The Language of Flowers - Part III

Hello! Today I have the third of a 4 part series (see part one here and part two here) where I'm looking in to the meanings and symbolism of various flowers and plants. This is a topic I've been interested in since I read the lovely book, The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, and its something I always keep in mind when making choices for my clients' branding and graphics. Today we're looking at Camellias, Sunflowers & Azaleas.

Camellia

Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio - Floral Illustration - The Language of Flowers

Camellias were named after botanist Father Georg Jospeh Kamel, and both their common name and scientific name are the same.

These beautiful flowers have varied symbolism across different cultures:
- England: In Victorian England, Camellias were sent as a gift to symbolises the the recipient was "adorable"
- US: The Camellia is the state flower of Alabama, representing Southern beauty
- China: Camellia's are highly thought of in China, and are reported to be included in the secret gardens of Chinese Emperors. They are also considered to be Southern China's national flower. They also symbolise young sons and daughters.
- Japan: Named the Tsubaki in Japan, Camellias are used in religious and sacred ceremonies and represent the divine and the coming of spring.
- Korea: Camellias are a long standing tradition in Korean wedding ceremonies, representing faithfulness and longevity.

Other meanings for the Camellia flower:
- "My destiny is in your hands"
- Passion and desire
- Refinement, Perfection and Excellence

 

Sunflowers

Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio - Floral Illustration - The Language of Flowers

Both the English and scientific names of sunflowers are quite literal translations of their physical appearance. Helianthus is a combination of the greek words for "sun" and "flower', taken from the bright yellow colour of the flower and its sun-like shape.

Many of the flower's associations are based on its appearance, features and behaviours:
- Warmth, happiness, positivity and power. Due to its strong resemblance to the sun and bright colours
- Long life. Due to its ability to stand strong through the hottest summer days
- Loyalty & a strong bond. Due to the strong & upright stem
- Seeking positivity. Due to the flower turning to face the sun
- Nourishment. Due to its abundance of seeds

Other meanings of the sunflower:
- Good luck & happiness (particularly in Chinese culture)
- Gratitude (in Victorian Flower language, particularly with dwarf sunflowers)
- Adoration & admiration for friends & family

 

Azaleas

Bea & Bloom Creative Design Studio - Floral Illustration - The Language of Flowers

Azaleas are well loved in many countries and general represent beauty and femininity, while the Chinese see the flower as a representation of womanhood.

Again, azaleas have various associations in different cultures:
- England (Victorian): Temperance
- Japan / China: Fond memories of home

Other meanings include:
- Fragile & developing love (due to the fragile nature of the blooms when they are brushed past)
- Abundance of beauty or intelligence
- Elegance and wealth
- Caring for yourself and family

There are also various associations with azaleas depending on their colours:
- White: Purity
- Red / Dark Pink: Romance & passion
- Purple / pink: Joviality
- Yellow: Friendship & Family

Azaleas also have a darker meaning, as when sent in a black vase they represent death threats.
There are various festivals dedicated to azaleas when they are in bloom, with a trail in Alabama devoted to viewing the flowers, and a mountain in China that at some times of year becomes completed covered in pink azaleas.

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