Have you ever wondered what your birth flower is? Or what it might mean?
As an often somewhat prettier alternative to the more conventional birthstone, birth flowers are an exciting and vibrant way to identify and give gifts.
Before we take a look at birth flowers by month, it is worth considering why we have the tradition of associating signs, stones and flowers with months of birth.
Many people believe that the birthstone tradition dates all the way back to the Bible.
The story goes that in Exodus 28, Moses commissioned special armour for the prophet Aaron, who was the High Priest of the Hebrews.
The breastplate of the armour was designed to feature twelve precious gemstones, who would be symbolic of the twelve tribes of Israel at the time.
Eventually, these stones were linked with the signs of the Babylonian Zodiac and then the twelve calendar months of the year, most probably because of their numerical coincidence.
So, let’s take a look at the different flowers for birth months, and what they are believed to signify…
Kicking off in chronological order, the birth flower for January is the Carnation, said to be one of the principal symbols of love, along with the rose.
Owing to the fact that it comes in an array of vibrant shades, the carnation is arguably the perfect flower for the normally dark and dismal months of January.
The different colours of the carnation are said to signify different types of love. The red carnation supposedly signifies a deep and passionate love, similarly a pink carnation is symbolic of affection.
White is the colour of purity, and thus a white carnation is often thought of as a depiction of the purity of love, whereas a yellow carnation symbolises bitterness and regret.
Being the month of Valentine’s Day, many people often think that the rose is the symbolic flower of February, when it is in fact the Violet.
This is much less surprising when you consider that violets are believed to signify faithfulness and loyalty. In addition, violets have often been said to represent the virtues of hope and wisdom.
Slightly more predictably, the birth flower for March is the Daffodil, the symbol of springtime and new life. A sign of new beginnings, the daffodil reflects the ideals of happiness, respect and friendship.
The radiant, glowing yellow of daffodils embody the end of winter and a shining future full of prosperity.
Also the flower associated with a tenth wedding anniversary, the daffodil is traditionally given in bunches, as the gift of a single daffodil is seen as unlucky,
The birth flower most commonly associated with April is the Daisy, which conveys innocence due to its pure white colour. Somewhat paradoxically, the daisy is often linked to the telling and keeping of secrets.
Like March, April is also one of the epitomical months of springtime and new beginnings, the daisy acts as a symbol for this.
May: Lily of the Valley
Traditionally, the birth flower of May is the Lily of the Valley which denotes purity, sweetness and humility. As such, the lily of the valley is often used as a decoration at weddings.
The lily of the valley is a very old flower and is mentioned in the Bible, supposedly growing in the place where Mary’s tears are said to have landed underneath the cross on Calvary, perhaps signifying why it is associated with sweetness and purity.
Roses are traditionally the birth flower of June. The rose has been used as a symbol for various things throughout the history of art and literature and, like other flowers, often has its significance dictated by its colour.
The red rose for example, probably the most famous flower in western culture, has long been an iconic symbol of intense and passionate love.
By contrast, a white rose has always been the sign of innocence and purity, with its lack of stain or blemish.
Pink and yellow roses often have mixed meanings but normally symbolise the contrasting states of happiness and bitterness, respectively.
The meaning of a rose can also change with the way it is presented or given. A single rose is widely regarded as a romantic gesture whereas a bouquet can be seen either romantically or as a token of gratitude.
For people born in the month of July, their birth flower is Larkspur, typically symbolic of levity and lightheartedness. A naturally very beautiful flower, Larkspur comes in a range of soft hues and its refreshingly light fragrance reflects its symbolism.
Again, each different colour represents a different meaning. Pink is often said to represent contrariness, white signifies happiness and purple is sometimes seen as symbolic as the sign of first love.
August is the height of summer in Great Britain and is aptly represented by the bright and vibrant Gladiolus as its birth flower.
The so-called ‘sword lily’ is used to denote calm, moral integrity and strength of character. The gladiolus grows in a wide variety of colours including pink, red, purple, yellow,orange, white and green.
September is the month of the Aster flower, symbolic of intense love. Once a powerful weapon for warding off snakes.
Patience, and being delicate, are two things often associated with the Aster flower. Equally, the aster is often used as a token of remembrance.
Marigolds are said to embody warmth and a form of fierce affection. Their bright colour is a perfect way to reflect this.
The marigold is steeped in the traditions of a number of religions, including Christianity, Aztec, Buddhism, Hinduism, and even some of the Pagan religions.
The November birth flower is the Chrysanthemum. The chrysanthemum reminds us that even in winter, there are lifeforms so joyous and beautiful. Incidentally, it’s the traditional flower of choice in Australia for Mother’s Day.
Chrysanthemums have been an integral part of both Chinese and Japanese culture for hundreds of years. They are believed to be a strong symbol of vigour and youth. It is a tradition to place a chrysanthemum petal at the bottom of a glass of wine to toast health and wellbeing. It is also said by the Chinese to prevent grey hairs coming through.
December: Poinsettia & Holly
Perhaps the least surprising birth flower or flowers, we should say, are those that are associated with December: Poinsettia and Holly.
Two of the flowers most commonly associated with Christmas, both poinsettia and holly are instantly recognisable by their warm red shades. As you might expect, these flowers are symbolic of generosity and good cheer - the traditional Christmas sentiments.
Although it also grows in shades of white and pink, poinsettia is most often red and as such doesn’t seem to carry with it the same connotations as other flowers which grow in multiple colours.
So to sum up, here’s a list of the calendar months and their associated flowers:
- January - Carnation (Love)
- February - Violet (Loyalty)
- March - Daffodil (Happiness)
- April - Daisy (Innocence)
- May - Lily of the Valley (Purity)
- June - Rose (Passionate Love)
- July - Larkspur (Lightheartedness)
- August - Gladiolus (Moral Integrity)
- September - Aster (Intense Love)
- October - Marigold (Affection)
- November - Chrysanthemum (Youth)
- December - Holly & Poinsettia (Generosity)
Birth flowers are a beautiful way to get creative with gift ideas, particularly if the occasion doesn’t necessarily call for buying a birth stone.
They are also a nice way to identify ourselves, often being used as middle or even first names, and can serve to remind us of the virtues that they are commonly associated with.
So rather than buying them a book they'll never read, or a shirt they'll never wear, why not surprise your loved one with a beautifully visual and fragrant floral arrangement with their birth flower and a couple more traits you think they embody, to brighten up their day and show you care.
And don't forget, floral scents and nutrients are revitalising and rich, and as such is why we love to include them in our Home and Body collections. Have a look at what we at Heathcote & Ivory have in stock to inject some natural, floral elegance into your life.