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Dead medium: Flower Codes
From: (Richard Kadrey) and (Mikki Halpin)
Source(s): excerpted Romance of Flowers page sponsored by Interflora (; and alt.romance FAQ (

The Romance of Flowers

"History has it, that the first mention of the language- of-flowers custom was made by the most colourful Englishwoman of her time, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Lady Montagu was writing home from Constantinople in 1717 and her letters were later published in 1763 after her death.

"Language of flowers dictionaries which had their first popularity in Paris, were subsequently published in English with equal success. *Le Langage des Fleurs* by Mme. Charlotte de la Tour was the first flower dictionary, published in Paris in 1818. The great delight of the English in these books began in the day of George IV and continued through the early years of Queen Victoria's reign.

"The Americans were slower to become enthusiastic and started to take an interest somewhat later. 'Le Langage des Fleurs' ran to eighteen editions and Mme. Charlotte de la Tour was a toast of Paris society. It would have been to her displeasure that her book was pirated in America and Spain, although it proved flowers speak an international language.

"In the era of Victorian manners and morals with the accent on gentility, shy Victorians used language-of- flowers books to express their sentiments when they were loath to let words pass their lips.

"One Victorian writer declared that with the help of a flower language book, a courting couple walking decorously in the garden could present flowers to each other and carry on a conversation of considerable wit, compliments and flirtation banter."


from the alt.romance FAQ

Flowers and their meaning

From: (Dawn Bott) "[...] this whole flower language started in Constantinople in the 1600s, and was brought to England in 1716 by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu who had spent time in Turkey with her husband. The interest then moved to France (of course) where the book 'Le Langage des Fleurs' was printed with over 800 floral signs. Many were toned down in the English translation at the time of Queen Victoria because they were quite lusty and risque!"

White rosebud - heart ignorant of love

Crocus - abuse not

Rhubarb - advice

Indian jasmine - attachment

Holly - Am I forgotten

Deep red carnation - Alas! for my poor heart

Deep red rose - bashful shame

Full red rose - beauty

Burgundy rose - unconscious beauty

Unique rose - call me not beautiful

Turnip - charity

Chrysanthemum - cheerfulness in old age

Buttercup - childishness

Great yellow daffodil - chivalry

Lettuce - coldheartedness

Moss rosebud - confession of love

Red poppy - consolation

Red tulip - declaration of love

yellow sweetbrier or yellow rose - decrease of love

Mistletoe - difficulties, I surmount

Yellow carnation - rue, distain

Thornless rose - early attachment

Anemone - expectation

Scarlet poppy - extravagance, fantastic

Blue violet - faithfulness

Purple lilac - first emotions of love

Forget-me-not - forget me not

Damask rose - freshness

White rose - I am worthy of you

Peach blossom - I am your captive

Iris - I have a message for you

White daisy - innocence

yellow rose - jealousy

dandelion - love's oracle

Lotus flower - estranged love

Ivy - marriage

Provence rose - my heart is in flames

yellow iris - passion

Dog rose - pleasure and pain

Christmas rose - relieve my anxiety

Filbert - reconciliation

Spanish jasmine - sensuality

Peony - shame

White poppy - sleep

yellow chrysanthemum - slighted love

Amaryllis - splendid beauty

Honeyflower - sweet and secret love

Pansy - thoughts

Zinnia - thoughts of absent friends

White and red rose together - unity

Parsley - useful knowledge

Pink carnation - woman's love

lady slipper - win me

Marigold - vulgar minded

Rosemary - your presence revives me

Ice plant - your looks freeze me


From: From: (The Seventh Stranger)

The Language of Flowers.

Flowers may be combined and arranged so as to express even

the nicest shades of sentiment.

If a flower is offered "reversed", its direct

signification is likewise reversed, so that the flower now

means the opposite.

A rosebud divested of its thorns, but retaining its

leaves, convays the sentiment, "I fear no longer; I hope."

Stripped of leaves and thorns, it signifies, "There is

nothing to hope or fear."

A full-blown rose placed over two buds, signifies


"Yes," is implied by touching the flower given to the

lips; "No," by pinching off a petal and casting it away.

"I am," is expressed by a laurel leaf twined around the

bouquet; "I have," by an ivy leaf folded together; "I

offer you," by a leaf of Virginia creeper.


Moss Rosebud and Myrtle.

A confession of love.

Mignonette and Coloured Daisy.

Your qualities surpass your charms of beauty.

Lily of the Valley and Ferns.

Your unconscious sweetness has fascinated me.

Yellow Rose, Broken Straw and Ivy.

Your jealousy has broken our friendship.

Scarlet Geranium, Passion Flower, Purple Hyacinth, and

Arbor Vitae.

I trust you will find consolation, through faith, in

your sorrow; be assured of my unchanging friendship.

Columbine, Day Lily, Broken Straw, Witch Hazel and

Coloured Daisy.

Your folly and coquetry have broken the spell of your


White Pink, Canary Grass and Laurel.

Your talent and perseverance will win you glory.

Golden-rod, Monkshead, Sweet Pea and Forget-me-not.

Be cautious; danger is near; I depart soon; forget me


ARBOR VITAE - Unchanging friendship.

CAMELIA, WHITE. - Loveliness.

CANDY-TUFF. - Indifference.

CARNATION, DEEP RED. - Alas! for my poor heart.


CHINA-ASTER. - Variety.


CLOVER, WHITE. - Think of me.

CLOVER, RED. - Industry.


COLUMBINE, PURPLE. - Resolved to win.

DAISY. - Innocence.

DEAD LEAVES. - Sadness.


FERN. - Fascination.

FORGET-ME-NOT. - True love. Forget me not.


GERANIUM, SCARLET. - Consolation.

GERANIUM, ROSE. - Preference.

GOLDEN-ROD. - Be cautious.

HELIOTROPE. - Devotion.

HONEY-FLOWER. - Love, sweet and secret.

HYACINTH, WHITE. - Unobtrusive loveliness.

IVY. - Fidelity.

LADY'S SLIPPER. - Win me and wear me.

LILY, DAY. - Coquetry

LILY, WHITE. - Sweetness.

LILY, YELLOW. - Gaiety.

LILY OF THE VALLEY. - Return of happiness.

MIGNONETTE. - Your qualities surpass your charms.

MONKSHEAD. - Danger is near.

MYRTLE. - Love.

OATS. - The witching soul of music.


PANSY. - Thoughts.


PEACH BLOSSOM. - I am your captive.

PEAR. - Affection.

PRIMROSE. - Inconstancy.

QUAKING GRASS. - Agitation.

ROSE. - Love.

ROSE, DEEP RED. - Bashful shame.

ROSE, YELLOW. - Jealousy.

ROSE, WHITE. - I am worthy of you.

ROSEBUD, MOSS. - Confession of love.

SHAMROCK. - Lightheartedness.

STRAW. - Agreement.

STRAW, BROKEN. - Broken agreement.

SWEEP PEA. - Depart.

TUBEROSE. - Dangerous pleasures.

VERBENA. - Prey for me.

WITCH HAZEL. - A spell.

Richard Kadrey (
Mikki Halpin (