Last Updated on December 1, 2023
As I wander through the enchanting world of flowers, one blossom that never fails to catch my eye is the delicate and vibrant Pansy.
These charming flowers are not only a treat for the eyes but also carry a fascinating tapestry of meanings, spiritual symbolism, and color interpretations.
In this exploration, we’ll dive into the rich realm of Pansy flowers, uncovering their deep-rooted symbolism, the messages they convey through their various colors, and the spiritual significance they hold.
Join me on this journey as we unravel the secrets of the Pansy, a flower that has enchanted hearts and minds for generations.
What Does The Flower Mean?
The pansy is a flower used to symbolize love and free thought. With an incredible variety of colors and delicate patterning, anyone can use it to create a heartfelt message for a loved one.
The common or garden pansy is a hybrid plant from the genus viola, most often the Viola tricolor or wild pansy. Known for large flowers with a diverse array of colors, this flower has become a popular garden flower.
It’s certain to brighten up any flower bed, and an arrangement of pansy is a wonderful gift.
Love and thought have been symbolized by the wild pansy and the garden pansy for many years.
Etymological Meaning Of The Flower
The etymology of the word “pansy” relates to one of the main symbolic interpretations of the pansy. “Pansy” comes from the French word pensée, meaning “thought”.
This itself comes from the Latin term pendere, which translates as “weigh”, or “consider”, and became pensare.
The pansy is a hybrid plant of the genus viola, especially the Viola tricolor. The Viola tricolor is sometimes known as “wild pansy”, and was the ancestor of the cultivated “garden pansy”. Viola tricolor can also be referred to as “heartsease”.
Other names for the wild pansy include “love-in-idleness”, “Johnny Jump up”, and “heart’s delight”.
From the name alone, you can see the twin meanings of the pansy. It’s both a symbol of thought and remembrance, and a statement of love.
The Deep Symbolism of Pansy Flowers
There are two distinct meanings to the pansy: love, and thought.
An early meaning of the flower was that of thought and consideration. This meaning was used by Shakespeare in his play Hamlet.
As Ophelia hands out flowers, she states, “There’s pansies, that’s for thought”.
The meaning of thought and remembrance is an old symbolism, but it’s still in use today. A gift of this flower can be a way to show someone you’re thinking of them.
Some societies dedicated to free thinking have adopted the flower as their emblem.
But it also has a connection to romance.
Love is another classical meaning of the pansy, and particularly the wild pansy. Wild pansies were used in love potions, and to symbolize affection.
In Victorian times, the use of the pansy symbolized forbidden love. Giving your beloved a pansy meant you were thinking of your forbidden romance.
It isn’t just romantic love that the pansy can symbolize. The flower is also used to signify platonic or familial love. It can also show purity of feeling with it.
Deciphering the Symbolic Meanings of Pansy Flower Colors
|Pansy Color||Symbolic Meaning|
|White||Innocence and purity|
|Blue||Trust and honesty|
|Orange||Uplifting and cheerful|
Pansies are known for their vibrant, multicolored petals, often displaying two or three shades.
- Blue Pansies: Rare in the flower world, symbolize trust, honesty, and devotion.
- White Pansies: Symbolize purity, innocence, and an early blossoming of love.
- Purple Pansies: Signify wisdom and dignity, as well as thought and consideration.
- Red Pansies: Represent passionate, romantic love, often associated with secret admirers.
- Yellow And Orange Pansies: Convey joy and are given to uplift people, particularly during tough times.
- Lighter Shades: Denote gentleness in thought.
- Darker Shades: Symbolize passionate feelings.
- Combination Of Colors: Pansies that combine colors can carry complex meanings, such as respect and innocence (blue and white) or joyful love (red and yellow).
Meaningful Botanical Characteristics Of The Flower
One of the most notable botanical characteristics of the pansy is the color patterns that form on the petals. Pansies can be a single block color, two toned, or with the distinctive dark center that forms the “face” of the pansy.
There’s even greater variety within this. Some pansies have dark splotches of color, while others have pencil thin lines radiating from the center.
The arrangement of the petals on a pansy are distinct. Pansies have five petals: two overlapping at the top of the flower, one either side, and one large petal at the base, typically with an indentation.
Although there are some distinct features of the poppy, within this complex hybrid plant there is a wealth of variety.
Despite the long history, the flower as we know it today has only been around since the 1800s. The garden pansy was cultivated and crossbred from various types of the wild viola, most typically the Viola tricolor.
Pansies are winter bloomers in warmer climates. They prefer to be planted in sunshine, or in partial sunshine, and with good draining soil.
Pansies have been cultivated and selectively bred for ornamental purposes, which makes them quite an easy flower to grow. Many choose the pansy to brighten up an otherwise dull winter garden.
Special Occasions For The Pansy Flowers
|Birthdays||Joy and cheerfulness|
|Romantic Gestures||Expression of love and admiration|
|Victorian Customs||Symbol of forbidden love (secret admirer)|
|Winter Months||Optimism during short, cold days|
- Versatile Gift: Pansies are suitable for various occasions due to their diverse colors.
- Love And Respect: Often given to express love, respect, and admiration.
- Victorian Symbol: Victorians used them as a symbol of forbidden love, ideal for secret admirers.
- February Birth Flower: Pansies make a great birthday gift for February-born individuals.
- Yellow And Orange: Signify cheerfulness and joy, making them perfect for birthdays.
- Unique And Cheerful: Pansies’ coloring and beauty make them a unique and mood-lifting gift.
- Winter Blooms: Winter flowering pansies symbolize optimism during the short winter days.
The Cultural Significance of Pansy Flowers
|French Bridal Custom||Representing domestic concerns|
|Shakespearean References||Ophelia’s “for thought” in “Hamlet”|
|Cupid’s Creation||Creation of Violet tricolor in myths|
|Symbol of Free Thought||Adoption by Freethought societies|
- French Bridal Custom: In France, it was a custom to give brides arrangements of pansies and marigolds, not as a symbol of joy, but rather to represent domestic woes.
- Shakespearean References: Pansies are mentioned in Shakespeare’s works. In “Hamlet,” Ophelia describes them as “for thought,” and in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the wild pansy, or heartsease, is used in a love potion to make people fall in love with the next creature they see. In “The Taming of the Shrew,” love-in-idleness (wild pansy) is linked to falling in love.
- Cupid’s Creation: According to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Cupid created a Violet tricolor, or love-in-idleness when he missed his target and hit a white flower with his arrow. The stained flower became love-in-idleness, and its juice could be used as a love potion.
- Inspiration In Visual Arts: Pansies have inspired artists like Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Henri Fantin-Latour, who depicted them in their artworks.
- Emblem Of Free Thought: Pansies are associated with “free thought,” leading some Freethought societies like the American Union, Humanists, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation to adopt the flower as their emblem to symbolize critical thinking.
- Mythological Connection: Pansies are culturally linked to myths and legends related to Aphrodite, the Roman goddess of love. Some legends suggest that the flower used to be white but was stained purple by Aphrodite to prevent people from worshiping it.
Fascinating Facts About Pansy Flowers
- Love And Thoughtfulness: Pansies are often associated with love, admiration, and thoughtfulness. They are seen as a symbol of loving sentiments and deep consideration for someone.
- Forbidden Love: In the Victorian language of flowers, pansies symbolized forbidden love. While not recommended for pursuing unwanted affection, they could be given as a symbolic gift from a secret admirer.
- Shakespearean References: Pansies are mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare. Ophelia in “Hamlet” describes them as “for thought.” In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the wild pansy, also known as heartsease, is used to create a love potion.
- Birth Flower For February: Pansies are the birthflower for February. They make a thoughtful birthday gift for February-born individuals.
- Joy And Upliftment: Yellow and orange pansies symbolize cheerfulness and joy. They are often given to brighten someone’s day, making them suitable for various occasions.
- Unique And Cheerful: Pansies are known for their vibrant coloring and unique appearance, making them a cheerful and mood-lifting gift.
- Winter Blooms: Some pansies bloom in the winter, adding a splash of color and symbolizing optimism during the short, colder days.
- Complex Meanings: Pansies can convey nuanced messages by combining different colors. For example, blue and white may symbolize respect and innocence, while red and yellow can represent joyful love.
- Spiritual Connection: Pansies are often linked to spirituality, with white pansies symbolizing purity and innocence.
- Symbol Of Critical Thinking: Due to their association with “free thought,” pansies have been adopted as an emblem by various Freethought societies to represent critical thinking.
Versatile Applications Of Pansy Flowers
- Ornamental Beauty: Garden Pansies are cultivated for their vibrant colors and are primarily used as ornamental plants. They can add a splash of color to winter gardens with late flowering.
- Edible Delight: The entire Pansy flower, including the sepal, is edible, making it a popular choice for fresh salads. They can also be candied and used to adorn desserts like cakes, adding an attractive garnish to various dishes.
- Aromatic Uses: Aromatic wild Pansies have been utilized to create perfumes, with a history of such usage dating back to Roman and Celtic times. They are most fragrant during dawn and dusk.
- Medicinal Applications: Wild Pansies have a long history of use in traditional medicine. They contain cyclotides, stable peptides that are explored in drug development and potential cancer treatments. Pansies also function as diuretics, aiding in the treatment of urinary infections. Additionally, they possess properties that can help alleviate inflammation and respiratory infections.
- Clothes Dye: Pansies, with their vibrant colors, can be used as a natural source for dyeing fabrics, showcasing their versatility in various applications.
What Is The Symbolism Of A Pansy Flower Tattoo?
The flower signifies love and thought. A tattoo of the flower can be a symbol of your love for another, or a sign of remembrance. The colors used in the tattoo can add an extra layer of meaning to the pansy. Choose purple to honor someone you respect, or red to indicate a passionate love.
The language of the pansy is rich and complex. Both a symbol of love and deep thought, it has made many appearances in art and literature.
As a flower specifically bred for its beauty, the pansy adds life to any winter garden.
Gifts of pansies can symbolize your love for someone, and with the many colors, you can create your own unique message.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do Pansies symbolize in the language of flowers?
Pansies symbolize a range of emotions, including love, admiration, thoughtfulness, and cheerfulness. They can also represent purity and innocence.
Why are Pansies associated with forbidden love?
In the Victorian language of flowers, pansies were often linked to forbidden love. They could be given as a symbolic gift from a secret admirer.
Are there specific colors of Pansies that convey distinct meanings?
Yes, the colors of Pansies can carry different meanings. For example, blue and purple Pansies are often associated with respect, devotion, and wisdom, while yellow and orange Pansies symbolize cheerfulness and joy.
What is the spiritual significance of Pansies?
Pansies can hold spiritual meaning, particularly white Pansies, which are often seen as a symbol of purity and innocence.
Why are Pansies the birth flower for February?
Pansies are the birth flower for February because they bloom during the cooler months and symbolize optimism during the winter.
How did Pansies become associated with critical thinking and freethought societies?
Pansies have been adopted as emblems by some Freethought societies due to their association with “free thought” and are used to represent critical thinking and intellectual independence.
What are some common occasions for gifting Pansies?
Pansies are suitable for various occasions, including birthdays (especially for February-born individuals), to convey love and admiration, to uplift someone’s spirits, and as a gesture of thoughtfulness.
Are there specific myths or legends associated with Pansies?
Some legends suggest that Pansies, also known as love-in-idleness, were created when Cupid’s arrow missed its mark and struck a white flower, staining it with purple. The extracted juice was used as a love potion.
Can Pansies be used in spiritual or meditative practices?
Pansies, particularly white ones, are sometimes used in spiritual or meditative practices to symbolize purity, innocence, and deep reflection.
What is the significance of Pansies in Shakespeare’s works?
Pansies are mentioned in several of William Shakespeare’s works, such as “Hamlet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” where they are linked to thoughts and love potions.
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