Black Pansy Flower Meaning, Characteristics, and Symbolism

Among the hundreds of colors available, black pansies are perhaps the most striking. Black devil pansies are the darkest of all black pansies, as they’re devoid of any maroon or purple characterization. But color aside, you might be wondering what the black pansy flower meaning is. The answer is a bit more complicated than you might think.

Black pansies are either seen in a positive or negative light. Depending on the occasion, they can symbolize death and mourning, or courage, strength, and loyalty.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about pansies, including their meaning, characteristics, and symbolism.


Pansies belong to the Viola genus, a classification that contains upwards of 500 species. 

In the 4th century B.C., violas were cultivated for medicinal purposes by the Greeks. Sometime after this period, a researcher noticed a plant similar to the viola growing in open areas like rocky ledges and alpine. He later named it “wild pansy,” from the French pensée, meaning, “thought” or “to think.” From then on, pansies were regarded as a symbol of remembrance.

The discovery of wild pansies spurred the creation of several hundred pansy variations. By the 19th century, upwards of 400 strains of pansies were bred across England, Switzerland, Scotland, and various parts of Europe.

At the turn of the 20th century, Dr. Charles Stewart developed a new variation of pansies with clear colors and no face. These so-called “no-face” pansies were especially popular across the Atlantic, particularly among North American gardeners.

Hundreds of other variations emerged in the last 50 years or so as pansies were introduced in Japan, Germany, and the United States. Today, these flowers come in countless shades of pink, blue, rose, orange, black, and bicolor. With sales exceeding hundreds of thousands of packets a year, pansies were arguably the most sought-after flowers of the century.

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Pansies are available in a range of colors and cultivars. The most popular colors are yellow, purple, gold, orange, white, and red, while the most popular cultivars are Adonis, Cat’s Whiskers, Tiger Eyes, and Universal Plus Series.

Pansies come with five rounded petals and heart-shaped leaves. The petals may consist of a single solid color, a “face” with different colors, or black lines coming from the center of the bloom.

Depending on the cultivar, they can grow between six to nine inches tall. The flowers themselves are no more than one to four inches across.

Pansies thrive in full sun or light shade. If they don’t receive enough sunlight, they’ll appear spindly and produce smaller, fewer flowers.

They’re fast-growing plants that grow best in daytime temperatures of 60°F and night temperatures of 40°F. They tolerate temperatures below freezing, but can’t withstand extremely hot weather.

Black Pansy Flowers

What Do Pansies Symbolize?

Derived from the French word pensée, meaning “to think,” pansies are often associated with thoughtfulness or remembrance. So when you send pansies to someone, you’re telling them that you’re missing them or thinking of them. Consequently, they indicate fondness, affection, and adoration.

Back in the day, pansies symbolized raging passion because they regularly appeared in Shakespeare’s plays, with the most notable being A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

But today, pansies indicate platonic love. Therefore, they’re often given as gifts for family, siblings, or best friends.

During the Victorian era, pansies were delivered to secret lovers. At the time, open courtship was seen as scandalous or even downright dishonorable, especially among lovers with different backgrounds.

To show affection amongst each other, pansies were wrapped in doilies alongside other herbs and gifted to romantic interests. These pansies were seen as a secret code: “I miss you,” the flowers say, conspiratorially. “I always think of you.”

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What Do Black Pansies Mean?

Black flowers have always had negative connotations in their symbolism, and black pansies are no different.

In British folklore, picking black pansies on a sunny day invites a storm. If picked before the dew dries on the flower’s petal, the occurrence of something dreadful may occur, like the death of a loved one.

Folklore aside, black pansies are often associated with mourning and death, a broken heart, and the end of a romantic relationship. In funerals, they’re laid out in the coffin to indicate just how much people miss the person that passed away.

But for many people, pansies are seen in a more positive light, symbolizing new beginnings, rejuvenation, and courage. They’re also associated with daring beauty, luxurious style, and sophistication, especially if delivered in a bouquet.

These modern meanings make it so that anyone would be happy to receive black pansies during their birthday, graduation, anniversary, and any other happy occasion. There’s also the fact that black pansies look striking in gardens and bouquets of bright flowers, making black one of the more sought-after colors of pansies.

What Do Other Colors Mean?

Pansies come in hundreds of color variations, from off-white to lavender to maroon. The most common colors and their meanings are as follows:

  • White pansies: Purity, innocence, and virtue; best suited for weddings and memorial services
  • Blue pansies: Devotion, honesty, and loyalty; best suited for birthdays
  • Pink pansies: love (both platonic and romantic), friendship, and fidelity; often seen on Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and anniversaries
  • Orange pansies: Optimism, hope, and happiness; can be sent to anyone recovering from an illness
  • Red pansies: love and affection; ideal for those wanting to deliver something eye-catching
  • Purple pansies: mystery, passion, and romance. To many, these flowers mean “I’m carrying your child.”
Colorful Pansies

Final Thoughts

Black pansies have both negative and positive symbolism.

Like most black flowers, they’re associated with mourning, death, and a broken heart. British folklore thinks of them as an omen of bad luck, stating that if they’re picked on a sunny day or dew on their petals, they may cause either rain or, more dramatically, the death of a loved one.

On the other hand, black pansies can also be used as a symbol of courage, strength, and loyalty. They could be interpreted as, “I want to be yours forever,” or “I’ll do anything for you.”