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Floriography and the colors of roses — what do they mean?

Since June is National Rose Month, now is the perfect time for a refresher on the symbolic meanings behind the different colors of roses.

WHITE-ROSE But where and when did the color meaning of roses originate? Jack Goody, in his book “The Culture of Flowers,” said that giving meanings to flowers originally came from the east. Also called floriography, the art of speaking with flowers began in Persia where illiterate women in the Ottoman palace harems used flowers to communicate, because written language was forbidden. The tradition of using the language of flowers then traveled to Europe where it was used to impart the feelings of high society in England.

Though the exact meanings for all the different flowers and colors may be lost to us today, many people still give roses to convey their emotions to recipients. The following are some of the most popular symbols.

Red = love, romance, respect, courage, beauty and perfection.

Burgundy = unconscious beauty.

Deep pink = gratitude and appreciation.

Light pink = admiration, gentleness, sympathy and grace.

Peach = appreciation, sincerity and gratitude.

Pale peach = modesty.

Coral = happiness.

Salmon = enthusiasm, desire and excitement.

Orange = fascination, energy and passion.

Purple/lavender = enchantment, wonder and love at first sight.

White = innocence, purity, humility, reverence, charm, worthiness and young love. However, they can also signify death, a heart unacquainted with love and also virginity.

Ivory/cream = charm, thoughtfulness and gracefulness.

Yellow = joy, gladness and friendship. But they can also imply infidelity.

Yellow with red tips = friendship or falling in love.

Green = cheerfulness, abundant growth and a constant rejuvenation of spirit.

A combination of red and yellow roses = gaiety and happiness.

A mix of red and white roses = unity.

A thorn-less rose = love at first sight.

A single rose in full bloom = “I love you” or “I still love you.”

Tea roses = “I’ll remember always.”