Flowers are beautiful. Seeing them blossom all around us, year round, adds another layer of meaning to the world. There’s a reason we, as a species, found flowers so beautiful that we decided to gift them to one another as the ultimate sign of caring. But did you know that flowers actually have their own meanings too? Victorians had their own flower language to help them communicate secretly when courting. Flowers have loads of hidden uses too. The flower we’re looking at today is the aptly named Morning Glory flower. It’s called the Morning Glory, because it blooms every morning when the sun rises, then dies each evening when the sun sets. How hauntingly beautiful.
What Does The Flower Mean?
As we mentioned before, the Morning Glory blooms and dies on the same day. This is very significant for its symbolic meaning. Morning Glories are representative of life, death, rebirth, and love. Because of its short life span, it represents how fleeting everything is, including love.
But remember, the Morning Glory is reborn every morning and in this way it shows how nothing is truly gone forever, everything is renewable.
Though it dies, it comes back. This shows great resilience from a flower. They’re able to grow in harsh conditions, thrive, renew daily, and look fabulous doing it.
These flowers represent being able to endure the worst, and come back better and stronger for it.
If you give someone this flower, then the meaning behind it is that you both share an unbreakable bond, usually love, and that you care very deeply about them. In the Victorian era, if you were to give someone this flower, it represented love. However, that love was in vain.
See the Morning Glory flower blooms with the sun, it loves the sun. But when the sun sets, the flower is left alone to die.
And the sun will always set. Ergo, it’s love for the sun is in vain because the sun will never stick around forever.
Etymological Meaning Of The Flower
Morning Glory’s latin name is Ipomoea Purpurea. Ipomoea’s root word means worm, and essentially refers to the way that the Morning Glory flower can wrap around like a vine, or a worm.
Purpurea means purple and refers to the color of the flower when it was discovered. However, it’s worth mentioning that it actually comes in lots of different colors and not just purple.
Its english name, Morning Glory, is a lot funnier than its latin name, and we’ll explain why. On the one hand, the name refers to how the flower blooms, in all its glory, in the morning.
On the other hand, if the phrase “Morning Glory” sounds familiar to you it’s because it’s also a very well known innuendo.
It’s an innuendo for a part of the male anatomy that also rises in the morning, if you get what we mean. And that’s enough on that topic.
Symbolism Of The Flower
The Morning Glory is rich in symbolism purely because of its blooming habit. There’s something very sentimental about the fact that it waits for, and rises with, the sun. In that way, the Morning Glory is symbolic of an undying kind of love, filled with longing.
The flower symbolizes devotion to something that doesn’t necessarily feel the same way back. That’s why Victorians would give a Morning Glory flower to someone to symbolize unrequited love. It was the polite way of saying look, dude, it is never going to happen. Move on.
Imagine getting a beautiful bouquet of flowers, only to find out it’s a break up bouquet. Eh, it’s still a lot nicer than breaking up with someone through text.
Nowadays though, the symbolism behind the Morning Glory has changed. This is largely because the Victorian flower language died away, since it was so damn mean sometimes.
Aside from love and devotion, it is symbolic of resilience. Though the flower dies every evening, it still comes back each morning to repeat the same cycle, all because it can.
Flower Color Meanings
Before we had words, we had colors. Colors had, and still do have, deep symbolic meanings. If I say red, you would think of danger, blood, perhaps even passion. In that way, even the colors of flowers have deeper meaning.
Though it has the scientific name purpurea, which is Latin for purple, Morning Glory actually comes in lots of different colors depending on how it’s grown, seed type, and a variety of other factors.
However, all the colors are on the spectrum of purple, hence the name. Here are some of the different colors Morning Glory comes in, and their meanings:
The color pink is heavily associated with romance, puppy love, tenderness, consideration, and appreciation. When you give pink Morning Glories the message you’re sending is one of sweetness, symbolic of all these different associations.
White Morning Glory, across many cultures, is symbolic of purity, innocence, and spirituality. There’s a reason why brides wear white wedding dresses in western cultures, to symbolize (outdated) purity. White Morning Glories are actually very common in wedding bouquets in the west.
Blue Morning Glories are the most common color of this species. When you think of the color blue, it’s almost always synonymous with the ocean. In that same way, the depth of the ocean is as deep as the symbolism of this color of Morning Glories. Blue Morning Glories symbolizes infinite love, deep feelings, respect, trust, and honesty.
Remember earlier when we mentioned the color red being symbolic of passion? Red Morning Glories are the same. They symbolize passionate emotions and are heavily associated with having a strong heart. They’re the epitome of resilience and good living.
In history, particularly in the medieval, Greek, and Roman eras, the color purple showed the fact that you were rich. This is because if you had anything colored purple, clothes, objects, jewels etc… then that meant you had access to purple dye which was not only expensive but rare.
Purple dye used to be made from cracking open a snail’s shell, and a single snail’s shell didn’t exactly yield much.
That’s why purple was saved for the uber rich. It’s also why purple Morning Glories are representative of wealth, nobility, royalty, and beauty.
Meaningful Botanical Characteristics Of The Morning Glory flower
As well as the flowers looking beautiful, Morning Glory actually has some very useful botanical characteristics. In particular, it’s the seeds that are the most useful.
Morning Glory seeds, when crushed and made into a fine powder, are often used in Chinese medicines.
Because Morning Glory seeds contain the ergoline alkaloid ‘lysergic acid amide’, they’re actually hallucinogenic when ingested. This is because it’s very chemically similar to LSD, and will cause a trip similar to this as well.In fact there’s records of Morning Glory being used in ancient psychedelic ceremonies.
However, it should be noted that ingesting Morning Glory seeds, that have not been properly prepared, can cause serious health problems such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
Most Morning Glory seeds that are sold nowadays, as well as the flowers too, are coated in pesticide sprays and will cause serious internal damage if ingested. Also, in the US it is illegal to grow, import, or sell Morning Glory without a permit.
Special Occasions For The Morning Glory Flowers
Though there might not be a specific occasion for the Morning Glory flowers anymore, there used to be lots of ceremonies where the flower was used to induce a psychedelic state.
These were particularly common in Mexico. It was common for ancient Aztec priests to use Morning Glory seeds to induce a state of hallucination.
They would then take these trances as a state of divinity, and use anything they had seen as a message from the gods.
When you think about how many people the Aztecs sacrificed, and you realize the priests were tripping absolute balls, it starts to make a lot more sense. Mainly though, Morning Glory was used in ceremonies honoring the Great Goddess of Teotihuacan.
Nowadays, Morning Glories are considered the flower for the birth month of September. So if you know anyone with a birthday in September, Morning Glory might be the best bouquet you could get.
They would also be a very significant gift to someone you think that needs to be more tenacious and resilient in their everyday life.
Morning Glory Flower Cultural Significance
The earliest recorded use of Morning Glory was in ancient China. They used the flower for its medicinal properties and ceremonial purposes. In Japan, in the 9th Century, the flower was becoming increasingly popular in botanical gardens. In the far East, Morning Glory linked with fairies.
There’s an ancient Chinese tale that depicts two lovers who can only meet once a year. This is significant to the flower, because they thought Morning Glory represents these two lovers.
The story goes that two young people fell in love once. It was such a deep and passionate love that they forgot all that was around them, neglecting their duties. They both consumed one another. Deep in love and forsaking their responsibilities, the gods grew angry at the two lovers.
Embittered, they cursed the two and ripped them apart. Distraught, the gods granted them one small mercy. They allowed the two lovers to meet one day of the year.
For all other days they had no choice but to complete their duties. Thus the moral of the story is, love may be cool but don’t forget to do your chores.
Generally the Western world has adopted Chinese significance of the Morning Glory flower, with its own added twist. In the Victorian era, the flower represented love. It also represented life and death and was often found in graveyards and growing on gravestones.
Morning Glory Flower Facts
- The flowers are usually shaped like a trumpet with heart shaped leaves, except the Ipomoea variety which have cypress-like leaves that are finely cut.
- Morning Glory flower vines can grow up to 15ft in height.
- Morning Glory only blossoms starting from late spring to the first frost of the autumn or winter season.
- Butterflies and Hummingbirds are responsible for the pollination of these flowers.
- These flowers only bloom when the sun is around, and curl in on themselves once the sun has gone.
- Morning Glory seeds, roots, and dried flowers/leaves can cause a psychedelic trip similar to being on LSD.
- The Morning Glory is very low maintenance.
Morning Glory Flower Uses
Morning Glory has lots of medicinal uses, and to this day is very prevalent in herbal Chinese medicine. It’s considered very purificatory to your internal organs.
It is diuretic for the kidneys, meaning it helps you produce more urine, reduces swelling, flushes out your kidneys, and will reduce phlegm in your lungs.
Moreover the flower is still used in some cultures to help induce labour in pregnant women, and can be just as effective (when used safely and correctly) as some labour inducing pharmaceutical drugs.
What Is The Symbolism Of A Morning Glory Flower Tattoo
Interestingly a Morning Glory tattoo actually has less to do with unrequited love, or love in general. It actually represents someone who is very observant or faithful.
This amazing flower has so many profound meanings and deep cultural significance. As well as that it’s a very useful plant and has many medicinal properties that would be effective to use in this day and age. It’s a wonder that it can do all of that and still manage to look so very beautiful!
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