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What are the symbolic meanings of herbs and plants?

Read about the symbolic meaning of herbs and plants.

Through the ages, romantics have ascribed meaning to plants. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Through the ages, romantics have ascribed meaning to plants.

Poets, romantics and even alchemists have given symbolic meaning to herbs and plants. Here are some of the more common interpretations:

  • Aloe: Healing, protection, affection
  • Angelica: Inspiration
  • Arbor vitae: Unchanging friendship
  • Bachelors buttons: Single blessedness
  • Basil: Good wishes, love
  • Bay: Glory
  • Carnation: Alas for my poor heart
  • Chamomile: Patience
  • Chives: Usefulness
  • Clover, White: Think of me
  • Coriander: Hidden worth
  • Cum: Infidelity
  • Fennel: Flattery
  • Fern: Sincerity
  • Geranium, Oak-leaved: True friendship
  • Goldenrod: Encouragement
  • Heliotrope: Eternal love
  • Holly: Hope
  • Hollyhock: Ambition
  • Honeysuckle: Bonds of love
  • Horehound: Health
  • Hyssop: Sacrifice, cleanliness
  • Ivy: Friendship, continuity
  • Lady's mantle: Comforting
  • Lavender: Devotion, virtue
  • Lemon balm: Sympathy
  • Marjoram: Joy, happiness
  • Mints: Eternal refreshment
  • Morning glory: Affectation
  • Nasturtium: Patriotism
  • Oak: Strength
  • Oregano: Substance
  • Pansy: Thoughts
  • Parsley: Festivity
  • Pine: Humility
  • Poppy, Red: Consolation
  • Rose: Love
  • Rosemary: Remembrance
  • Rudbeckia: Justice
  • Rue: Grace, clear vision
  • Sage: Wisdom, immortality
  • Salvia, Blue: I think of you
  • Salvia, Red: Forever mine
  • Savory: Spice, interest
  • Sorrel: Affection
  • Southernwood: Constancy, jest
  • Sweet-pea: Pleasures
  • Sweet woodruff: Humility
  • Tansy: Hostile thoughts
  • Tarragon: Lasting interest
  • Thyme: Courage, strength
  • Valerian: Readiness
  • Violet: Loyalty, devotion
  • Violet, Blue: Faithfulness
  • Violet, Yellow: Rural happiness
  • Willow: Sadness
  • Zinnia: Thoughts of absent friends

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