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~ Monday, August 29, 2005
 
THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS

In the 18th and 19th century, a code was established whereby flowers and other plants represented emotions and social situations. Numbers, colours and types of plants could be interpreted by sender and receiver, often by complex decoding of an arrangement. For example, a certain selection of flowers might mean 'sorry, I was drunk and I do not love you, but we should remain friends' etc.

Here are some of the more unusual items:

African marigolds – vulgar minds
American cowslip – divine beauty
azalea – fragile passion
bachelor's buttons – celibacy
basil - hatred
belvedere – 'I declare against you'
blue flowered Greek valerian – rupture
branch of currants – 'you please all'
butterfly weed – 'let me go'
Cape jasmine – 'I'm too happy'
chickweed – rendezvous
currant - 'thy frown will kill me'
dandelion – rustic oracle
flower-of-an-hour – delicate beauty
gum cistus – 'I shall die tomorrow'
hawkweed – quicksightedness
hemlock – 'you will be my death'
ice plant – 'your looks freeze me'
Kennedia – mental beauty
lady's slipper – 'win me and wear me'
love-lies-bleeding – 'hopeless not heartless'
major convolvulus - ' extinguished hopes'
meadow saffron – 'my best days are past'
milkvetch – 'your presence softens my pains'
nettle tree - concert
oats – the witching soul of music
pansy – thoughts
pineapple – 'you are perfect'
purple hyacinth – 'please forgive me'
quamoclit – busybody
queen's rocket – 'you are the queen of coquettes'
ray grass – vice
snakesfoot - horror
spindle tree – 'your charms are engraven on my heart'
sweet allysum – worth beyond beauty
sweet scabious – widowhood
tiger flower – 'for once may pride befriend me'
unique rose – 'call me not beautiful'
water melon - bulkiness
whin - anger
white poppy – 'my antidote'
wild sorrel – 'wit ill-timed'
wolfsbane – misanthropy
yellow lily – 'I'm walking on air' or 'false and gay'

Source: various (note, there are various versions of this code)

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