Irises are exotic flowers that bloom in late spring, a show-off in many gardens, with their vivid purple blooms and tall stems. Along with the tulips and daffodils, the iris has become synonymous with spring. It can be found in just about every part of the world, growing naturally and in farms. But where did this extravagant bloom originate? Read on to learn more about this sensational, hardy plant.
Irises: A History
The rich history of the iris dates back to Ancient Greece. According to Greek mythology, Iris, Goddess of the rainbow, acted as the messenger of the gods, a connection between heaven and mortal human beings on earth. She would travel along rainbows as she moved between heaven and earth, which explains the iris definition of rainbow. Today, purple irises are planted over the graves of the dead to summon the goddess to guide them in their journey.
During the Middle Ages, the iris (or fleur-de-lis) became a symbol of royalty in France, where it stands today as the country’s national flower. A reminder of the French revolution, the fleur-de-lis still holds a place of importance in the culture of New Orleans, Louisiana. It is also the state flower of Tennessee.
Fun facts you might not have known about The Iris
- — There are 260 to 300 species of iris.
- — In Greek, “Iris” translates as “rainbow,” which is one iris definition. Another Greek word, “eiris,” which means “messenger,” gave rise to another iris flower meaning having to do with words.
- — Iris thrive in dry, semi-desert, or colder rocky mountainous areas. Other habitats include grassy slopes, meadowlands, bogs, and riverbanks.
- — Bearded Iris and Siberian Iris are two of the most common types of irises grown.
- — In Japan, the iris is known for its purifying elements. Japanese people use it to ward off evil energies.
- — Chinese people believe the iris to be the messenger and spirit of summer. In China, the iris is called ‘The Purple Butterfly’ because the petals flutter and fly like butterfly wings.
- — In the ancient world, the Indian and Egyptian cultures used iris rhizomes for medicinal purposes and to manufacture of perfume. Today, essential oils from Iris flowers are sometimes used in aromatherapy as sedative medicines.
- — While usually found in purple or blue, the iris can also produce white, yellow, orange, pink, lavender, or brown colored flowers.
- — While the flowers possess no religious history whatsoever, they can often be seen in churches and gardens of the Virgin Mary. Some believe that it might have to do with the sword-like petals, which are said to mimic the pain in Mary’s heart caused by the death of Jesus.
What is the meaning of different colors of Iris?
The Victorian era language of flowers gave a host of meanings to iris flowers. They can represent faith, hope, courage, wisdom, and admiration. However, specific flower colors attach further meanings to the pretty blooms.
Purple iris brings a message of wisdom and compliments, while a bouquet of blue iris blossoms speaks of hope and faith. Send yellow blooms if you wish to convey passion. For bridal bouquets, white iris flowers are ideal because these blooms symbolize purity.
The iris flower also signifies eloquence, which goes hand in hand with the Greek goddess Iris. No matter what message you choose to send to your friends, family, or loved ones, a bouquet filled with iris flowers is sure to get it across.
The iris has many meanings; however, the flowers are the universal messenger of friendship, everlasting promises, and love and are best used for gifts if you want to convey deep sentiments.
When is the right time to send an Iris Bouquet?
The iris is as versatile as it is beautiful, making it a wonder in any bouquet. You can use the information above to figure out what colors will help you convey your feelings best.
It’s popular to use, especially in spring, as it’s often easier to find and makes for truly dramatic birthday and Easter bouquets.
It’s great for birthdays and anniversaries that are big milestones. Its commanding and unique profile is a sure-fire way to help everyone feel a bit more important on their special day.
The best moments for sending an iris bouquet are the intense ones. Asking someone out, celebrating newlyweds, or confessing your love. This flower was made for those larger-than-life moments that sweep you up and make it into movie scripts.
If you’re looking to create your own fairytale, a bouquet of iris flowers should make more than one appearance. But if you’re worried about them wilting, you could always try folding your own! While researching for this blog, I was lucky enough to find these amazing directions for how to fold your own origami flower.
You’ve learned a ton about Irises. Now what?
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Toni T. is a writer, mother, amateur makeup artist, and coffee addict — not necessarily in that order! A lover of all things vintage, she’s an encyclopedia of useless 80’s trivia and adores a bold red lip. She is a second-generation Greek American with dreams of traveling abroad to see the land on which her ancestors walked but, for now, she resides in the ‘burbs of New Jersey with her husband and children.