Pretty perennials that grow where they please, anemone flowers, in their many forms, are a staple of the spring wilderness, the dash of color in an otherwise uniform greenwash.
It’s only natural that they draw humans to them!
In fact, these wonderful wildflowers enthralled us so much that we’ve attached many a meaning to them over the years. Thus, they play a pivotal role in a number of different cultures around the world, too.
Yep, much like the intrepid souls of our own species, anemones have some serious stories to tell. So gather round, make yourselves comfortable, and prepare to hear some tales from beyond the boundaries of our backyards!
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What Does The Anemone Flower Mean?
As is often the case, the anemone flower has many meanings, but one is certainly more prevalent than the others… anticipation.
This is because they close up after nightfall as if sleeping, then reopen when the sun comes up, giving them a very human temporal aspect, an acknowledgment of time and the notion of waiting.
Etymological Meaning Of The Anemone Flower
Even the veritable brain boxes among us may have trouble pronouncing or spelling anemone, but for such a complex word, its etymological origins are actually relatively simple.
Anemone is borrowed from the French, anemone, but, as you can see, it’s spelled the exact same way. So it’s not borrowed so much as English speakers straight-up lifted it.
However, if we trace this word back, we arrive at the Old French variation, anemoine, which itself was borrowed from the Latin anemone (back to where we started, or, well… forward to where we started, anyway).
But the Romans didn’t come up with this word; they “borrowed” it letter for letter from Greek, and in Greece, anemone meant “windflower”, or, more literally, “daughter of the wind”.
People believed this name was given due to the popular belief that it would only open when wind blows.
Symbolism Of The Anemone Flower
Okay, we’ve skimmed the surface, but now it’s time to dive a little deeper into the meanings of the anemone flower!
Being that anticipation is the dominant meaning of the anemone, they make fitting gifts for those you’re excited to see in the near or distant future.
Perhaps you’ve been separated for a while, and now you finally have a date set for a reunion.
Bringing an anemone to the catch-up or sending one beforehand can communicate your excitement at the prospect of spending time with them, and perhaps even help to quell pre-reunion jitters.
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In Victorian England, the language of flowers dictated that the anemone stood for fragility, and looking at this dainty flower, it’s no surprise. They’re typically quite small, and their flowers are ever so delicate.
In fact, these pretty flowers are so fragile that a strong wind can pluck their dying petals. Which is likely another reason people knew them as windflowers.
The carefree nature of this pretty wildflower has also earned it some associations with relaxation, freedom, and open-mindedness.
You can almost picture them woven into the hair of the hippy-types and nomadic wanderers of the late 60s and early 70s — a flower as free as they felt.
Growing almost anywhere they please, there’s a devil-may-care attitude to these punky plants, and they remind us that we don’t always have to hold on to and operate within rigid boundaries.
Sometimes, coloring outside of the lines, thinking outside of the box, and allowing a more free-form approach to life or particular activities can yield magnificent results!
Anemone flowers can also allude to love that is no more, typically due to a death, which is why they’re a common grave flower, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
Any form of past love falls in the anemone’s wheelhouse.
This association perhaps comes down to a link between the untamable wildness of the plant and the untamable aspects of love. You may have love, but making it stay is often impossible.
As they so closely associates with the termination of love, it’s a small wonder that anemone flowers also tied in quite closely with death, especially in the Far East.
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Anemone Flower Color Meanings
Most red flowers symbolize love or passion, but not the anemone.
In Christian communities, this florid flower represents the blood of Christ. Thus, Christians incorporated it in so many paintings depicting the crucifixion or the Virgin Mary in mourning.
In a similar vein, likely linked to the associations with the death of Christ, red anemones represents death in general, which makes a change from the white and black hues we typically associate with passing on.
Red anemones also have connections to forsaken love, no doubt another meaning derived from the Crucifixion story and the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot.
The white anemone is a symbol of purity and innocence, which is why people often used it in funerals. It represents the absolution of the deceased, hinting at their passage to the next plane of existence.
Particularly popular as funereal decor in China, where the largest institutionalized religion is Buddhism, the white anemone could well represent the blank slate afforded to the deceased after reincarnation.
Due to the fragility of these flowers and the starkness of their white variant, they also conjure up notions of sincerity, or, more accurately, the vulnerability one feels when honestly expressing something close to the heart, such as love for someone who you’re not sure will feel the same way.
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Typically, yellow flowers are all about good vibes, and the anemone flower is no exception. If you want to spread a bit of joy in this world, gifting yellow anemones is a good place to start, but don’t forget to save some happiness for yourself.
Plant these lovely flowers by your front and back doors or in view from a window to give yourself a little pick-me-up every time you see them.
Purple flowers are usually totems of royalty and status, but these aren’t fitting associations for a rambler such as an anemone.
While they do still symbolize respect, it’s not necessarily respected for traditional hierarchies or titles. But, for those that hold pride of place in your heart, mind, and soul.
Combined with the anemone’s ties to anticipation, the purple variant makes a great gift for someone you haven’t seen in a while, letting them know that although they’ve been physically absent, they never left your thoughts.
That said, for many, the violet anemone signifies, not respect, but protection, the perfect token for someone who perhaps feels vulnerable or abandoned.
Gifting them this flower will let them know that you’re in their corner, and they’re not alone.
Blue anemones have a similar meaning. They’re all about trust, intelligence, authority, and respect.
In light of this, they make a stunning gift for someone you haven’t seen in a while due to their undertaking of (and completing) a difficult task. It could mark somebody’s graduation, retirement, professional accomplishment… you name it!
Pink anemones are very gentle life forms and are usually indicative of romance or nascent love.
So, if you’ve been trying to confess your infatuation for someone, but can never find the words, the pink anemone might just be the perfect way to communicate your amorous feelings.
They also make the perfect addition to the floral arrangements of a rustic wedding.
Meaningful Botanical Characteristics Of The Anemone Flower
As wildflowers, anemones grow all over the place and don’t ask permission to thrive, a very teachable trait that encourages us to walk a unique path and follow our bliss in life.
If established norms do nothing for you, do not conform. Try something new, something that excites you and leads into the unknown.
Referring back to the wind prying the dead petals of these flowers from their pistils, this urges us to let go of the past so we might continue to grow.
In a rather self-abusive manner, we hold on to shame, grief, and fear all too often, and although these feelings can help us learn from mistakes, they can also hold us back.
The anemone tells us to let all that baggage go and to feel the lightness of being once again.
Special Occasions For Anemone Flowers
Due to their delicate form, beautiful colors, and association with anticipation, anemones are highly popular wedding flowers, for decor and bridal bouquets, but they can be just as fitting in a funeral setting, especially the white variant.
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Anemone Flower Cultural Significance
Russian folk medicine often used anemone flower to treat a number of ailments.
In Greek myth, the first anemone flowers sprang up from the tears of Aphrodite as she mourned her human lover, Adonis, murdered by fellow members of her pantheon.
Some cultures believed that a concealed anemone could protect against ill will, evil spirits, and disease, but in China, the opposite is true. If you catch a glimpse of a white anemone in the wild in this part of the world, people say that there is bad fortune on the horizon, possibly even… death!
In many cultures, a widespread old wives tale tells of these flowers being used to predict storms, as it was said that they would close up to protect themselves from the ensuing weather.
- Anemone flowers belong to the buttercup family.
- Anemone flowers are often referred to as windflowers.
- Blossoming from spring to fall, anemones have a fairly standard bloom-to-death floral cycle.
- As pretty as they are, certain species of anemone are considered invasive weeds, as they spread so quickly. The meadow anemone, in particular, is thought of as a threat to the painstakingly landscaped yard.
- Despite their sunny character, anemones enjoy plenty of water and partial shade, so if you’re trying to cultivate them, make sure they’re not too exposed to the sun.
- Coming in all shapes, shades, and sizes, anemones are wonderfully diverse plants.
- Anemones typically prefer mildly acidic earth.
- They may be appealing to us humans, but, other than bees, animals don’t find them all that enticing. Even deer, the notorious nibblers of the wild, will rarely have a chomp on these colorful blooms, the reason being, they’re all quite toxic.
- Even though many see them as weeds, welcoming the anemone into your yard can lead to a wonderfully diverse lawn full of blanket blooms.
Anemone Flower Uses
Anemone flowers are toxic to us and our furry friends, but that’s not to say they’re completely useless.
They contain many medicinal compounds that people can use to treat stomach cramps, menstrual complications, asthma, whooping cough, and even gout.
Anemones make fantastic cut blooms. So if you fancy picking some in the wild and bringing them inside to brighten up your home, they should last at least a few days; however, you will need to keep cats, dogs, rabbits, or any other fluffy family members well away from them.
What Is The Symbolism Of An Anemone Flower Tattoo?
Ultimately, the meaning of an anemone flower tattoo is determined by the wearer. It could pertain to a very specific memory they have of growing up. If not, perhaps remind them of a certain place or person.
That said, there are some more universal meanings to speak of.
Anemone tattoos will often mean beauty, grace, and strength all rolled into one. While others will have these lovely flowers inked to ward off evil and negativity.
What a flower, ay? The anemone may be fragile, physically speaking, but in other ways, it’s anything but! It thrives in the wild outside the confines of manicured gardens. It’s free from human intervention, and it lives on its own terms.
Yep, we can all learn a lot from this showy bloom, and now you’re a certified anemone authority. You can distribute its lessons far and wide. Much like the flower itself has spread through the tangled wilderness of the world.
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