Floriography, the language of flowers, has been in existence for centuries. The language of flowers was not invented in Victorian times, as flowers have figured in religious and mythological settings.  Using flowers to send a message probably dates to prehistoric times for the symbolic use of flowers is mentioned in Egyptian inscriptions, in Chinese writings and in both Greek and Roman mythology.  Obtaining good luck by giving flowers dates back to Egyptian times.   The old testament of the Bible mentions gathering lilies.
The use of flowers to send a structured message is documented as early as the middle ages.  The severe restraints placed on courtship in that era undoubtedly aided in the development of “flower language.”  Through the use of flowers complex statements and sentiments could be delivered in seemingly harmless bouquets.  The delivery of flowers could declare intentions, indicate acceptance, announce dismissal or even arrange later meetings. Additionally, flower language allowed communications without the possibility of incriminating letters to be discovered later.  The use of flowers yielded messages unclear and often confusing.
In the 1600’s there was an actual “language” of flowers used in Turkey where unambiguous messages could be sent.  The language was so sophisticated that actual messages of military importance could be communicated in a seemingly harmless gift of flowers.  This language allowed lovers the opportunity to communicate with more specificity while sacrificing obscurity.  In 1819 a dictionary delineating the language of flowers was published in France. The dictionary was the, “Le Language des Fleurs” which included almost a thousand meanings for flowers and other plants and herbs.  A Victorian lady, Miss Corruthers of Inverness, wrote an entire book on the subject in 1879. Her book became the standard source for flower symbolism both in England and the United States.

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