What Is the Meaning of the Iris Flower?


The iris flower represents royalty, hope, wisdom, faith and valor, and images of the flower have been used throughout history. It's Tennessee's state flower and an emblem for New Orleans. The flower can even make a perfect bouquet for someone with allergies.

The Iris

  • Irises symbolize hope, wisdom, passion, courage and faith. It's the official 25th anniversary flower and the birth flower for the month of February. As the official state flower of Tennessee, the iris's three petals represent faith, valor and wisdom. Different colors of the iris represent different things. Purple irises represent royalty and yellow irises represent passion.

Iris as a Messenger

  • In Greek mythology, Iris was the goddess of the rainbow -- iris is the word for rainbow in Greek. Iris was also a personal messenger for the gods. Ancient Greeks often planted purple irises around women's graves to summon Iris to guide the women into the afterlife.

Iris as Royalty

  • Purple has long been associated with royalty. The purple iris became symbolic of French royalty after the French King Clovis placed an iris on his helmet before his victory at the Battle of Vouille in 507. The iris was converted into the stylized fleur-de-lis that appeared on battle armor and banners. New Orleans, with its French heritage, has the fleur-de-lis as part of the city's flag that was adopted in 1918.

Irises as Gifts

  • Thanks to their vibrancy and background as a symbol of royalty, purple irises can add drama and elegance to a simple bouquet. You can also send them to a friend with allergies -- Teleflora lists irises as one of the top allergy-friendly flowers. If you want to impress an expert gardener, you might send a gift of Dutch iris varieties like Red Ember with its purple and copper hues, or Eye of the Tiger, with its smoky, grayish brown tint.

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