourished in the guise of valentine and flower day celebrations when every well meaning lover will not be thrifty enough not to send her beloved a delicate bouquet of well chosen flowers accompanied by a card expressing his feelings. The card, incidentally, may also be well adorned by beautiful flowers. With globalization, it has also become possible to send flowers to your loved ones in any part of the world. Sometimes, science does endorse emotions, too. After all, love knows no barriers.

No discussion about flowers can be complete without the mention of some flowers that have become a part of the celebrations of special occasions in our life. Remember that these meanings are the ones that have been traditionally associated with these flowers. The same flower may have a different meaning for you because of a special occasion or remembrance that is associated with it.

White Carnation: Innocence, love, good luck. Gifted to mothers on mother’s day to symbolize the purity of motherhood. These flowers were handed over in 1908 at the first Mother’s day service.

Chrysanthemums: According to Confucius, the flower of meditation. Signifies cheerfulness and optimism.

Red Chrysanthemum: Love

Daffodil: rebirth or a new beginning.

Gladiolus: Comes from Latin word Gladius, which means sword. Beauty, strength of character, admiration.

Hibiscus: Beauty. Hyacinth: Flowers of the roman God Apollo. Stands for game, sport.

Jasmine: Attachment, Sensuality.

Lavender: Devotion

Lilac: Humility

Lily: Majestic, virginity, modesty. It is the flower of Juno, the roman goddess. The flower was said to be borne out of the breast milk of Juno. Easter lily is symbol of the Virgin Mary.

Lotus: love that no longer exists.

Marigold: grief and jealousy though in some context could also be a symbol of affection.

Mistletoe: Affection, to fight difficulties.

Myrtle: Love

Oleander: Caution

Olive branch: Peace

Orchid: beauty.

Palm Leaves: Success

Primrose: too much love, can’t survive without you.

Rose: From the Latin word Rosa that means red. Symbol of love and passion. The

different colored roses mean different things. Red stands for passion, white for purity, pink for grace.

Sunflower: Haughtiness

Sweet pea: Sweet parting

Tulip: Love, fame

Violet: Innocence, faithfulness.