Even though the month of February is often cold and gray, Valentine's Day makes it one of the most romantic months of the year. Because Iris is the symbolic flower of the Greek goddess Iris who was also the messenger of love, it seems fitting that the elegant iris is the birthday flower of February.
Traditionally, iris symbolize eloquence, faith, wisdom and hope, much as February carries with it the promise that spring will soon return. In Greek, iris means "rainbow" and the plant's name probably reflects the fact that irises are grown in many colors, including blue and purple, white and yellow, pink and orange, brown and red, and even black.
Irises are among the best-known and loved garden plants (technically herbaceous perennials) around. There are 260 species of iris growing from either a creeping rhizome (a horizontal underground stem) or from an individual bulb, like tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. You can grow iris in roomy pots with good drainage and they grow best indoors on a sunny windowsill.
Iris in History
The iris has been a treasured flower since ancient times, often appearing in Egyptian works of art dating as far back as the 28th Egyptian Dynasty around 400 BC. In fact, a flower carved into the Sphinx of Giza in Egypt is believed to be an iris.
Colors and Symbolism
In Greek mythology, the goddess Iris used the rainbow as her personal highway as she traveled from place to place delivering messages of love. Because of this, the iris flower is also considered the symbol of eloquence, communication and messages.
If you want to give a bouquet of iris to celebrate someone's February birthday, here are some of the symbolic meanings of different flower colors:
- Purple iris denote wisdom and compliments.
- Blue iris symbolize faith and hope.
- Yellow iris stand for passion.
- White iris symbolize purity.
Fun Facts about Iris
- In ancient times, iris roots were used in perfumes and as folk medicine remedies.
- The juice of iris roots has been used as a cosmetic to remove freckles.
- Fresh iris germanica root is a powerful cathartic and has been used to clear excess water from the body.
- Dried iris root was felt to be good for coughs and sore throats, but is now treasured more for its violet-like aroma.
With its graceful willowy stems and delicate striped flowers, a colorful bouquet of iris flowers is guaranteed to please almost anyone celebrating a February birthday.