iris flower symbolism

Iris Flower Meaning and Unbelievable Symbolism

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Often associated with royalty, it’s easy to understand why the iris, the quintessential plant of summer, is a fixture in just about every homeowner’s garden. The plant produces elegant blooms that vary in color from brown to purple to white, and it requires very little care in order to produce flowers, year after year.

While most people understand how the iris could be connected to royalty, there is other symbolism to the plant that’s worthy of mention, too.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the iris symbolism and flower meaning!

What Does Iris Mean?

According to Greek mythology, the iris is named after the ancient Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris, who was believed to be a messenger of the gods. So the Greek word “iris” is of course where the name comes from!

Iris used rainbows to bridge the gap between earth and heaven, and the ancient Greeks believed that the rainbow was quite literally the flowing, multi-colored robes of this beautiful goddess.

Because of this, Greeks in ancient times also viewed the iris flower as a continuation of the flowing veil. The flowers were named to honor the goddess and to bring good fortune upon the earth. 

There are several types of this beautiful flower, including the Germanica and Pallida species, the Japanese water iris, iris fulva, iris enstata, iris hollandica, bearded iris, etc. The good news ist hat the iris meaning is more or less the same among all these different types of iris flowers!

yellow and white iris

What Does the Iris Flower Symbolize? 

More often than not, the iris is used to symbolize royalty and valor. However, it has other meanings, too, which vary depending on the culture, color and types of iris.

Some people view the iris as a symbolic representation of faith and wisdom, which is why it is frequently used in religious settings. It can also be used to showcase hope and optimism. 

What Do Purple Irises Mean? 

purple iris

As most purple flowers do, a purple iris symbolizes royalty. However, that is not it’s only hidden meaning, as a purple iris can also represent wisdom, gratitude, and respect. 

The color purple is often associated with wealth and nobility – which is why these flowers are often associated with the French monarchy.

What Does a Blue Iris Mean?

white blue iris

Blue irises, most often used in religious ceremonies, represent hope and devotion. The blue iris flower is perhaps the most common flower color you’ll find for this plant. Blue irises symbolize faith as well.

What Do White Irises Symbolize? 

The white iris is consistent with the symbolism of other white flowers and represents purity, innocence, and divinity. 

iris flower meaning

What Does a Yellow Iris Symbolize?

Although most yellow flowers symbolize friendship and goodwill, a yellow iris breaks from tradition and represents passion. Yellow irises are great for giving to just about any loved one.

What Do Orange Irises Symbolize?

Orange irises symbolize enthusiasm, passion, new beginnings, and creativity. They are often given as a gift or used in floral arrangements to express excitement and joy. These fiery flowers are perfect for someone who is upbeat and energetic. They symbolize an exuberance for life and a desire to explore new things.

What Do Brown Irises Symbolize?

Brown iris flowers symbolize stability, strength, and reliability. They are a popular choice for men because they are often associated with masculinity. Brown irises are also said to represent earthiness and groundedness, as well as a connection to nature.

They are a great choice for someone who is dependable and steadfast in their relationships and endeavors.

What is the Cultural Significance of the Iris?

Holding true to the Greeks’ belief that the iris was used to symbolize good fortune, the iris was traditionally used as a funeral planting. The iris was placed on the graves of women as it was believed that the flower would encourage the goddess to lead their beloved departed to eternal lives in heaven.

Irises were also revered in ancient Egypt. They were used to ornate Egyptian palaces and also symbolized the connection to heaven.

In France, iris flowers were used to symbolize royalty, power, and wealth in France. Here, the flowers are still used as part of the fleur-de-lis, a national symbol for the country.

What is the Symbolism of an Iris Flower Tattoo?

Irises are known for their deep blue-purple blooms. As the emblem of the country of France, the flower is often chosen by French patriots as a testament to their national devotion. However, the iris tattoo can also stand as a symbol of hope, faith, valor, and wisdom. As the birth flower of February, it is also commonly chosen by people whose birthdays fall within this month. 

When Should You Give Someone an Iris Flower? 

Irises can be cut directly from a flower bed and produce a striking bouquet or arrangement that can indicate your love or respect for someone. Because of this, just about anybody can be given an iris flower, but it’s best used to convey your admiration. It is the perfect flower to give on a birthday or anniversary. 

Cut irises are best given int he early spring, when they’re fresh, and grow best in temperate zones in full sun. When properly cared for, they bloom all spring and early summer long. They’re beautiful in bridal bouquets and so much more. It’s even the state flower of Tennessee!

Since you’re interested in iris meaning, feel free to explore our blog to learn more about flowers symbolism.

See more: What to plant with iris

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