Do you know the flowers that can mean death and mourning? Read on to learn the significance of these flowers and their association with death!
When you think of flowers, you might think of love, happiness, and appreciation. However, some flowers have a more macabre meaning, symbolizing death and mourning. Here, we'll explore the dark side of flowers, delving into their sinister symbolism.
When someone we love dies, it's natural to want to express our grief. One way is sending or planting flowers. So we'll also cover the basic etiquettes of choosing and arranging funeral flowers to help you convey your feelings in the right manner.
Flowers Associated with Death
The language of flowers, also widely known as floriography, has been used for centuries to communicate unspoken messages. When words fail to convert the depth of your emotions into language, flowers can speak for you. They have the power to revive memories of happy times spent together or act as a final goodbye. Here are some flowers that are often associated with death. They will help you communicate your final sentiments.
Scientific name: Rosa
It goes without saying that roses are one of the most popular flowers globally, and they come in a wide range of colors. Each color has a different meaning, but roses generally represent love, appreciation, and respect. Red roses are the most popular color, and they symbolize love and passion, but they also represent deep grief and sorrow.
In the context of death, pink roses are used to express admiration and gratitude toward the departed one. On the contrary, white roses symbolize purity and innocence and are often used at children's funerals. Other roses are also used in funerals, but white, red, and pink are the most popular ones.
Scientific name: Lilium
Lilies are simply one of the most popular flowers used in funerals. They come in a wide range of colors, but white lilies are the most popular choice. White lilies represent innocence and purity, and they are often used in funerals as a symbol of the paradise waiting for the departed one. It also conveys sympathy and comfort for the ones left behind.
Their simplicity and beauty make them a popular choice for expressing your condolences. In some cultures, white lilies represent that the soul has returned to a peaceful state. Asiatic and Oriental lilies express a sense of peace, while the stargazer lily signifies eternal life and sympathy.
Scientific name: Dianthus Caryophyllus
Carnations are beautiful flowers that come in various colors, but they also have a dark meaning. They are often associated with funerals and graveyards, as in the language of flowers, they symbolize grief, remembrance, and love. White carnations represent purity and innocence, while red carnations represent love and respect.
Pink carnations symbolize remembrance, and they are often used to represent a mother's love, making them a popular choice for Mother's Day. They have different meanings in different cultures, but in general, carnations can be seen as a way to honor the dead.
Forget Me Not
Scientific name: Myosotis Sylvatica
As the name implies, forget-me-nots are given as a way to remember someone. They are also used to express your condolences and as a way to say that you will never forget the person who has passed away.
This flower is often seen in funeral bouquets and wreaths as a symbol of remembrance. It is also a popular choice for grave sites and memorials. You can give forget-me-nots to the bereaved family to show your support. Keeping them in the home also represents dealing with the pain of loss and remembering the departed one.
Scientific name: Spathiphyllum
The peace lily is a widely admired houseplant, and it is also used as a funeral flower. It is an evergreen plant that has glossy and dark green leaves. The white flowers of the peace lily represent serenity, purity, and innocence. They suggest the perfection that one attains after leaving the earth. Plus, they are used around the house after the funeral to wish peace for the departed soul.
It's a cultural belief that is performed to prevent souls from wandering around after death. According to the Christian tradition, the peace lily signifies eternal life and rebirth. This beautiful flower can be used in different ways to express your condolences. You can give it to the grieving family or keep it in your home as a reminder of the departed one.
Scientific name: Chrysanthemum Morifolium
Chrysanthemums are among the most popular flowers in Asia, and they are also associated with death. These are commonly used for funerary bouquets and wreaths. In Japan, white chrysanthemums are often used in funerals as they symbolize truth and sincerity.
They are associated with healing in the US and are often given as a "get well soon" flower. In China, chrysanthemums are seen as a symbol of autumn, and they are often used in graves and memorials. They are also used in the Chinese festival of "Qingming," in which people visit the graves of their ancestors and pay their respects.
Scientific name: Narcissus Pseudonarcissus
Daffodils are commonly known as the "flower of spring," and they are associated with rebirth owing to this name. They are often linked with death due to the myth of Narcissus, who was obsessed with his reflection and died staring at it. However, daffodils bring a message of hope as they signify death as the embarkation of a new life and not an end.
These small and delicate flowers are a popular sympathy flower and are commonly used in wreath arrangements. Give this to the grieving family and give them your sincere and heartfelt hopes of new beginnings.
Scientific name: Gladiolus Communis
Belonging to the iris family, gladioli are tall flowers commonly known as sword lilies. They represent strength and character in the language of flowers, and they are often given to someone who is going through a tough time. They are also used in funerals to express your condolences and as a symbol of strength for the grieving family.
This mourning flower is a popular choice for floral arrangements, and they are often used in cemeteries and grave sites. You can give gladiolus to convey your compassion and support in times of loss and grief.
Scientific name: Hyacinthus Orientalis
Hyacinths are another type of flower that is often associated with death. In the language of flowers, hyacinths represent sorrow and sincerity, and they are often used in funerals and memorial services.
They are given to say that you are there to extend your help and presence in dealing with their loss. Hyacinths are often used in funeral bouquets, and they are a popular choice for gravestones and memorials. It expresses your grief and sadness in the form of a flower.
Red Spider Lily
Scientific name: Lycoris Radiata
The red spider lily is a beautiful flower known as the death flower. It is a member of the amaryllis family and is native to Asia. The red spider lily blooms in the fall, and its flowers last for only a few days. This flower is symbolic of death and mourning, especially in Japan. The red spider lily is often seen in cemeteries and is used in funerals.
There are several legends linked with this flower. One legend says that the red spider lily blooms on the spot where a person has died or where you last saw them. Another legend says that the red spider lily is the flower of the afterlife. Whether the tales are true or not, the red spider lily is a beautiful flower that symbolizes death and mourning.
Scientific name: Tulipa
Tulips are beautiful flowers that are often associated with love and passion. However, they can also be used to express your condolences as they represent perfect and deep love. They are a popular choice for funeral flower arrangements as they signify the beauty and the things done by the departed one in their life.
You can give tulips to the bereaved family to show your support. You can also keep them in the home as a reminder of the one who parted ways and ascended to a better place. Tulips are available in varied colors, and they represent different meanings. The red tulip represents love and bond, while the white and yellow convey friendship and gratitude.
Scientific name: Calendula Officinalis
Marigolds are commonly known as the "flowers of the dead," often used in Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead. This flower is used to honor and remember the departed ones. It is also used in funerals and grave sites as they are believed to guide the soul of the departed one to the afterlife.
During the day of the dead, wreaths of marigold flowers are placed on the graves of loved ones. They are also kept in vases for about 40 days as a remembrance of the parted one. The bright color of the flower helps in the period of grief and mourning.
Scientific name: Orchidaceae
Orchids are a type of flower associated with many things, such as love, luxury, and beauty. In the flower language, orchids also represent mourning and sorrow. These flowers are often used in funerals and memorial services to express the undying love for the departed one.
Orchids are available in several colors; however, white and pink are considered the most popular choices for mourning flowers. White orchids are often used in funerals as they represent innocence and faith. On the other hand, pink orchids are given as a way to show your support and care for the bereaved family.
Scientific name: Syringa Vulgaris
Lilacs are beautiful, fragrant flowers that grow in clusters and are commonly associated with death and mourning. During the Victorian times, widows used to wear lilac corsages as a remembrance of their lost loved ones. They come in several colors, including white, purple, and lavender.
Lilacs are connected with springtime, and these different colors hold different meanings. Purple lilacs symbolize spirituality, and white ones represent purity and innocence. Magenta lilac embodies resilience and moving on from the pain of loss. In the context of death, they represent the peaceful passing of the soul and the beginning of the journey to the afterlife.
Scientific name: Plumeria Rubra
Frangipani, or plumeria, is a lovely flower commonly used in leis. However, it can also express your condolences as it symbolizes deep love and affection. Frangipani is considered a mourning flower in some cultures because it bears nostalgia and remembrance.
This flower is commonly used in Hawaiian funerals as it represents the fragility of life. These flowers also signify the strength to withstand tough times and move forward. That's why they are often given to the grieving family to show support. Frangipani flowers are beautiful, and they can help in the process of grieving and mourning.
Scientific name: Iris Versicolor
The blue iris is a striking-looking flower that symbolizes hope and faith. This is also the birth flower for February. These are available in different colors, and each signifies a different meaning. Yellow iris means friendship and passion, and white iris stands for purity.
While the blue iris is mainly associated with the positive meaning of hope, it can also be used to express faith and remembrance. These flowers are often given at funerals and memorial services as a sign of hope for the afterlife. They are ideal flowers to give to the people dealing with the loss and are still in mourning.
Scientific name: Hydrangea Macrophylla
Hydrangeas are large and beautiful flowers that come in different colors. They are often given as a gift to express your gratitude and support during tough times. Hydrangeas can also be used as a funeral flower representing deep emotions such as sorrow and regret.
The color of the hydrangea also has a significant meaning. The white hydrangea signifies purity and innocence, while the blue one represents peace and serenity. They are most commonly given as a sign of grief over a sudden death. Hydrangea signifies the death of the loved one and the pain of those left behind.
Scientific name: Dahlia Pinnata
Dahlias are large, attractive flowers native to Mexico and Central America and have been cultivated since the time of the Aztecs. Dahlias are associated with various meanings, including strength, dignity, and elegance. While dahlias are often associated with positive implications, they can also be used to express condolences.
The flower is symbolic of "forever yours" in mourning and grief. It is also said that these flowers are bought in the deceased partner's name as the last of what he/she left behind. They are given as a gesture of sympathy to express condolences and stand with the grieving family.
Scientific name: Papaver Somniferum
Poppies have long been linked with death and mourning, signifying oblivion and eternal sleep. These are typically found around cemetery fences and on grave sites, showing how closely they are related to death. They are funeral plants and represent remembering and peace for the departed soul.
The ancient Romans believed that the flower granted immortality and placed them on the graves. Several pieces of evidence of these flowers are found in Egyptian tombs. Poppies are available in different colors, but they all convey the same meaning in death. They are considered a symbol of consolation and hope. Poppies are used in funerals to express condolences and are also used to show respect to the dead of WWI and WWII.
Scientific name: Bellis Perennis
Daisies are cheerful flowers that represent innocence and purity. However, they can also be used to express condolences as they represent the fragility of life. Daisies are often used in funerals and memorial services as they remind us of the transience of life.
Daisies are connected to the purity of childhood and are frequently presented to parents who have lost a child at an early age. These flowers are given as a sign of compassion and hope to bring some brightness and comfort to the grieving family. Daisies are simple yet beautiful flowers that can be used to express your condolences.
Scientific name: Camellia Japonica
The red camellia is a beautiful flower native to Asia, especially China and Japan. The use of these flowers is connected to noble deaths as they can be traced back to the time of samurais and revolutionaries. And that's why the red camellia is placed on the graves of the heroes and noblemen to pay respect.
The red camellia is also a symbol of deep love and affection. This flower is often given to the grieving family to show your support and condolences. The red camellia is a meaningful flower that can aid in the grieving and mourning period.
Now that you've learned about the flowers that mean death and mourning let's explore the fundamentals of funeral flowers and their arrangement. This segment comprises common funeral flower etiquette to ensure you deliver the right message with your arrangement.
What are the Different Arrangements for Mourning Flowers?
Arranging flowers for death and mourning is a delicate process. What flowers you are using and what arrangement you choose says a lot about your relationship with the deceased one and the feelings you are extending. These are the suitable flowers arrangements given as gifts to the family of the deceased:
Wreaths are one of the most popular arrangements for funeral flowers. They are often placed on the casket or grave site to show respect and honor to the deceased. Wreaths are circular and are considered to represent the circle of life and birth.
Your choice of flowers for the wreath can enhance the meaning and symbolism of the arrangement. For example, a wreath made with white lilies can represent purity and innocence, while a wreath made with red roses can symbolize love and passion.
A funeral spray is a large arrangement of flowers commonly used in funerals. It is often used to show support and love for the family of the deceased. They are similar to wreaths, but the flowers are arranged more linearly. Mostly, this flower arrangement is placed on a tripod beside the casket.
These flower arrangements are among the most traditional means of extending sympathy to the grieving family. And they are a symbol of love, respect, and remembrance.
Potted plants are also a common gift for the bereaved family. They are often given to show your support and provide comfort during this difficult time. These plants can be placed inside the home of the grieving family or in the office as a reminder of your support.
Potted plants are a more long-lasting reminder of your condolences than cut flowers. And they can be placed in different areas of the house or office to provide a constant reminder of your love and support.
Flower baskets are another arrangement that can be given to the bereaved family. They are a practical option to express your condolences at funerals or memorials. Flower baskets can be placed on the gravesite or near the casket to show your respect and love for the deceased.
Bouquets are a more personal way to show your condolences as they can be arranged according to your preference. They are often given to the deceased's immediate family as a way to show your support during their time of mourning.
Bouquets can be arranged in different ways, but the most common is the hand-tied bouquet. Close friends and family often give this type of bouquet as it is a more personal gift. When giving a bouquet to the grieving family, choose appropriate flowers that convey your intended message.
Do’s and Don’ts of Giving Sympathy Flowers
When giving funeral flowers, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you are conveying the right message. These are some aspects you need to be mindful of while selecting flowers for a funeral:
Flowers Should Be Appropriate
The type of flowers you choose should be appropriate for the occasion. Funeral flowers typically convey messages of love, respect, and sympathy. It is important to choose flowers that represent these sentiments.
Choose the Right Arrangement
The type of arrangement you choose should also be appropriate for the occasion. Wreaths and sprays are typically used in funerals as they are a way to show respect for the deceased. Potted plants and flower baskets are more common as gifts for the bereaved family. Bouquets are a more personal gift and are often given to close family and friends.
Consider the Recipient
Always keep the recipient in mind when giving funeral flowers. The type of flowers you choose should be appropriate for your relationship with the grieving family. For example, it is more appropriate to give a close friend or family member a bouquet than to give a colleague a potted plant.
Add a Card
It is always a good idea to include a card with your flowers. This is a way to express your condolences and offer your support to the grieving family. Plus, it will allow you to personalize your message of condolence. It's even better to include a handwritten card, as it will add a more personal touch.
Remember Who You are Honoring
It is crucial to remember the person you are honoring when giving funeral flowers. The flowers you choose should be a tribute to the deceased's life. They should reflect the deceased's personality and convey respect for their life.
What do Different Flower Colors Mean at a Funeral?
The color of the funeral flowers you choose can also enhance the message you are trying to convey. Essentially, the meaning of the flowers does not change, but the color of the flowers can add more depth to the arrangement. The following are the meanings of the most common colors used in funerals.
- Red: love, devotion, nobleness
- Pink: harmony, peace, and grace
- White: adoration, respect, reverence, and rebirth
- Yellow: friendship, hope
- Crimson: extreme grief and sorrow
- Blue/lavender: sadness and pain
What are the Best Sympathy Flowers?
There is no single ideal answer for this question, as the best sympathy flowers will vary as per your relationship with the grieving family. However, some of the most popular funeral flowers include roses, lilies, and chrysanthemums.
Roses are a classic choice for funeral flowers as they are associated with love, respect, and admiration. Close family and friends often give them to show their support during this difficult time.
Lilies are also a popular choice for funeral flowers as they symbolize purity and innocence. They are often used to honor the life of a child or young adult.
Chrysanthemums are another common choice for funeral flowers as they represent grief and sorrow. They are a way to express your condolences and offer your support to the grieving family.
Some other flowers that make the checklist are:
What Flowers Mean Goodbye?
The meaning of flowers varies according to culture and tradition. In some cultures, certain flowers are associated with death and mourning. In others, the same flowers may be seen as a sign of hope and rebirth.
However, certain flowers are widely accepted to say goodbye. The most popular choice is the rose, associated with love and respect. Other popular options include lilies, chrysanthemums, and carnations. Each of these flowers has its own unique meaning and can be used to convey a particular sentiment.
These are the most recognized goodbye flowers with their meanings:
- Roses: Love, respect, and admiration
- Lilies: Purity and innocence
- Chrysanthemums: Grief and sorrow
- Carnations: Farewell and remembrance
- Orchids: Sympathy and condolences
- Sunflower: Good fortune and admiration
With this, we bid you goodbye!
Keep in mind the basics and choose the right flowers and colors to extend your condolences. Don't overthink, as the sentiment you want to express is what matters most.
The flowers you give as a gesture of sympathy will be a source of comfort to the bereaved. So, take your time choosing the right flowers and make sure to include a personal message to show your support.