Speech Unspoken: The Language of Flowers
A Speech Unspoken: The Language of Flowers is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.
As written by Tesseitre Carhiesel Illistim.
The art of expressing emotion through symbolic flower gifts stems from the forest-sheltered society of Ta'Ardenai, but many of the other races of Elanith have adopted the custom. Floral symbolism extends far beyond the forests of Ta'Ardenai, these days; it stretches from the depths of the Southron Wastes to the icelands of Pinefar, from the volcanoes of Teras to the distant spires of Ta'Loenthra. Servants of Imaera, Kuon, and Aeia cultivate beautiful gardens throughout the continent that are complex with symbolic meaning as well as rich with medicinal value.
After years of travel and study, I have compiled my findings on the matter and I present them here. I do caution my readers to remember that I have examined this matter in great detail; many suitors may be unaware of an inadvertent symbolic message. Often, a flower is given for nothing save beauty.
Follow the flower link for lore about each specific flower:
|Alyssum||worth beyond beauty, or insanity|
|Amaranth||immortality, or everlasting love|
|Aster||joy in variety, or depth of spirit|
|Begonia||gaudiness, or elegance|
|Blaestonberry||childhood, or innocence|
|Bleeding Heart||heartbreak and longing|
|Burdock||touch me not|
|Buttercup||material or spiritual riches|
|Butterflyweed||"Let me go free"|
|Cactus||warmth of feeling|
|Cinquefoil||beloved child or perversion|
|Clematis||artifice and vanity|
|Columbine (common)||folly and desertion|
|Columbine (purple)||resolution and determination|
|Cothinar||wishes and dreams|
|Daffodil||respect and chivalry|
|Dandelion||coquetry, or spirituality|
|Delphinuris||peace in adversity|
|Dragonstalk||ferocity, or Ta'Vaalor|
|Foxglove||insincerity and danger|
|Geranium (pink)||"I prefer you"|
|Geranium (white)||true friendship|
|Geranium (bright red)||"I request a meeting"|
|Geranium (deep red)||melancholy|
|Hellebore||scandal, and the Arkati Luukos|
|Imaera's Lace||wonder, and the Arkati Imaera|
|Lady's Slipper||"I submit to your whim"|
|Lilac||first emotion of love|
|Lily (stargazer)||high breeding|
|Mournbloom||grief and mourning|
|Pansy (snow)||"Think of me"|
|Pea||an appointed meeting|
|Petunia||"I am not proud"|
|Queen's Lace||"Do not command me"|
|Rose||love and beauty, and the Arkati Oleani|
|Rosebud||a confession of love|
|Rosebud (white)||a heart too young to love|
|Rose (red)||"I love you"|
|Rose (cabbage)||ambassador of love|
|Rose (dog)||pleasure mixed with pain|
|Rose (Elanthian snow)||perfection|
|Rose (moss)||true merit|
|Rose (swamp)||"Prove yourself to me"|
|Rose-marrow||a hidden heart|
|Sirenflower||prophecy, and the Arkati Jastev|
|Sovyn||"It is not yet time"|
|Sunflower||devotion and admiration|
|Trillium||modest beauty, or hope despite pain|
|Tulip (red)||a declaration of love|
|Tulip (yellow)||hopeless love|
|Valerian||an accomodating personality|
|Violet (blue)||friendship and rememberance|
|Violet (purple)||faithful love|
|Violet (alpine)||candid words|
Alyssum: Originally, the courtiers of Ta'Ardenai used the alyssum blossom to indicate "worth beyond beauty"-- a great compliment to the recipient, as it praised the recipient's mind and soul above physical limitations. In later days, however, alyssum's unprepossessing flower became a symbol of insanity when a minor Sheruvian cult adopted alyssum as its sigil, and from this use alyssum became also known as madwort.
Amaranth: The amaranth plant blooms very early for its season and fades very late, and the red varieties of amaranth catch the eye easily with their characteristic sanguine hue. For these reasons, the giantmen of Araime Sun Clan saw amaranth as a symbol of the everlasting heart of Elanith, and they use it as a symbol of immortality and enduring love.
Anemone: A legend of Jaston and Niima relates the creation of the anemone flower. Supposedly, an Elven child was walking along an ocean shore when she saw Niima dancing in the waves, crowned with ocean anemones, and the little girl cried because she wanted some of the beautiful flowers. Because the anemones would die if taken from the water, Niima refused to give any of them away, and the child cried herself sick. Jaston, watching, took one of the anemones from Niima and transformed it into a beautiful flower that could live on the land, so that the child's tears transformed to delight. For this, the anemone is called the windflower as well as the anemone, and it symbolizes expectation.
Angelica: According to one story, a human priestess of Imaera was the first to discover the medicinal properties of angelica, and the first person ever healed by angelica was a troll-mauled human ranger who came into her care. When the ranger fell in love with the priestess, he discovered a poetic side to himself that he'd never known-for, since he could not court her with deeds and displays of his hunting prowess, he was forced to court her with poetry and sweet praise. From this tale, angelica came to represent inspiration.
Aster: The Malghavan halflings are always delighted by the thousand hues of wild-blooming aster in the meadows of the Shirelands. They often give aster blossoms to one another to symbolize joy found in variety or to symbolize depth of spirit.
Begonia: When merchants from the south first brought samples of begonia north, amateur Elven gardeners were delighted with the ease of begonia-growing and with the beauty of their leaves as well as their blossoms. As a result, the elite quickly began to use the begonia's flowers and leaves as symbols of gaudiness, though the less-skilled still use the begonia to mean elegance.
Blaestonberry: Blaestonberry is well-known as the flower of maidens, both for the pink-centered white of its blossoms and for the youthful pleasure of consuming blaestonberry-based sweets. It symbolizes childhood and innocence.
Bleeding Heart: The name says it all; the pink, red, and white heart-shaped flowers are used to symbolize heartbreak and longing.
Bluebell: After the destruction of Maelshyve, some of the elves marvelled to see that, despite the incredible destruction wreaked upon the area, the fragile bluebells recovered and bloomed again before any other plant in the area. Some Illistim herbalists suspect that this is because the plant has hidden anti-magical properties, but no distillates have proven useful as of yet for this purpose. Others among the elves deemed the bluebell to be a symbol of constancy for its quick recovery.
Bougainvillea: The rapid growth of bougainvillea and the speed of its climb towards the sun caused the elves of Ta'Ardenai to use bougainvillea flowers as a symbol of playfulness.
Bur-clover: The symbolism of the bur-clover's small yellow flowers comes directly from the medicinal properties of bur-clover roots. A gift of bur-clover means, "You are blind; see me now."
Burdock: The prickly heads of burdock seeds, which can be particularly annoying to remove from clothing and dog fur, led to the symbolic meaning of burdock's pink and purple flowers: "Touch me not."
Buttercup: In one of the more famous common songs of the Truefolk, a Malghavan sings that the freedom to pick the buttercups of the field is worth more than a thousand pirate-ships of gold. The declaration sparked the imaginations of the bards of the Turamzzyrian Empire, and buttercup came to symbolize riches of all kinds-- material and spiritual alike.
Butterflyweed: Children from Ta'Ardenai delighted to see the beautiful butterflies attracted by butterflyweed's orange blossoms. They made a game of catching the insects where butterflyweed grew, and much damage often came to the plant in the process. A rather poetic Ardenai maiden informed her over-ardent suitors that they were like children after butterflyweed, and couldn't they just let her be? This legend led to the symbolism of "Let me go!" behind a bouquet of butterflyweed.
Cactus: Although cactus plants rely not on heat but on dryness of climate, they are most associated in people's minds with the desert. For this reason, cactus flowers represent warmth of feeling.
Calamintha: The drooping, unobtrusive blossoms of calamintha caused the flower to become a symbol of shyness.
Carnation: The carnation's showy flowers are so readily available at merchants and so often grown in commercial gardens all across Elanith that a number of different meanings quickly became associated with the flower. Red carnations symbolize love, white carnations symbolize purity, pink carnations symbolize pride, and yellow carnations symbolize disdain.
Chicory: In parts of Elanith where coffee-bean is too expensive to import, some people make a substitute drink from chicory for its stimulant properties. Because of this, chicory symbolizes frugality.
Cinquefoil: There is one story told in Ta'Loenthra that seems to be the source of cinquefoil's meaning. Supposedly, an Ardenai merchant briefly courted a human woman and then went away, not knowing that she grew large with child. She grew old, raised their child, and died before he returned. When he returned to that small village, his daughter paid court to him, not knowing that she was kin. When he told her the truth, he picked her a bouquet of cinquefoil and gave it to her, saying to her that she would ever be as cherished by him as the tiny cinquefoil flower was cherished of its plant. In most versions of the story, the half-elven girl killed herself anyway, but the cinquefoil flower retained the meaning "beloved child" in Ta'Loenthra. Others, hearing the same story, use it as a symbol of perversion, for the very thought of an elf courting a short-lived human.
Clematis: The clematis flower earned its name from a famed Nalfein noblewoman of the same name. She took great pride in her beauty, and she was never seen in public without her eyes, skin, mouth, and cheeks carefully painted. Her signature flower was the clematis, which she wore in her hair. After a time, the clematis lost its prior name and became known only by the name of the Nalfein, and it came to represent artifice and vanity.
Clover: The busy bees that flock around clover blossoms caused the flowers of red clover to become a symbol of industriousness.
Columbine: The common significance of columbine is folly and desertion, but the legend behind such significance has been lost in time. Purple columbine signifies resolution and determination, while red columbine signifies anxiety. The color-linked significances may be traced back to a forbidden romance between a matriarch of Ta'Illistim and a youth of Ta'Ardenai, which unfortunately ended with the death of both in an orcish raid.
Cothinar: The beautiful white Cothinar flower is said to be a gift from one of the greater spirits. During the Undead War, human clerics of Kuon recognized that their skill alone would not be enough to turn the tide of battle. Admiring the properties of acantha and similar herbs, they prayed to their patron for a new herb that would work with similar skill and greater speed. In human legend, they successfully transformed the humble strawberry plant into something greater-the plant lost its berries, but gained the remarkable restorative properties that makes it so often foraged today. Cothinar flower placed into a bouquet symbolizes the power of wishes and dreams.
Crocus: Sprouting so soon after the end of the frost, the colorful flowers of the crocus are some of the first to return after the end of winter. Crocus blossoms are sometimes hung up at drinking-parties to keep the mood jubilant and as a charm against sullen drunks. The crocus symbolizes cheerfulness.
Daffodil: Before going to battle, an order of human knights gathered in a meadow filled with daffodils to swear an oath of chivalry and kindness towards their foes. They donned vibrant yellow daffodils as a sign of their mutual vow, and, when they did indeed win the battle, they refrained from all pillaging, looting, and raping. As word spread, the peasants began to bless the "Knights of the Daffodil," knowing that they would be treated gently. The order is long since gone, but the daffodil continues to represent respect and chivalry.
Daisy: Like blaestonberry's blossoms, daisies represent innocence. The adolescent habit of weaving daisy-chains is so pervasive that it is difficult to trace to a specific culture, but halflings and humans seem most attached to the custom. However, the maidens' chant of "he loves me, he loves me not," recited while picking petals off a daisy, is distinctly Turamzzyrian.
Dandelion: Dandelion flowers open beneath the sun, close at sunset, and vanish on the wind in clouds of white seeds. Dandelions require little care at all, and, indeed, grow more frequently where they are not wanted than where they are. Because of the omnipresent but ephemeral nature of seeded dandelion flowers, the halflings use dandelions to symbolize coquetry. The giantmen of Araime Sun Clan see the windblown seeds in a more mystic light, however, and they use dandelion flowers to represent spirituality.
Delphinuris: While other plants favor gardens and rich soils, delphinuris grows best upon rocky terrain, spreading through nutrient-poor areas that other plants disdain. The lushness and beauty of a delphinuris ground-cover caused the elves of Ta'Ardenai to deem delphinuris to be a symbol of peace in adversity.
Dragonstalk: The beautiful crimson and gold of a fully bloomed dragonstalk reflect the colors of Ta'Vaalor, and nobles among the Elves often use it to symbolize that House. The common meaning of dragonstalk is "ferocity."
Dryad: Due to its preference for higher elevations and colder climes, mountain dryad symbolizes solitude. Ardenai travellers who ventured into the DragonSpine often brought a sprig of dryad flowers back to demonstrate the distance they had travelled.
Edelweiss: Edelweiss seems almost stubborn in selecting difficult, hard-to-reach places to grow. Although dwarves are not noted for an appreciation of flowers, it is said that a Grevnek Clan dwarf once demanded that an unwelcome suitor bring her an edelweiss flower to demonstrate his sincerity. Her suitor travelled from Teras all the way to the DragonSpine, and he made it most of the way up a sheer cliff before falling to his death. Ever after, the tiny white flower has symbolized longing.
Fennel: Fennel symbolizes strength, either for the distinct anise-like taste of fennel stems, or for its perseverance in filling fields and glades.
Feverfew: Feverfew is used often in remedies for headache and concussion. One elven anecdote relates how an Illistim woman languished and coquetted and refused to see her Vaalorian lover, claiming illness and fever and headache one by one over the course of weeks. The Vaalorian finally informed her guards, "If she has headache, let her take feverfew, but I will see her now!" He disarmed the lot of them and charged into her home, only to discover that he was no longer her only lover. From this, feverfew symbolizes delay.
Flamestalk: Like all plants, flamestalks shrink and crackle when dried, but, unlike most, flamestalk flowers retain their remarkable hues. For this reason, flamestalk is recognized throughout elven lands as a symbol of pleasant memories.
Foxglove: Intentional misuse of foxglove accomplished several assassinations during the period of time when the Turamzzyrian Empire strove to destroy the Kannalan Alliance. Turamzzyrian intelligence agents exchanged sprigs of the flower, carefully positioned in concealing bouquets, to signal the time, date, and place of a death-to-come. From this, the pretty foxglove flower acquired two symbolic meanings: first, "insincerity," and secondly, "danger."
Freesia: The freesia plant's preference for cool (but not cold) sunny climes, combined with its elegant flowers and light but pervasive scent, caused the elves of Ta'Ardenai to designate the freesia flower as a symbol of calm.
Gardenia: The gardenia's blossom and fragrance are beautiful, but short-lived and fleeting. During the Horse War, one of the Mhoragian children fell ill immediately after the Ardenai sorcerers cursed the Mhoragian herds with sickness. It was said that the child had been so connected to her pony in spirit that she shared its physical illness as well. The physicians could find no remedy that would ease her sickness, and they were all heartbroken from the death of the great herds. As the girl lay dying beside her pony, she told her grieving family that she knew her time had been short, but that she prayed her presence would last even after she herself faded into death. Her pony was named Gardenia, and, from the influence of the child's words, gardenias became symbolic of purity.
Geranium: Like many flowers, geraniums developed varied meanings in varied cultures, and those significances only slowly coalesced when the cultures clashed in such matters. As a result, different varieties of geranium carry a number of different significances, distinguished primarily by hue. The vivid hue of the wild pink geranium is best known for its selection in Ta'Ardenai to indicate a preference among multiple suitors; the white geranium's symbolic heritage stems from sylvan custom, where it indicates true friendship. Bright red geraniums signal a request for a meeting, but deep red geraniums are a Turamzzyrian signal of melancholy.
Goldenrod: Goldenrod flowers spread across meadows and fields in late autumn, and they remain vividly yellow until the first frosts, like a promise of the sun's return after the dark, cold winter months. Blooming among the harvest-ready sheaves of wheat, goldenrod was accepted among humans as a symbol of encouragement.
Gorse: The flower of gorse symbolizes anger, most likely for the impenetrable spiny thickets formed by the plant.
Heather: Heather blooms far more often and more readily on wild moors and hillsides than in cultivated gardens. For this reason, the elves of Ta'Ardenai initially designated heather as a symbol of freedom, but the elves of Ta'Vaalor corrupted the meaning to refer to undisciplined new recruits in the Vaalor militia-- "heather-wild, and stupid too!" After a time, the corrupted meaning and the initial meaning joined, causing heather to represent an untameable spirit.
Hellebore: The beautiful winter-blooming flowers of hellebore were routinely used in Ta'Ardenai by a charismatic priestess of Luukos to represent the power of her deity to overcome Lorminstra's jurisdiction. The followers of this priestess would wear hellebore to symbolize Luukos's hand upon them at all times. Although the Elves do not worship the Arkati, they are quick to recognize power. The priestess's words swayed many even in the highest echelons of Ta'Ardenai, and chaos ensued when the extent of her influence became clear. When the dust had settled, hellebore served as a symbol of scandal, though some still whisper that a few of the priestess's minions still remain.
Honeysuckle: The nectar-sweet blossoms of honeysuckle and the fashion in which it twines about nearby trees caused the Ardenai to use honeysuckle as a symbol of devoted love.
Hostas: Although hostas do flower, and quite prettily so, the variegated leaves of hostas are more often used in symbolic bouquets than the flowers themselves. It is easy to distinguish between a healthy hostas plant and an ill one because the colors of the sick hostas will fade dramatically. As a result, the hostas symbolizes vitality.
Hydrangea: For a period of time, it was very much in vogue for noble human maidens to wear long, trailing pastel-colored gowns and to react to all courting with as much indifference as possible. The cool pastel colors of the hydrangea plant's blossoms probably played a role when poets in the Turamzzyrian Empire designated hydrangea as a symbol of heartlessness.
Imaera's Lace: Legend says that Imaera was utterly fascinated with the art of lace-making, when she first saw an elf practicing the art. When she saw that the lace was fragile and easily damaged, she crafted the blossom known as Imaera's Lace so that lace would bloom forever throughout all the world. As a result, while Imaera's Lace is a symbol of the Arkati who crafted it, the flower is also a symbol of wonder.
Iceblossom: Sylvan colonies spreading north were fascinated by the beautiful, fragile iceblossom. Admiring the delicate, translucent flower, they took it as a sign of the adaptability and persistence of life and beauty in even the most hostile of environments, and they used it to symbolize truth.
Iris: The showy purple iris flower was used by an inner ring of Nalfein nobles to indicate the truth (or lack thereof) of the meanings of the flowers in the rest of the bouquets. Shrewd socialites took great pleasure in sending false bouquets that lacked the telling iris flower, and then in watching rivals stumble over each other misinterpreting the matter. Iris, since then, has meant "Believe me."
Jasmine: Jasmine's pleasant scent, small-but-pretty white flowers, and usefulness in making teas and perfumes caused the courtiers in Ta'Ardenai to use it as a symbol of amiability, on the grounds that no one disliked jasmine.
Lady's Slipper: The origin of the name "lady's slipper" is clear in the flower's delicately folding petals and in its proximity to the ground. Particularly poetic (and lovestricken) Loenthran courtiers have long used lady's slipper in bouquets to symbolize their willingness to pamper and care for the object of their passions. These days, the common meaning of lady's slipper is "I submit to your whim," reflecting humility in a giver and capricious beauty in a recipient.
Larkspur: A legend of Ta'Ardenai claims that Zelia once came down to dance on a grassy hill, and, where the Arkati's footsteps passed, larkspur flowers bloomed. The results of consuming larkspur are seen as akin to the madness of the moons--for, while larkspur in minute doses can brighten spirits and ease certain illnesses, the plant (particularly the seeds) is also highly toxic. Larkspur symbolizes fickleness.
Lavender: The sweet-smelling, unprepossessing lavender flower carries the unexpected meaning of distrust throughout sylvan lands. It owes this odd symbolism to a Dhe'nar priest with a particular fondness both for lavender oil and for enslaving sylvan children. It took over eighty years before anyone correctly determined the source of the disappearances, and, by that time, over thirty sylvans had been worked to death or sacrificed.
Lilac: Lilac represents the first emotions of love. Bouquets, wreaths, wristlets, or circlets of lilac are traditional first courting gifts in Ta'Ardenai.
Lily (snow): It is not known why the impoverished children of Icemule Trace decided that snow lilies were an appropriate gift to offer in thanks for charity. Perhaps they felt a certain kinship with the readily-overlooked but beautiful little flowers. However, their gifts have caused the snow lily to symbolize gratitude.
Lily (stargazer): Stargazer lilies are carefully cultivated to brighten arrangements and gardens, and they are found only rarely in the wild, these days. For their beauty and the care it takes to grow stargazer lilies, these gorgeous flowers symbolize high status and high breeding.
Mezereon: Due to its beautiful flowers, delightful fragrance, and toxic red berries, the elves of Ta'Ardenai used mezereon to symbolize flirtatiousness. The elven saying, "He's just like mezereon," refers to a person who wants to flirt but doesn't actually want to make a romantic commitment.
Monkeyflower: Monkeyflower developed its current meaning only in the last hundred years. Prior to this, it had never been given a symbolic meaning by the prosaic dwarves on its native Teras Isle. By a trick of circumstance, however, a playful Paradis halfling in Wehnimer's Landing discovered that many Faendryl share a hereditary allergy to the pollen of monkeyflower. Since the monkeyflower's sticky petals will adhere to any surface to which they are pressed, the possibilities for entertainment were vast. Monkeyflower became a symbol of laughter.
Moonflower: A surprisingly strong wine with a sweet, strange scent can be made from the flowers of the moonflower vine. This directly led to the Ta'Ardenai designation of moonflower as a symbol of forgetfulness--for those who go to sleep drunk on moonflower wine rarely remember the prior night when morning comes.
Morning Glory: The symbolic meaning of morning glory rests within the name; morning glory symbolizes vainglory and ostentation. This poetic meaning may come from the fact that morning glory flowers typically close by mid morning, fading not long after dawn. In parts of Ta'Ardenai, elven gardeners took a certain malicious pleasure from secretly planting morning glory outside the homes of those archers whose words did not measure up to their deeds--for, by the time most noticed the insult, the climbing vines were firmly entrenched and difficult to exterminate from the soil.
Mournbloom: The sad song of wind pouring through mournbloom petals caused the sylvans to bedeck themselves and their homes with these odd flowers while in mourning or during funeral times. The flowers quickly came to symbolize the grief of those who wore mournbloom.
Nightshade: The magical properties of nightshade are far too varied and too dangerous to be described in this document. The Faendryl named the flower, and the blossom quickly grew to represent sorcery.
Orchid: Thousands of different types of flowers are classed as orchids, and, in the end, they share perhaps only one thing: their beauty. The city of Nydds is famous among those who appreciate such things both for the beauty of the wild orchids growing nearby, and for the beauty of its youths. A gift of an orchid blossom represents physical loveliness.
Pansy: Although blind to many plants, scholars in Ta'Illistim are traditionally fond of pansies. Many keep the small flowers in float bowls and bouquets all about their homes. Whether the custom arose from the meaning, or the meaning arose from the custom, is difficult to determine, but pansy blossoms symbolize thought.
Pansy (snow): When the first merchants from Icemule Trace travelled to Ta'Illistim, an enterprising young human with a taste for gardening was among their number, and she quickly convinced certain among the Illistim to take a fancy to the snow pansies that she sold. With the preexisting symbolism of pansies and the Illistim penchant for the pretty flowers, it took only a small step for these pale, beautiful flowers to become a courting-gift from those who considered themselves overlooked. The message of a gift of a snow pansy is, "Turn your thoughts towards me."
Pea: The unprepossessing flowers of the pea plant owe their unusual symbolism to the period of time when the Turamzzyrian Empire strove to destroy the Kannalan Alliance. Pea flower represents an appointed meeting, and, like foxglove, carefully positioned sprigs of pea inside meaningless bouquets served as a completely unexpected code to help with espionage and assassinations.
Pennyroyal: During the hunt to destroy the Wsalamir Arctic Clan in the Second Age, subtlety came into play as well as simple violence. The Arctic Clan took many prisoners from among the human and elven villages (though many of these prisoners wound up dead not long after), and among these was a human healer who swore he would change sides to support them if only they would leave him alive. He earned trust day by day, until, twenty years into his captivity, he tried to poison the leader of the Clan, concealing the scent of the toxins with the heavy scent of pennyroyal. The giantman saw straight through the attempted assassination, and told the healer, "You may flee me, but you will never flee the wendigo in time," and cast him into the cold. Since that time, pennyroyal has always meant "Flee me."
Peony: Peonies bloom only briefly, perhaps a week at most. In the forests surrounding Ta'Ardenai, these sun-yearning flowers last even less time than a week. This helps explain why the elves used peonies as a symbol of bashfulness.
Petunia: When petunias blossom, if the faded blooms are cut away, the flowers will blossom over and over again through the entire summer months and well into the autumn. A ballad-writer scandalized the habits of one overly flirtatious noblewoman in the Turamzzyrian Empire by comparing her to a petunia--"She blooms and blooms again for the sun of any smile!" After Lady Morriela recovered from her shock and shame, she publicized a brief but telling letter of reply, finishing, "Throughout my life, there has been little save pain, and I am glad enough of any kindness. I am not proud." When the matter settled, the last line of her letter became the significance of the petunia flower.
Phlox: A love-song sung by the Brughan halflings begins, "As the river to the valley, as the siskin to the pine, as the phlox is to the woodland, so my heart shall be to thine." The simple but pretty sentiment of this song caused phlox to symbolize unity.
Primrose: The pretty, small flowers of the primrose were often picked by elven children and woven into bracelets and crowns. Delighted by their children's play, the citizens of Ta'Ardenai chose primrose to symbolize early youth.
Primrose (fairy): By human legend, the name "fairy primrose" is far more accurate than fanciful. These legends claim that six-inch-tall elves with wings like dragonflies make their homes beneath the deep green leaves of fairy primrose. As a result, the little flowers of the fairy primrose became a symbol of enchantment, and the gift of a fairy primrose says that the recipient is akin to one of the magical creatures.
Queen's Lace: When compared to the flower of Imaera's Lace, the blossoms of Queen's Lace (or, as some know it better, wild carrot) are coarser in design, and their florets are less evenly spaced. The name stems from an ancient legend in which a queen sought to take Imaera's Lace as her own symbol, lessening the worship of the Arkati. When the queen walked in her gardens, the blossoms of Imaera's Lace became less beautiful and less delicate, reflecting the queen's own soul, while the vines stuck straight and stiffly from the ground and refused to climb across the trellises provided. In the symbolic language of flowers, Queen's Lace means, "Do not command me."
Rose: The widely cultivated rose blossom bears a thousand meanings in its petals-a full chapter could be allotted in any book to the symbolism of roses among various races and cultures. Roses are often used as symbols of Oleani, Voaris, and Laethe, but the Mularosian Painlord Eryael used rose petals as his personal sign. Most commonly, roses are taken as symbols of love and beauty, with the red rose always meaning, "I love you." However, the freshness, hue, variety, intactness or lack of thorns, and presence of any accompanying flowers will all affect the symbolism of a rose among those who speak the language of flowers most skillfully.
Rose-marrow: The way in which the blackish-green leaves of rose-marrow conceal the pretty scarlet and white flowers of the plant is responsible both for the plant's name and for the plant's meaning. Rose-marrow symbolizes a hidden heart.
Rosemary: Early human herbal lore claimed that rosemary was good for strengthening the memory of the aging and weak. Even after this legend was disproved, rosemary still stood for remembrance.
Salorisa: The honey-sweet fragrance of salorisa flowers lives on long after the flowers are dead and dried. While this makes them particularly popular in potpourri, those with more sensitive noses often find the scent to be cloying in excess. For this reason, salorisa represents emotional stifling and suffocation.
Sirenflower: One Ashrim legend claimed that sirenflowers sprang not from the hand of Imaera, but from the hand of Jastev. This story probably comes from the paint-bright hues of the sirenflower's petals combined with the eerie sound of wind rustling through the paper-thin blossoms. The Ashrim also claimed that the rustle of sirenflowers on a windless day signals that spirits or demons draw near, and certain Ashrim sea-captains kept bundles of dried sirenflower in their cabins to alert them to such dangers. Sirenflower represents prophecy and second sight.
Snapdragon: When squeezed correctly, the blossoms of the snapdragon plant will open and close like an animal's mouth. Human children at play sometimes make "snapdragon puppets" out of the hand-sized blossoms of giant snapdragon, a rather rare variety of this plant that naturally grows in the Barony of Bourth. It is difficult to briefly determine whether or not the current or historic politics of Bourth are related to the snapdragon's meaning of "presumption," but a cultural historian might be interested in examining the matter further.
Sneezeweed: Like ragweed, the pollen of sneezeweed causes a rather violent allergic reaction in a large percentage of the human population. Aside from the obvious problems inherent in giving a sneezeweed bouquet, a gift of sneezeweed flowers means that the giver is mocking the recipient.
Sovyn: One story surrounding sovyn flower deals with the courtship of an empath who had sworn her devotion first and foremost to her healing arts forever. One of her would-be loves brought her a bouquet that included the tiny golden flowers of the sovyn bush. The healer discarded the other flowers entirely, saving only the sovyn flowers, and told her courter, "I thank you for your kindness, but you act too quickly-see, they have not dried yet into cloves. These are useless." Since then, sovyn flowers have meant, "It is not yet time."
Strawberry: Truefolk custom says that, rather than giving the pretty white and yellow flowers of the strawberry plant to those who are loved, it is more appropriate to put clusters of berries into bouquets; after all, while the picked flowers will wither, the sweetness of the strawberries can be enjoyed immediately. Either the blossom or the fruit of strawberries means "sweetness."
Sunflower: The giantmen of Araime Sun Clan admire the way in which the sunflower turns its face always to the sun. They consider the sunflower to be an illustration to the mortal races of Elanthia of devotion and admiration, and this is the symbolic meaning that accompanies the flower.
Talneo: The beautiful periwinkle flowers of the talneo vine grow in lengthy stalkfuls of florets, cascading across whatever trellis or tree the vine may be climbing. For the lazy, languid appearance of the drooping flowers, the Ardenai use talneo to represent dreaminess.
Thyme: Some people find the scent of thyme unusually invigorating, and, for a time, Shireland custom included the wearing of small thyme amulets to lift the heart and senses through the day. Due to this Truefolk tradition, thyme represents vitality.
Trillium: Preserved texts from the days of the Elven Empire describe the proper behavior of a human female servant in order for such a servant to be permitted in public. "Instruct your maidservants in the way of the trillium flower," reads one such text. "Her duties are first to be inconspicuous in her demeanor, second to be well groomed in her appearance, and third to be efficient in her duties." This scrap of text may relate to the trillium flower's symbolic meaning of "modest beauty." Near Wehnimer's Landing, however, trillium holds an additional meaning. In legend, Leya loved trillium blossoms when she was young and mortal, and the pretty white flowers grow freely around her shrine. To those who worship Leya, trillium represents hope despite pain. Trillium growing near a home is considered a sign of Leya's blessing.
Tuberose: Despite its prosaic name, the tuberose is noted for its heady, intoxicating scent. Sufficient numbers of tuberoses blossoming in a confined space can lead to dizziness and even unconsciousness. For a period of time, Nalfein noblewomen took delight in wearing tuberose essences, augmenting their dangerous personalities with an equally seductive scent. It is hardly surprising that the tuberose came to mean "dangerous pleasures."
Tulip: The tulip flower is as beautiful as it is distinctive, and the combination is why human courtiers have long used most tulips as a symbol of fame. Although the shape of the tulip is specific, varieties of tulip vary wildly in color, and some tulips have acquired independent symbolic meanings as a result. Red tulips represent a declaration of love, yellow tulips represent hopeless love, and black tulips represent cruelty. The unusual but beautiful ice tulips of Icemule Trace symbolize caution, perhaps for their fragile appearance.
Valerian: Valerian is used medicinally, magically, and in some religious rituals of Imaera, Kuon, and Aeia. It grows freely throughout Elanith. Due to its versatility and omnipresence, valerian symbolizes an accommodating personality.
Verbena: Verbena is sometimes used by skilled herbalists as a treatment for coughing and wheezing. It has been most effective in treating a coughing sickness in human children that often proves fatal if left untreated. For this reason, and for its clusters of bright flowers that never grow alone, verbena symbolizes family union.
Violet: Violets carry a number of different symbolic meanings, as they grow in so many places and please the eye of so many cultures. Blue violets are used as a token of friendship and remembrance, while purple violets symbolize faithful love. Alpine violets are used in bouquets to request candid words; this was originally a sylvan custom, though its source is obscured by time. Due to the reclusiveness of their tiny yellow blossoms, wood violets represent secrecy. The flaming violets of River's Rest are magical creations rather than natural flowers, but they, too, have earned a place among floral symbolism: flaming violets symbolize intellectual brilliance.
Water lily: The beautiful blossoms of these aquatic flowers have long been the subject of elven poetry, songs, and paintings, particularly during the middle portion of the Second Age, when elven artists turned their attention towards landscape art. Their association with water, the age-old symbol of the unconscious, has long caused water lilies to represent contemplation.
Wolfsbane: Wolfsbane got its name when a group of inept hunters noticed that wolves would not eat the meat of animals killed near this plant. One of this group, Arnica, suggested that treating the meat of their kill with wolfsbane might prevent the wolves from trying to steal their dinner. It worked-too well. As well as keeping the wolves away, the toxic properties of the wolfsbane plant left the hunters and their families painfully sick. After that, wolfsbane (or arnica after the foolish hunter) was strictly avoided, no matter how repellent wild animals found its properties. Although the medicinal properties of wolfsbane were later discovered, the plant never lost its symbolic meaning of betrayal.
Woth: Legend holds that a Dhe'nar priestess of Imaera long loved the beautiful, exotic flowers that the vine produced, but she felt that it was a taint to her honor to tend them, because the flowers were of no herbal use despite their beauty. When she finally went to command a servant to uproot them from her garden, she heard a voice that commanded her to stay her hand and observe them further. She began to study and test woth flower at length, and she was the first to discover how woth flower could be used to overcome defects in the nervous system. From her experience and her words, woth flower gained the meaning of "blessed beauty."