The Symbolic Meaning of Wildflowers

Wildflowers are those that bloom by themselves without human intervention. They grow in the wild and in most cases, they weren’t intentionally planted. The symbolic meaning of wildflowers can be fascinating to learn about.

My favorite quote from Alice in Wonderland asks, “do you suppose she’s a wildflower?” It’s a reminder that each of us is unique, even if we’re in a field full of flowers. Generally, wildflowers signify our experiences and memories. They represent the celebration of life.

In today’s article, we’ll delve into the symbolisms of wildflowers and discover how to use them as a thoughtful means of communication. So without further ado, let’s jump in!

Wildflower Bouquet Meaning

According to the USDA, there are about 20,000 species of wildflowers in America alone. Each one has its symbolic meaning. Because of this, it’s impossible to have one interpretation for all wildflowers.

Moreover, flower symbolisms vary depending on your region. Each culture has a different meaning for the same flower. Some of the same species of flowers even have varying connotations depending on color.

Even if it’s difficult to know the exact meaning of each flower, I believe that this challenge makes floriography all the more fascinating.

For example, a bunch of mixed wildflowers symbolizes happiness, perseverance, remembrance, and healing. However, if you receive only one type of wildflower, then that could have a different connotation.

Read more: Camia Flower: Symbolism, Origins, and Uses

Wildflowers and Their Meanings

Wildflowers had meanings even before humans invented writing. Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and Chinese all have records of the symbolism of flowers.

It was even a way for the people of the Victorian era to communicate! Back then, many words couldn’t be said out loud. The meanings became so detailed that they could literally have a whole discussion just by passing flowers back and forth!

For this reason, you’ll find that each wildflower has a specific interpretation. Below are just a few of our favorite local wildflowers and what they mean.

1.   Black-Eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susans are dark-yellow flowers with a dark center. They typically grow in huge clusters and are used by Native Americans as a treatment for cold.

This flower represents justice. It’s a reminder to stay on the path of righteousness. It can also mean positive change or motivation.

2.   Blue Flax

Blue flax is commonly used as a material to make nets and strings for snow shoes. Its flower, which has five blue petals and a yellow center, symbolizes domestication.

For newlyweds, blue flax can be a way to bring blessings to a new home.

3.   Blue Vervain

Blue Vervain Flowers

The blue vervain is a perennial that can grow up to six feet tall. The flowers are tiny and purplish. They run along a slender stem, which makes arrangements with this flower look delicate.

Blue Vervains or Verbenas represent the feeling of calmness, serenity, and healing. On the Isle of Man, islanders see it as a symbol of protection and often sew it into their clothing.

4.   Butterfly Weed

Butterfly weed is a bright orange milkweed that monarch butterflies love to perch on. It grows in tiny clusters of flowers with perky petals.

Because the flower is closely associated with the butterfly, it’s known as a symbol for Mexican immigrants. This is because monarch butterflies migrate from Mexico to America in a similar way.

5.   Cardinal Flower

The cardinal flower got its name from the velvety red robes worn by priests in the Catholic church. It symbolizes dignity and passion.

Legend has it that touching the roots of the cardinal flower will bring love to elderly women. That’s a good story to tell your single aunt.

6.   Columbine

Columbines look like flowers growing out of blue stars! Otherwise known as granny’s bonnet, it represents fortitude.

To receive a columbine means the other person wants to give you the courage to carry out your endeavors.

7.   Cornflower Blue

Cornflowers got their name because they usually grow in cornfields.

In the Victorian era, this flower translates to a request for gentleness. They’re a symbol of tenderness and reliability.

For ancient Egyptians, it was a symbol of life and fertility. That makes me wonder why they put garlands of it on mummified pharaohs.

Reader Also Checked: Bromeliad Flower Meaning

8.   Dandelion

Most people categorize dandelions as weeds instead of wildflowers. However, we can’t ignore the fact that bees greatly benefit from them!

The hardy flowers symbolize rebirth, strength, hope, and growth. They can also mean strength and power, especially after a hard winter.

9.   Edelweiss

Edelweiss is a wildflower that’s local to the rocky mountains of Austria and Switzerland. It became cemented into popular American culture after the Sound of Music came out.

It’s a flower that got worn by John F. Kennedy on his coat since it symbolizes patriotism, devotion, and courage.

10. Eryngo

Eryngo is perhaps one of the cutest wildflowers, in my opinion. It looks like a miniature purple pineapple!

The flower symbolizes attraction and independence.

11. Fireweed

Fireweed Flowers

Fireweed flowers don’t resemble fires. They’re lilac clusters of tiny florets. Fireweed represents the healing of a heart. It means taking painful emotions and transforming them into meaningful lessons.

Other interpretations could be innovation, release, and rebirth. 

12. Glacier Lily

Glacier Lilies, or avalanche lilies, are perennials with yellow flowers that are upside down. The flower stems are long and don’t have leaves. Its star-shaped petals open in the full sun. 

These flowers come out at the end of winter as a bright pop of color among the white snow. It indicates spring, nutrition, and longevity.

13. Gray Goldenrod

The gray goldenrod is an edible plant used as a garnish on salads. You can dry its leaves and flowers for use as tea. The flowers are tiny and yellow, reminiscent of golden wheat stalks.

Gray goldenrods represent the sun, wealth, happiness, and new beginnings. For this reason, it’s a popular decoration at weddings.

14. Helenium Sneezeweed

Helenium sneezeweed got its name because people used to dehydrate and grind its leaves. The powder was then inhaled to cause sneezing, which people believed expelled evil spirits.

The flowers look similar to daisies, and the color can range from yellow to dark red. It symbolizes tenderness and tears.

15. Jerusalem Artichoke

Jerusalem artichoke goes by several names like sun root, sunchoke, or wild sunflower. It’s like a miniature version of a sunflower.

An interesting fact about this flower is that it has edible tubers that have a sweet chestnut flavor when raw. Once you bake it, it’ll taste like potatoes with a hint of artichoke.

Jerusalem artichoke flowers signal a positive flow of love, light, and transformation.

16. Joe Pye Weed

The joe pye weed got its name from a man named Joe Pye, who used it to cure a typhoid epidemic. Native Americans consider it an aphrodisiac. Some even use it as an ingredient in love potions.

The flowers look like fluffy pinkish-to-lilac fur. In floriography, joe pye weeds mean “to delay.”

17. Monkeyflower

Monkeyflowers are yellow-striped flowers with two-lipped open corollas. This makes these flowers look like playful monkeys. Many consider it a weed, but scientists believe it could be the key to understanding zebra stripes.

In the language of flowers, it’s associated with a positive encouragement to face your fears.

18. Painted Trillium

The painted trillium is a unique three-petalled flower that comes in a multitude of colors.

In general, they represent the bridge between our physical and spiritual bodies. It could also mean spirituality and balance.

If you find one of these in the wild, don’t pick it as it’s a rare flower! You can, however, consider yourself lucky.

19. Prairie Smoke

Prairie Smoke

Prairie smoke, or old man’s whiskers, is a pink flower that looks like a tuft of a feather. It’s a rare flower that’s related to the rose.

If you receive prairie smoke flowers, it means that person is sending a message of acceptance no matter how fragile you feel.

20. Purple Coneflower

Purple coneflower is a herbaceous perennial in the daisy family. 

It’s a medicinal plant that’s turned into tea as an immunity booster. Some use it to treat cough, cold, and respiratory problems.

It’s no wonder that the flower symbolizes health and healing.

21. Shooting Star

The shooting star is part of the primrose family. Its scientific name means “the flower of the 12 gods” because people believed that primroses were under the care of the 12 Olympians.

Its flowers range from white to purple, and the petals look like delicate cloth waving in the wind. Some believe that shooting star flowers symbolize the birth of the holy child.

22. Wild Bergamot

Wild Bergamot, or bee balm, is a spicy and aromatic flower in the mint family. Some people use it to season stews and meats.

Its flowers can be purple or white and it symbolizes sympathy, good health, and protection against evil.

To Recap

The symbolic meanings of wildflowers have been around since ancient times.

Different cultures have their interpretations, and the language of flowers is vast. Yet, we also learned that it’s fun to figure out the distinctions between each species.

This is why if you’re looking for a special gift for a loved one, look no further than the humble wildflowers!