Ranunculus to You: It Gets Worse

            Any language comes with its punctuation marks, intensifiers, and contractions.  These seek to clarify but often confuse a novice in the new lingo.   The language of flowers is no different.  The easiest modifier is simple numbers.  To give “one perfect rose”, for example, indicates that you regard the recipient as your very ideal, oneContinue reading “Ranunculus to You: It Gets Worse”

Ranunculus to You, Yarrow to Zucchini, plus Secret Code

YARROW   “War”*             No, this is not a joke about bows and yarrows.  This plant is also known as Achillea, or Achillea millefolia, or, from that, Common Milfoil.  The millefolia is a reference to a plant with many leaves.  The other part of the name refers to the hero Achilles, who apparently always carried anContinue reading “Ranunculus to You, Yarrow to Zucchini, plus Secret Code”

Ranunculus to You: Vine to Xeranthemum

VINE   “Intoxication”*             The floriographers are obviously thinking of grape vines, and, hence, wine.  They could have thought of grape jelly, but for some reason, did not think of thinking of it. *VINE, WILD   “Poetry and Imagination” VIOLET   “Modesty”*             The violet is considered a hidden, humble flower.  It was also the symbol of Napoleon. Continue reading “Ranunculus to You: Vine to Xeranthemum”

Ranunculus to You, Tamarisk to Vetch

                                                            T TAMARISK   “Crime”             Ancient Egyptians believed  that the corpse of the murdered god Osiris was tucked into a Tamarisk, to conceal the crime.  Further, the Romans put wreaths of tamarisk on their criminals.  (Do you think they had a wreath for everybody?  A wreath of, oh, cauliflower for great dog breeders?) TANSY   “IContinue reading “Ranunculus to You, Tamarisk to Vetch”

Ranunculus to You: Solanum to Syringa

*SOLANUM    “Prodigality”             This word can mean either excessive spending or bountiful generosity.  I suspect this floriographer had the second meaning in mind, as this is the plant family which gives us, among other things, potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants.  No, I’m not sure why the other floriographers have ignored the tomato and the eggplant.  NoContinue reading “Ranunculus to You: Solanum to Syringa”

Ranunculus to You: Rosebud to Snowdrop

ROSEBUD   “Young Girl”             This symbolism ought to be obvious.  If you want complication, there is a system of messages which can be sent using rosebuds, agreed upon by just about everybody who goes in for such things.  If you present your lover with a rosebud with a stem that has all its leaves andContinue reading “Ranunculus to You: Rosebud to Snowdrop”

Ranunculus to You: Rice to Rose

*RICE   “Happiness, Prosperity” *RICE, WILD   “Influence” *RING FLOWER   “Marriage” ROCKET   “Rivalry” ROCKET, QUEEN’S   “You Are the Queen of Coquettes” ROSE   “Love”             The pioneer floriographers, including Mme. De Latour, leaned more toward “Beauty” for the Rose.  “Love” may have originated in Frances S. Osgood’s second book.  (She has “Beauty” in the first.)  But the twentiethContinue reading “Ranunculus to You: Rice to Rose”

Ranunculus to You, Polyanthus to Rhubarb

POLYANTHUS   “Pride of Riches”             This has so many rich flowers that everyone assumes it’s proud. POLYANTHUS, CRIMSON   “The Heart’s Mystery”             Elizabeth W. Wirt calls this the Crimson-Heart Polyanthus, which would explain why the floriographers had hearts on their minds. POLYANTHUS, LILAC   “Confidence”             Confidence is another word which has almost entirely changed itsContinue reading “Ranunculus to You, Polyanthus to Rhubarb”

Ranunculus to You, Palm to Plumbago

                                                                        P PALM   “Victory”             A lot of our early history was concentrated around the Mediterranean, where palm trees are often handy.  It became the custom to spread the road with palm fronds if a conqueror was to come that way.  To this day, we speak of winners as “taking the palm”, though it hasContinue reading “Ranunculus to You, Palm to Plumbago”

Ranunculus to You, Oak to Oyster Plant

                                                                        O OAK   “Hospitality”*             See LIME *OAK GUM   “Do Not Trust In It” OAK LEAF   “Bravery”             To win a wreath of oak leaves, a Roman had to win a battle, kill an enemy, or save the life of another Roman.  The oak leaf naturally became associated with valor in war. Today, a MajorContinue reading “Ranunculus to You, Oak to Oyster Plant”