Floriography aka the language of flowers is a means of cryptological communication through the use or arrangement of flowers. Its popularity soared in Victorian England and in the United States during the 19th century. Gifts of blooms, plants, and specific floral arrangements were used to send a coded message to the recipient, allowing the sender to express feelings which could not be spoken aloud in Victorian society – call it the Victorian version of emojis.
(image via Feri Tradition)
Dictionaries and books on the subject became widespread and everyone was searching for the perfect flower to present in a situation according to its given meaning. Some definitions had mythological roots, others were derived from hedge witch traditions, and a few seemed completely random – and sometimes contradictory, this was certainly not an exact science...
(image via Planterra Conservatory)
In its heyday, this flower language was easily expressed with nosegays (also called tussie mussies), bouquets of flowers and herbs carried by proper women to alleviate the effects of lowly odors - as regular bathing was not yet a common practice. Depending on the flowers included in the bouquet, these could convey a myriad of concepts and desires. Not only did the individual flowers hold meaning, but the way they were arranged together could also tell a story or communicate a deeper meaning: from love, admiration and sympathy to jealousy, disgust and denial – it could all be expressed through flowers. This floral language eventually pervaded every aspect of Victorian life, as flowers were depicted on fabric, china, stationary, jewelry, and even in the naming of daughters for whom certain expectations and characteristics were sought. Think about that next time you meet a Violet, Lily or Iris.
(image via Amino Apps)