Iris, the Rainbow, for Faith, Hope and Wisdom

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There are many species of the Iris genus, between 200 and 300 at the last count, in a huge variety of colors. It should be no surprise, then, that these showy blossoms have quite a number of flower meanings, some of which depend on the color. You will most often find iris flowers in blue, with white, yellow and purple also being commonly available. The meanings of each color are:

Purple majesty or royalty; also wisdom. You’ll often
find brides carrying a purple iris wedding bouquet
White purity (like most white flowers)
Yellow passion
Blue faith and hope

iris flowers, blue irisBecause of its long history, the Iris carries additional meanings in some regions of the world. In France, for instance, about 800 years ago it was taken by royalty as a symbol of the crown, and so now the French ascribe to the iris the meanings of perfection, life and light. When England lay claim to the French throne (in 1338, during the reign of Edward III, as all you historians will no doubt recall), the iris, and its stylized version, the “Fleur de Lys”, became part of English heraldry. It survives today in the coat of arms of Prince Charles. In Japan, enjoyment of the iris was restricted to royalty in times past; now they mean heroism.

iris flower, purple irisWith such a long history of cultivation, and being native to much of Europe (as well as the Middle East, North Africa, North America and parts of Asia), it’s no surprise that the flower name for the iris comes from Ancient Greek mythology. Iris was the goddess of the rainbow, who brought messages from the gods at the top of Mount Olympus, to the humans on the surface of the Earth. Greek men planted purple iris flowers at the graves of the women they loved, hoping that they would call the goddess Iris to guide them on their journey to the afterlife.

Tempted to buy some irises for your loved one, or for your home? Our favorite online florist has a spectacular purple iris flowers bouquet. They also offer a glorious spring flowers bouquet, sure to brighten up anyone’s day.

It’s a busy flower, the iris. All these messages. all this history, and still it finds time to be the state flower of Tennessee, the national flower of France, and to be the flower for the 25th wedding anniversary.

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