Flowers are nature's communication tool and are deeply embedded in our culture, traditions and heritage. Babbel (www.babbel.com), the app that gets you speaking a language like you have always wanted to, helps you say a little, or a lot, this Valentine's Day, with floriography – the language of flowers. With the help of Somerset's Badbury Flower Company we learn the traditional meaning of some of the world's most popular blooms.
Rose – The star of Valentine's Day. With a deep red flower and thorns, the rose symbolises romantic love. A pink flower represents a lesser affection, white stands for virtue and chastity, and yellow for friendship, well wishes or, in the Victorian era, infidelity. If you want to send a different message, the black rose symbolises death and black magic.
Mimosa – Otherwise known as the “sensitive plant”, this little flower closes its leaves at night or when touched, and as such is associated with chastity.
Orchid – The exotic form of the orchid often invokes associations with sensuality, which is why the ancient Greeks considered it a symbol of virility.
Ivy – Ivy is the emblem of love and marriage. It represents fidelity, friendship and affection.
Forget-me-not – The name of this flower originates in the 14th century German poem Vergissmeinnicht. This common garden flower represents loyalty and remembrance, given in the hope that the sender will not be forgotten.
Lavender – The 'herb of love', said to reduce stress in the body and increase the blood flow. Of all the aphrodisiac flowers, lavender has been proven to be the most effective! Unfortunately, fresh flowers are not likely to be available on Valentine's Day, but it's worth keeping in mind for the summer!
Tulip – The most prosperous period of the Ottoman Empire was named the "Tulip Era", after the positive associations with their native flower. In England, however, the flower symbolises passion, and in the Netherlands it represents the brevity of life.
Yellow Daffodil – Wish someone good luck with daffodils. This springtime favourite symbolises new beginnings, luck and future success.
Daisy – Today, the daisy is commonly associated with childlike innocence, but Pagan Europeans saw the dainty flowers as little suns, with the white petals representing solar rays.
White Lily – Like the daisy, the white petals of the lily conjure up notions of purity. Furthermore, the French monarchy's use of the flower for its iconic fleur-de-lis symbol has led to the association with royalty.
Narcissi – This flower is named after the Narcissus of Greek mythology – a young man who was a ravishingly beautiful but fatally self-obsessed.
Hellebore – Watch out, this bloom suggests scandal and slander! The recipient would understand the gift of this flower as a warning against impending disaster.
Chrysanthemum – The name of this flower is literally translated as "gold flower" in ancient Greek – a nod to the original yellow petals.
Chrysanthemums now come in many colors, but they retain the association with cheerfulness.
Iris – The meaning of an iris depends on its colour. Purple symbolises wisdom and compliments, blue stands for faith and hope, yellow for passion, and white for purity.
Hyacinth – Like the iris, the hyacinth's meaning changes depending on its colour. A blue hyacinth stands for constancy, playfulness and, in the extreme – rashness. Purple, on the other hand, stands for sorrow, white for loveliness and yellow for jealousy.
Red Carnation – While the carnation mainly symbolises love, it has also been used to represent the socialist movement.
While we all know that red roses say “I love you”, for centuries flowers have been used to deliver coded messages of etiquette, subterfuge and romance. Flower farmer and florist in Somerset, Helen Toon of Badbury Flower Company (www.badburyflowerco.com) explains, “there's currently a huge resurgence in the demand for locally grown flowers happening not only in England, but across Europe and beyond.” With the language of flowers, Babbel gives you the chance to deliver a message that transcends language barriers this Valentine's Day.