Skip to Content

Top 9 Flowers That Symbolize Courage

Top 9 Flowers That Symbolize Courage

Courage is a word that has driven many great individuals since the dawn of man. Courageous people who leave a mark often do so out of selflessness and in honor or for the protection of others.

Throughout history, many flowers have been labeled as symbols of courage, and rightfully so, based on the flower’s appearance, features, and courageous characteristics.

Flowers that symbolize courage are: Borage (Borago), Mullein (Verbascum), Beardtongue (Penstemon), Astrantia (Masterwort), Protea, Thyme, Cactus, Gladiolus and Phacelia.

1. Borage (Borago)

Borage (Borago).
Borage (Borago)
Hans Bernhard (Schnobby), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Borage flower is a truly unique flower that represents courage and strength, whether you are heading out onto the battlefield or if you are facing mental and emotional challenges in your daily life.

The Borage, or Borago flower is one of just five species that are from the Boraginaceae plant family. The Borage flower can be found throughout the Mediterranean region, making it even more unique compared to other more worldly flowers.

This exotic flower is extremely appealing to bees and insects with its original appearance of both star and bell-shaped flowers aligned in harmony.

According to Linnaeus, Borage, or Borago, comes from the Latin words “ago”, meaning “to act on something”, and “cor”, which meant “from the heart”, or as we know it today, of course.

In both Celtic and Roman history, Borage flowers were given to soldiers to provide an additional boost of courage whenever they were to experience dangerous situations.

2. Mullein (Verbascum)

Mullein (Verbascum).
Mullein (Verbascum)
Image by John Tann from flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Mullein, or Verbascum, comes from the Scrophulariaceae plant family of more than 100 genus species in total.

Mullein can be found throughout most of Asia as well as Europe, and are considered perennial plants, allowing them to bloom each year without requiring additional planting.

Mullein, or Verbascum plants, appear tall and bright in color. While they are typically yellow in color, they may also have the appearance of being purple or white, depending on the region you are in and the time of year.

Most often, mullein flowers can be found throughout hilly regions and woodlands, as the flowers grow up tall and vertically when they are planted and grown in the proper environment.

The meaning of Verbascum comes from the Latin word “barbascum”, which can be translated to “the bearded plant”.

This is likely connected to the mullein plant as the plant itself is covered in hairy areas from the stems to the bracts.

The mullein flower is known as a medicinal plant, as it has many healing properties and benefits that have been acknowledged and recognized throughout history.

Today, the mullein flower is still a symbol, of course, health, and in some instances, even protection.

3. Beardtongue (Penstemon)

Beardtongue (Penstemon).
Beardtongue (Penstemon)
Justin Meissen from St Paul, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Penstemon flower is extremely vibrant, vivid, and attractive.

While the beardtongue flower is from the family Plantaginaceae, which can be found throughout most of North America (and has more than 200 species in its genus), it is one of the most exotic North American flowers due to its colorful nature.

The beardtongue flower includes five petals that are funnel-shaped and come in colors ranging from purple and hot pink to crimson, white, baby pink, and even blood red.

The word penstemon can be traced back to the Greek words “penta” and “stemon”, which mean both “five”, and “stamen”.

What makes the Penstemon, or beardtongue flower stand out is that one of the five stamens included in each flower is sterile, giving the flower an even more unique look than many others in the same plant family.

Throughout history, the Penstemon flower has been referred to as a flower filled with spiritual knowledge and courage, providing courage to those who come in contact with the flower in nature or as a gift.

4. Astrantia (Masterwort)

Astrantia (Masterwort).
Astrantia (Masterwort)
Zeynel Cebeci, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Masterwort flower, or the Astrantia, comes from a genus of around 10 species from the plant family Apiaceae.

The Masterwort flower can be found throughout both Asia and Europe, and appears as bushy clustered flowers that include start-like pets and spiky edges.

The Masterwort flower is composed of numerous petal-like bracts and smaller flowers that make up a large umbel.

The Astrantia flower is not just limited to one color. In fact, it can be found in bright pinks, purples, red, and even white throughout the spring and summertime.

The name Astrantia can be rooted back to the Latin word “aster”, which can be translated today into “star”.

This is due to the start-like flowers and petals that Astrantia flowers and plants produce. The word “Masterwort”, is thought of to be from the Latin word “magistrantia”, which has also come from another Latin word, “magister”.

The Latin word “magister”, represents the teacher or the “master”. The Astrantia flower represents courage, strength, and protection for those who come in contact with the flower.

5. Protea

Protea flower.
Image by brando from flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Protea flower is a plant with large and oversized leathery leaves that grow upwards vertically surrounding bright and vibrant tubular-shaped flowers.

The petals of the Protea flower are actually known as the colorful bracts of the plant itself. If you are searching for an exotic plant that represents courage and strength, the Protea flower just might be the perfect pick.

Not only are Protea flowers exotic in their shape and design found in nature, but they also bloom in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, from yellow and orange to hot pink and lime green.

The origin of the name Protea can be traced back to the sea God of Greek mythology, also known as Proteus.

It is commonly believed that the Protea flower can be traced back as far as 300 million years, making it one of the oldest flowers on planet earth today.

Because of its lengthy history and resilience, it is known as a flower of courage and determination, even in many modern cultures and sects of society today.

6. Thyme

Björn S…, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When you think of the thyme herb or plant, you might not immediately associate it with the words ‘courage’ or ‘braveness’, but thyme has a rich history that proves it has just that for a meaning.

Thyme comes from the Greek word which translates directly into the word “courage”, making thyme’s appearance on this list even more fitting and appropriate.

The thyme flower was known as a medicinal herb to help provide soldiers during Medieval times with the strength, bravery, and courage they needed to help with any battles they encountered.

In some cultures, thyme flowers were also placed on the graves of loved ones and friends as a sign of death and as a symbol of courage and bravery in troubling times.

7. Cactus

Steve Evans from Citizen of the World, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The cactus has a rich history that is complex and worldwide. While it is most often referred to as a Native American Indian plant, cactus can be found around the world in hot and arid conditions and climates.

The cactus plant itself is designed in nature to remain strong, resilient, and unaffected by challenging and combative weather conditions, which is why it has become known as a sign of endurance and strength.

To Native American Indians, the cactus flower is also a symbol of protection as well as a mother’s love, which is why it is suitable for a list of flowers that symbolize courage in any way, shape, or form.

8. Gladiolus

Gladiolus flower.
Pharaoh HoundCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you find yourself drawn to lightweight, flowy, vertical flowers that have an unmatched beauty, the gladiolus flower, also known as the Sword Lily, might be the perfect fit for you.

The gladiolus flower comes from more than 300 species of the Iridaceae family, and can be found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa as well as a few regions throughout Europe.

The Sword Lily, or gladiolus, is named after its tall appearance, spiky nature, and flowy petals. The word ‘gladiolus’, comes directly from the Latin word ‘gladiolus’ itself, which can be translated into ‘small’, or ‘tiny sword’ today.

The gladiolus flower is representative of moral integrity, character, honor, and courage. It can also be used when expressing feelings of romance with another.

The word gladius also comes from the popular word “gladiator”, demonstrating the strength of the long-lasting plant.

9. Phacelia

Phacelia flowers.
Joe Decruyenaere, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Phacelia plant, also known as Scorpionweed, is another extremely unique, versatile, and exotic plant that represents endurance and courage.

The Phacelia flower blooms with small flowers in clusters that extend large stems from each, giving the flower a spiky appearance.

For those who are looking for plants to attract honeybees and bumblebees, scorpionweed is a must. The Phacelia flowers’ nickname, scorpionweed, was derived from the appearance of the flower itself and the curling formation that mimics the appearance of the tail of a scorpion.

The Phacelia, or scorpionweed flower, is known to thrive in warm weather and can survive in a range of temperatures and climates, including through lengthy droughts.

Due to its resilience and determination to survive, the Phacelia, or scorpionweed flower is often thought of as a symbol of courage, strength, and endurance.


While it may not seem that flowers can symbolize courage at first glance, understanding the rich and complex history behind various flowers that represent courage can help to better grasp reasoning.

Flowers that symbolize courage remind us of the strength required by those around us to build the world we dream of together.