The Victorian language of flowers began in the stately courts of the Turkish sultans as a secret language for lovers to send clandestine messages to each other. As it found its way to Europe, the “secret codes” of flowers could be sent across a crowed room when worn in a corsage, pinned to the hair or presented as a posey. Books were written to help decode the ever more complicated messages new flowers symbolized as they were imported from far off places. Few debuted with as much meaning as the Chamalauceum uncinatum, the waxflower, from Australia. Said to be “the” flower of romance, the abbreviated message this flower conveys is a new inner wisdom, and chance for renewal and an openness to love and joy. What better way to woo a world-weary lover than with a promise of good things to come.
The waxflower gets its common name from the rigid but fleshy petals of the dainty flowers blooming in abundance along each stem. These clusters of pink, purple, red, yellow or white flowers open up into perfectly round blooms with five petals around a concave center. This profusion of blooms can absolutely cover the ends of straight, whispy, woody stems that have short, soft needles that are delicately scented. A member of the myrtle family, the leaves are small and feathery and release a sweet, almost citrus scent, when crushed. Their airy arches and delicate stems give them a whimsical look when added in with heavier flowers like roses or lilies and they help soften almost any vase arrangement or bouquet. With such thin stems they can be added to smaller vases or corsages easily and add a splash of color and texture without weighing down or washing out other flowers.
As waxflower made its way from the land down under to the courts and markets of Europe, it was well received and soon planted in areas around the Mediterranean. Rather than fading fast, the cut blooms of the waxflower would last for days without wilting, helping send the message that this invitation to love was not just for an hour or a day, but for a lifetime.
Wooing is a fine art that had been refined in the Victorian era, but perhaps lost in translation over the last century or two. This Valentine’s Day, why not let the flowers do the talking and let your potential paramour know how you feel with waxflower.
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