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Signs & Symbols: Springtime Flowers


Flowers are often associated with feminine energy and symbolise beauty, youthfulness, peace, and even perfection. During the Victorian Era, flowers gained significant meaning and sentiment and were even used to convey hidden messages. Apart from their aesthetic appeal, especially when in full bloom, flowers have been utilised for rituals and healing purposes throughout history.

In this article, we will delve into the meanings behind various plants and flowers commonly linked to springtime:

Alpine Cyclamen

The root of cyclamen was used in love potions! Often, the centre of the flower is red and is associated with passion. Some believe that the red spot symbolises the bleeding heart of Virgin Mary. Interestingly, the plant is also linked to farewells and resignations.


As I’m sure you are aware, the crocus stamen is where we get saffron from. In addition to being used for cooking, saffron is also utilised to produce the yellow colour for dyeing cloth and clothing. By weight, saffron is one of the most expensive spices. The crocus plant/flower is associated with spring, fertility, cheerfulness, and gladness. Once upon a time, people wore garlands of crocuses in their hair as it was believed to ward off drunkenness!


The humble daffodil is a symbol of spring for many people. It is cheerful and abundant, and it is also associated with resurrection and the period of Lent. Daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus. According to Greek legend, there was a youth who fell in love with his own reflection, and since then, this flower has been linked to self-love.


You may not realise that the iris is linked to the Greek goddess of the rainbow and represents the power of light and hope. You might recognise this flower from a fleur-de-lys design, where the three petals symbolise faith, wisdom, and valour. In China, this flower also carries a lovely sentiment of finding beauty in solitude.


The Lily is an unusual flower, often associated with both weddings and funerals. It is linked to weddings due to its symbolism of purity, peace, harmony, and the Virgin goddess as well as fertility. On the other hand, it is connected to funerals because of its ability to help alleviate grief.


The god, Apollo’s beloved was named Hyacinthus, she was accidental killed by a discus. So the story goes – the flower that grew from his blood was names Hyacinth. Perhaps due to this tale, Christians have long associated hyacinths with “prudence.”


Folklore suggests that if you want to ensure the affection of your sweetheart, you should carry a pansy! The open-faced pansy is sometimes called heartsease. This flower has strong associations with love and affairs of the heart.


Peonies have been widely used in traditional medicine for centuries. In China, the Peony is regarded as the imperial flower and symbolises beauty and femininity in spring. In Japan, it is a popular choice for wedding flowers due to its association with marital bliss and fertility.


The primrose is one of the earliest flowering plants in spring. Some people call it the “prima rosa.” Therefore, it is not surprising that it represents the first blush of love, youthfulness, and a sense of purity. It is also frequently used in healing remedies. For Celts, the primrose is traditionally considered the flower of fairies. Meanwhile, Nordic traditions link it to Freya – the goddess of love.


The snowdrop is also an early riser in spring, seemingly able to grow and flower under the harshest weather conditions. Therefore, it is no wonder that it heralds in spring and represents hope. In Christian Candlemas, the snowdrop is considered an emblem of the Virgin Mary. As a low-flowering plant, Victorians associated it with those who were buried. However, even though it may bloom in graveyards and other places, it is not seen as a sad flower but rather one that symbolises anticipation and expectation.


The tulip is, of course, associated with the Netherlands, where even today millions of tulips and tulip bulbs are harvested and exported across the world. It is an icon of spring and now comes in many shapes and a glorious array of colours. The tulip has long been connected with love and beauty but interestingly also with prosperity and wealth.