The sweet pea flower is known for its attractive look and amazing scent. This makes it a popular flower in backyards and small gardens. As a fairly popular flower that’s commonly used in decorations, the sweet pea flower is quite a symbolic one.
So what is the sweet pea flower meaning?
The legume flower comes in a wide range of colors as well as meanings. The most popular meaning of the sweet pea flower is bliss and happiness, but it can also represent friendships, good wishes, and new adventures. Also, the flower is considered a good omen in many regions around the world, especially in West Europe.
The sweet pea flower is as interesting as it is beautiful, and in today’s guide, we’ll take a closer look at the symbolism and significance of this amazing flower, so you can figure out the right time to use it as a decoration or a gift!
Sweet Pea Flower Origin and Etymology
As the name suggests, the sweet pea is a colorful flowering plant that belongs to the genus “Lathyrus” of the legume family “Fabaceae”. This is actually one of the largest botanical families in the world, which explains the abundance of its flowers around the globe.
Sweet peas are originally native to coastal regions of the mediterranean sea, particularly the Aegean and Sicilian islands. However, the hardy plant quickly became popular due to its aesthetic look and pleasant scent.
In fact, the scientific name of the flower is “Lathyrus odoratus”. Odoratus here comes from the sweet fragrance of the flower, which explains why it’s called so. However, the sweet scent is associated with the annual varieties of the plant, not the perennial ones.
Although it is a legume and has the word “sweet” in it, the plant is not fully edible and is considered toxic to humans, especially when consumed in large quantities.
Despite that, the flower became a sweeping success in Europe after its discovery due to its beautiful and decorative flowers.
What Does the Sweet Pea Flower Symbolize?
When it comes to symbolism, the beauty of sweet peas is commonly associated with positive aspects of life.
In the following section, we’ll take a closer look at the popular meanings of a sweet pea flower in today’s world:
1. Joy and Bliss
Sweet pea flowers typically bloom anywhere between spring and summer. For that reason, the flower is typically associated with the vibrancy, joy, and bliss of the spring season.
The annual reminder blooms for a short period of time, so it’s a reminder of enjoying the beautiful things in life.
2. Farewell and Gratitude for the Happy Times
Another meaning that is also associated with the short time that the flower spends blooming is farewells, goodbyes, and deep gratitude for the happy times that you’ve spent together.
This makes it an excellent departure gift when a friend or a colleague is ending a major chapter or adventure in their life.
Like many flowers that bloom in the spring and summer, the sweet pea flower is associated with the happy times that friends spend in the company of each other.
4. Good Wishes
Another popular symbolism that is deeply associated with the sweet pea flowers, regardless of their color, is good wishes.
Sweet peas are beautiful, fragrant, and vibrant colors, so they’re used to represent optimism and hope for a better future.
In fact, Sweet Peas are usually planted on St Patrick’s day in many countries, such as Australia, so it’s associated with good luck!
5. Kindness and Peace
Like many other flowers that bloom with beautiful colors in spring and summer, especially the ones that give off a pleasant scent, sweet pea flowers are considered a symbol of tranquility, peace, and kindness among people.
This is common in the relatively pale varieties of the flower that are common during that time.
6. New Adventures
Beautiful flowers are usually a symbol of new adventures, especially the ones that are commonly associated with good luck. This includes varieties of daisies and daffodils as well as sweet pea flowers.
What Do Different Colors of Sweet Pea Flower Mean?
As previously mentioned, the flowers of sweet peas come in a wide range of cultivars that have various colors.
For that reason, different shades of the flower may have some unique interpretations, so let’s check them out:
White Sweet Pea Meaning
White sweet peas, also known as “white frills” or “Dorothy Eckford”, represent purity, peace, and chastity. They’re also associated with femininity, positive energy, and the beauty of the moon. Thanks to some of these meanings, white sweet peas are commonly used in wedding decorations.
Red Sweet Pea Meaning
There are several varieties of red sweet peas out there, such as the America Sweet Pea. Like all red colored flowers, this one can be used as a symbol of passion, love, and romance. For that reason, it can be used to display friendship and joy but with a romantic twist!
Pink Sweet Pea Meaning
Pink sweet peas are quite similar to the red ones, and there are also many popular varieties, such as “Mrs. Bernard Jones”, and “Promise Sweet Pea”. The rosy-red hues in pink sweet peas represent youth and beauty.
Orange Sweet Pea Meaning
Orange sweet peas, such as “Mollie Rilstone” and “Prince of Orange“ are symbols of excitement, blissful joy, and youthful energy. They’re deeply associated with health and vitality too, especially the more vibrant hues of the color.
Purple (Lavender) Sweet Pea Meaning
There are several species of sweet pea that are characterized by their purple colors, such as the “Fire and Ice”, “Lady Grisel Hamilton”, Charlie’s Angel, and the unique “Senator Sweet Pea”. These ones are a symbol of pride and nobility.
What Is the Significance of Sweet Pea in Other Cultures?
Since the flower is incredibly colorful and attractive, it is no surprise that it has gained special recognition and significance in different cultures. Here are some of the most iconic uses of the flower:
It’s Discovery and Study
The first time sweet peas were documented and studied was back in the 1600s when an Italian naturalist and monk, Francesco Cupani, discovered them while studying flowers in Sicily. He then decided to bring it back home to plant it in the monastery garden, which grabbed everyone’s attention due to its beauty and scent. To this day, the original variety of the flower is known as Cupani’s Sweet Pea as a tribute to him.
In Victorian Era
The sweet pea flower’s success reached England a few years after its discovery. The flower’s success crossed paths with the rise of floriography in Victorian England.
During that time, the Scottish horticulturist, Henry Eckford, developed a huge range of sweet pea varieties, which made the flower a resounding success to this day!
In French Culture
Sweet peas were also incredibly popular in France. In fact, the use of white sweet peas in weddings as a charm for good luck for the bride is common there to this day!
The flowers of sweet peas were also used as a perfume. People used to carry them in their pockets, and the scent of sweet peas is one of the reasons why France is fascinated with making perfumes.
What Are the Best Occasions to Use the Sweet Pea Flower?
The sweet pea flower is one of the most attractive flowers out there, so it can be a suitable gift for just about any occasion, especially if it’s a happy one.
However, there are some situations where it would be perfect to incorporate some of these flowers, such as the following:
Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Weddings
The majority of sweet pea varieties will reach their full bloom in mid-spring, especially in April. In fact, the sweet pea is one of the official birth flowers of April, so it would be a perfect gift for anyone whose birthday is in this month.
You can also use the flower as a gift for anniversaries and other occasions as a symbol of joy, youthfulness, and gratitude.
As a Gesture of Friendship
As a popular symbol of friendship, you can use sweet peas as a lovely gift to a friend that you admire. This one represents your appreciation for their presence in your life!
In Departure Gift
If someone close to your heart is departing on a journey, gifting them with sweet peas is a great choice for a flower bouquet, as it means “good luck on your journey, and come back soon!”
Wrap Up On Sweet Pea Flower Meaning
With that said, you now have a brief guide that walks you through all the meanings and significance of the sweet pea flower as well as what each of its beautiful hues represents.
As you can notice, the sweet pea flower is commonly associated with happy and positive aspects of life, such as pleasure, happiness, friendship, kindness, and peace, so it’s no surprise that it’s also considered a good luck charm at weddings in many cultures!
For that reason, you can use the sweet pea as a beautiful flower gift for just about any happy occasion, especially birthdays of friends and loved ones!
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