The hollyhock is a flower with many deep spiritual meanings across the globe. They are often a symbol of ambition, success, and also sometimes of ruthlessness.
The hollyhock is a stale flower in a witch’s garden and contains many meanings for those who celebrate pagan culture.
They are also a beautiful purple color that usually symbolizes royalty and is tied to status.
The hollyhock flower is popular across the world and is considered relatively old-fashioned. They used to be incredibly popular across America in flower beds and displays, before being shunned slightly for being a little dowdy looking.
Since then, however, they have been enjoying a resurgence as a revival of old traditional-looking gardens.
They are hardy and hard-wearing flowers that are great for attracting hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators.
There are many different types of hollyhock flowers and they come in a range of stunning colors.
What Does The Hollyhock Flower Mean?
The hollyhock flower symbolizes the circle of life, latent ambition and they represent fertility and abundance in life.
Traditionally, the hollyhock flower is planted near the front of your home to encourage positivity, prosperity, and good tidings to the household. They are a symbol of good luck and are found across many British and American gardens, as well as growing throughout the rest of the world.
In the Egyptian household, the hollyhock represented good luck and they were often laid in wreaths within tombs as symbols of goodwill and safety for those traveling to the afterlife.
Etymological Meaning Of The Hollyhock Flower
There are around 60 different species of hollyhock flowers and they are all a part of the genus Alcea, which is a member of the Mallow or Malvaceae family. They are a common part of the American flower scene and are easily grown in flower beds across the country and beyond across the globe.
The name Hollyhock is derived from Old English words and meanings. The Old English word Holi means ‘holy’, and the Old English word Hock means mallow. This meaning is of course just one of many possible etiological explanations behind what Hollyhock’s original name means.
What does confirm this Old English meaning, however, is that Crusaders from the British Isles used to use the hollyhock whilst in the Holy Lands as a way to treat injuries.
Crushed down into a smooth salve, it was used to treat horses’ hind legs when they had infections or sores that often developed on long, tough journeys through rough terrain.
The name is thought to refer to the hindquarters of horses, referred to as ‘hocks’, and a reference to the Holy Lands where it was found through the name ‘holi’.
Whilst there are many other alternative suggestions posed as to how Hollyhock crossed continents, one legend suggests that the name came from Crusaders and other travelers bringing it back from the Holy Lands during the Crusades to the British Isles and beyond.
Hollyhocks are found across the world nowadays but are thought to originally be native to China, Southern Europe, and Northern Africa.
Symbolism Of The Hollyhock Flower
The hollyhock has a long history of being associated with positive witchcraft and fairy life.
The blooms were thought to be used by fairies as skirts and there is even an old recipe from the 1600s that suggests the blooms of hollyhock, marigolds, thyme, and witch hazel mixed and drunk in a tea will allow you to see fairies in your garden.
As early as 80 000 years ago, hollyhock was found in the burial sites of elaborate Neanderthal funeral rites and celebrations.
Egyptians placed wreaths of hollyhock flowers with their dead in the hopes of leading the dead to new life and representing the circle of life.
Hollyhock Flower Color Meanings
Different hollyhock flowers can mean many things, especially to those who are deeply into the language of floriography and spiritual connections. Here is a list of just some of the different meanings colored hollyhocks hold across the world.
- Red hollyhock- as with many red flowers, the red hollyhock is a symbol of love, romance, and passionate feeling. An example of a red hollyhock variety is the Red Halo, which has deep raspberry red petals and a buttery yellow center. These types of hollyhocks are singular layers of petals and are good for bees and other pollinators.
- Purple hollyhock- the purple shades of hollyhocks represent royalty, status, and tradition. The purple hollyhock can also symbolize a transitional period in one’s life, or be a symbol of charm and gracefulness. An example of a purple breed of hollyhock is the Lavender Halo, which sports a pastel purple outer rim and fades into a pink-colored core. The classical and most common purple hollyhock is Alcea Rosea as it has a deep purple color with a buttery yellow core.
- White hollyhock- the white variety is often associated with good luck, innocence, good magic, and purity. They are also linked to fertility and abundance, with many people growing them outside of their windows and doors to encourage positive tidings.
- Pink hollyhocks- another of the most common colors of hollyhock grown, the pink hollyhock has a gracefully light and sweet looking appearance. They can symbolize purity, traditional femininity, sensitivity, and love. There are many different varieties of hollyhock that come in pink hues, one of which is the Old Barnyard Mix. This colorful mixture often includes other light colors such as yellow and light purples, but predominants have shades of salmon and raspberry pinks. They are a single petal variety and look perfect in any flowerbed or grown wild in an open field or garden.
- Yellow hollyhocks- yellow hollyhocks are often given as a symbol of friendship, respect, and admiration. They are often used at mothers day or grandmother’s day celebrations and are also great for male friends, or those who are fond of less traditionally feminine flowers. Yellow hollyhocks are available in many different forms, from the carnation-looking Charters Double to single-petalled Halo varieties.
- Black hollyhocks- there is a beautiful type of Hao hollyhock that is so dark that unless the sun is shining on it, it is a deep and rich black color. On closer inspection, it is a deep purple and has a striking yellow center. The black hollyhock represents mystery, mysticism, and fairy life. They are great at attracting bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
Meaningful Botanical Characteristics Of The Hollyhock Flower
- Self-seeding- the hollyhock flower self-seeds, meaning it is best to have it in a flowerbed otherwise it could take over your whole garden!
- Germinate in the summer- these flowers are biennial which means they will bloom twice throughout the year, making them a good choice for gardens as they don’t bloom just once.
- Can be single or double petalled- different varieties of hollyhock flowers have a different amount of petals, with some having double the amount of petals! This gives them a very full and appealing-looking rosette appearance much like a carnation flower.
- Tall flowers- hollyhocks can grow up to 8 feet if cultivated in the right conditions. This makes them perfect for lining the backs of flowerbeds or for along the backs of fences, framing other plants. They will often need support from the wind, however, depending on the location they are grown.
- Range of colors- the hollyhock naturally grows in a wide range of colors from whites, pinks, yellows and blues, reds, and purples.
- Bell-shaped flowers- the flowers are made up of bell-shaped, papery-looking petals that almost look like crepe paper.
- Don’t survive the frost- like many flowers that bloom in the early spring and summer, the hollyhock flowers will die at the exposure to frost come fall and early winter with the sudden drop in temperature.
Special Occasions For The Hollyhock Flower
Hollyhocks can often be found in cemeteries and graveyards as they are a symbol of peace and rest. They are therefore a good flower to give at funerals and to place at burial places.
The hollyhock is also a perfect housewarming gift! As they are a sign of prosperity and good fortune, the hollyhock can be given as a gift for the recipient to plant outside their doorway or on a windowsill.
They also make a great gift for graduations and birthdays as a symbol of the circle of life, and as recognition of big life events.
The hollyhock is a perfect flower to give to someone who needs a bit of good luck and encouragement, making them a great gift for those starting a new job or starting a new phase of their lives.
Hollyhock Flower Cultural Significance
The hollyhock has long been an association in English heritage with abundance, good fortune, and fertility, and hollyhock is often grown around the doorframes of homes to encourage this.
In the Victorian era, hollyhocks were often grown around outside toilets as a way to show visitors where they were, without having to embarrass guests by asking their host where the outhouse was, they could simply look for the patch of hollyhocks.
Hollyhock Flower Facts
- Can be either single-petalled or double petalled, giving the appearance of carnations.
- Symbolize wealth, prosperity, and good luck.
- A long history of associations to fairies and witchcraft, especially in England and the British Isles.
- Used in funeral rites as far back as 80 000 years ago.
- A plethora of medicinal uses
- A staple flower in a cottage garden
- Comes in almost every possible color
- Over 60 varieties
- Relatively short-lived perennial flower
- Self-seeding plants if you take care of them.
- Can grow up to 8 feet tall, making them great for walls and trellises.
Hollyhock Flower Uses
Hollyhocks have a lot of health and antiviral properties that were exploited by travelers and crusaders in the holy lands whilst they were on long treks and religious wars during the 1100s to 1290s.
According to legend, the hollyhock was used as a salve to calm horses’ wounds incurred on their hind legs from the terrain, harsh weather, and brutal battles. As horses were an integral part of a Crusade’s success, keeping them healthy and mobile was essential.
Hollyhocks have been used for thousands of years for herbal remedies and health cures, but bear in mind that there has since been very little successful medical evidence from modern health authorities to corroborate these claims.
However, they remain an integral part of many herbal and naturopathic gardens.
They are used to treat several ailments-
- For the treatment of sore throats, moderate fevers, and tickling coughs
- Improving circulation
- For the treatment of low-grade burns, scrapes, and itching
- Relieving symptoms of nasal irritation, congestion, and difficulty breathing
- IBS treatment or other gastrointestinal distress and abdominal discomfort
You can brew up a cup of hollyhock tea out of the petals and they can be used as an antidote to an upset stomach, for sores in your mouth, or a loss of appetite.
All parts of the hollyhock plant are edible, so the bright and colorful petals can be used in jas, preserves, and other sweets for coloring. The beautiful petals are also a pretty addition to a garden salad as well.
Hollyhock sap was also spun with sugar and sold as candies in the 1800s in England.
Those who used to use herbalism to treat ailments were often lauded for their medical knowledge, but during the Middle Ages, they were also hunted down and killed for practicing witchcraft, despite many of the treatments working and being a beginning basis to much of what we recognize as antibacterial and antiviral treatment in modern medicine, now distilled and extracted to the purest form.
What Is The Symbolism Of A Hollyhock Flower Tattoo
The hollyhock is a gorgeous flower that represents strength, autonomy, courage, and witchcraft. Hollyhocks have a strong association with Wiccan and Pagan beliefs and are especially thought of this way throughout the British Isles and Ireland.
The hollyhock is used as a protective charm and tattoos can be used to symbolize openness to new ideas, a spiritual side, or as a lucky charm.
Because of its healing properties, tattoos of hollyhock can be used as symbols of healing and regeneration.
Their beautiful structure can also be a signifier of traditional feminine values and can represent motherhood, tradition, and maternal instincts as well.
Because many hollyhocks are double petalled, they have a beautiful bud that gives them a rose-like bloom. This makes them a great flower to get tattooed if you want something dainty and feminine but is not necessarily as familiar as a rose tattoo or a carnation tattoo.
The hollyhock is a remarkably lovely-looking flower that carries a whole host of meanings across cultures. With a large variety of types, the hollyhock is available throughout the world and is bred in just about every color imaginable.
With associations of mysticism, good fortune, and feminine wiles, the hollyhock is a brilliant flower to give on many special occasions and is sure to look perfect in any garden or at-home display.
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