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Iris Flower Meaning

Revealed! The Hidden Meaning of Iris Flowers

Did you know that the iris flower has its roots in Greek mythology? Learn more about what this beautiful flower represents as part of its meaning.
Avanika Mote
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
The meaning of the Greek word iris means, rainbow. The plant of iris is named after the goddess 'Iris' because of its beauty and because of the varied colors in the flowers of this genus. In Greek legends and mythology, the goddess 'Iris' was the messenger who traveled on the rainbow between the lands of Human beings and the Gods. The flower of iris implies a message and a promise of hope. The meaning of this flower is often associated with valor and wisdom.
This flower belongs to the iris family of flowers, which includes more than 300 species of similar flowers, that are commonly found in most regions of the world as wild plants and decorative ones as well. Because of the abundant varieties of this flower around the world, its meaning differs from region to region depending upon its color. The general meaning states that the three leaves of iris symbolize faith, valor and wisdom.
History Behind the Meaning
Greek mythology had it that Iris is the goddess of the rainbow and the daughter of Thaumas and Electra. She was represented as the messenger of Hera and Zeus. Ever since the ancient times, the royal flower of Iris symbolized power and majesty. The flower was dedicated to Juno - a Roman deity, which was surprisingly thought to be the origin of the scepter. The people of Egypt placed an iris flower on the brow of the Sphinx and on the scepter of the Egyptian kings which identified three leaves of its blossoms as symbols of valor, wisdom and faith.
During the medieval ages, before the Italian Renaissance, the flower's meaning was associated with the French monarchy. Ever since then, Fleur-de-lys became the national symbol of France. In a few languages in the world, iris flowers are called flags or swords, implying that they were symbolic of royalty, heritage and heraldry. In Japan, the meaning has been interpreted as an expression of heroic deeds. The blue color of Japanese iris symbolizes blue blood. This is why iris flowers are used extensively in the Japanese spring festival for boys. Iris flowers were used in making perfumes, fragrances and as a medicinal herb too. Today, you can find irises in gardens, yards, bouquets and even in the forests throughout the world.
The intricate history behind the meaning of the iris flower has made us include wisdom, hope, trust and valor among the values this flower symbolizes. The symbolism may differ depending on the color of the flower and the region. It may also involve additional meanings from the history of that particular region where it is grown. The meaning of this flower also implies courage, fondness and admiration.
  • In some parts of the world, the dark blue or purple iris stands for royalty.
  • A yellow iris symbolizes passion and eloquence.
  • Purple-colored irises symbolize wisdom and compliments.
  • A blue iris stands for hope and faith.
  • White irises symbolize purity.
The several meanings of the iris flower make it a lovely choice for gifting, for many different occasions like when thinking of someone, on birthdays or anniversaries, for sympathy, recovering family / friends or even for corporate gifting. The flower of iris is the state flower of Tennessee and as Fleur-de-lis, makes an emblem for the city of New Orleans. Irises are cultivated throughout the world and can be popularly found in Europe, Middle East, Asia, North America and Northern Africa as well.
Purple Iris Flower
Iris Flowers on Wooden Background
Summer Iris Flowers
Close-up of a Bearded Iris (Iris germanica)
Iris Flowers
German bearded iris - iris x germanica
Purple Iris Flower With Yellow Shade
Flower Of The Iris In The Garden
Red Gladiolus Flower
Violet Gladiolus Flower
Close-up of spring beautiful purple iris flowers
German bearded iris - iris x germanica
Iris Flowers And Trees In Park
Iris Flowers