For most of recorded history, humans found symbolism in things around them. Every day sights like animals, landscapes, and even inanimate objects became parts of a larger image. Soon enough, those parts formed a story they like to tell about themselves.
Flowers are no exception to this rule. They are beautiful, abundant, and sometimes mysterious. Their origins have always been fodder for myth and legend, and they came to symbolize different qualities in the human spirit.
To this day, the ideas we have about certain flowers remain deeply ingrained in our imagination. The colors, shapes, and scents of different flowers inspire us to add meaning and symbolism to each one.
Flowers that symbolize power are: Kunzea, Datura (Devil’s Trumpet), Muscari (Grape Hyacinth), Potentilla (Cinquefoil), Iris, Borago (Starflower), Black Tulip, Canna Lily, Fritillaria (Crown Imperial), and Dracula (Monkey Orchid).
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Named after the 19th-century German botanist, Gustav Kunze, this unique genus of 40 shrubs and trees isn’t something you see every day. The spiked flowers are native to Australia but can be found everywhere now. (1)
Kunzeas have an unusual appearance, thanks to their long stamens that poke out of their 5-petaled flowers. They form in clusters and come in so many colors and shapes. However, they all share that striking feature that sets them apart from other flowers.
Thanks to their special anatomy, Kunzeas attract pollinators like bees and other insects. They also abound with nectar and fragrant leaves.
Kunzea flowers symbolize power as well as pure energy. Their unique look makes for a special gift to the person you see conquering the world.
2. Datura (Devil’s Trumpet)
From the Hindi word “dhatura,” which means thornapple, comes the name of this flower. However, it’s also known as the Devil’s Trumpet, Moonflower, Devil’s Weed, and Hell’s Bells. because of the intense toxicity of the plant. (2)
It belongs to the family Solanaceae, or nightshades, which include tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. That said, ingesting any part of the Datura plant can be fatal because it contains high concentrations of neurotoxins. (3)
As they grow naturally in North America, you’re bound to see them out in the wild. The plants are majestic, growing up to 7 feet tall. The flowers, with their beautiful bell or trumpet shape, can range in color from white to purple.
Datura flowers symbolize power as well as protection from evil. It was believed to aid sleep and break hexes by the Mohave, Yuma, Cahuilla, and Zuni people.
3. Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)
Muscari is a genus that belongs to the Asparagaceae family. It gets its name from the musky scent that comes out of some of its members. (4)
Unlike the previous deadly trumpets, these flowers resemble grapes so much that they earned the nickname Grape Hyacinth. They aren’t poisonous, but their namesake, Hyacinthus, is. You should be careful around them, although sometimes, they’re pickled and used for food!
Thanks to their tough nature, Muscari flowers can be grown in the garden, in borders, or even in rock gardens. The clusters of white, yellow, or even blue grape-like petals are sure to be eye-catching.
The gorgeous Muscari flowers have a mysterious air about them, but their rich blue tones are a great display of power and confidence. They make for great cut flowers, so you can gift them to someone you love.
4. Potentilla (Cinquefoil)
Potentilla is a genus of about 300 plants that produce gorgeous, 5-petaled flowers. This gives the flowers their other name, Cinquefoil, from the French words for the number 5 and paper.
When the flower’s name is derived from the Latin word for powerful “potens,” then you know it’s deserved. It was a staple of ancient medicine, thought to relieve symptoms of diarrhea, dysentery, fever, as well as menstrual cramps. (5)
Potentilla is also a relative of roses, as it comes from the same family, Rosaceae. This means that gorgeous colors, aromatic scents, and being a favorite among pollinators are all shared traits.
Irises are some of the most well-known and loved flowers around the world. They’ve been cultivated for their beauty and spiritual significance for millennia.
Both the ancient Greeks and Egyptians attached the Iris to their gods and the afterlife. Thousands of years later, the French Bourbon kings used it to signify royalty and dominion.
The flowers have an easy-to-recognize anatomy, with a set of petals standing up, and another set of petals that curve downwards. Some varieties have beards, which are fuzzy little hairs that grace the bottom of the petal, while others have crests that look like golden emblems.
Thanks to their long history, humans have used Irises in medicine to treat stomach issues and even syphilis. The dried roots were historically used in perfumeries, and are currently given to babies as a teething aid. But it should be used with caution as it can cause nausea and vomiting. (6)
6. Borago (Starflower)
Borago, Borage, or Starflower is a limited genus of just 5 species in the family Boraginaceae. Their striking appearance as well as their medicinal qualities gave them a spot in Homer’s Odyssey as the drug nepenthe. At least that’s what Pliny the Elder and Dioscorides believed.
The plant is tall with star-shaped flowers composed of alternating leaves. They’re covered in fuzz and have a royal blue-purple color. (7)
It was used to treat gastrointestinal, respiratory, cardiovascular, as well as urinary problems by using an oil extract called borage oil.
Borago flowers symbolize power and courage in battle.
7. Black Tulip
Now that’s an unusual color of a beloved flower! Black Tulips are as eye-catching as they are hard to plant. Their shades of deep chocolate, dark maroon, and midnight purples can very easily be interpreted by the eye as true black.
The species that grow black tulips are:
- Queen of the Night Black Tulip
- Nearly Black Tulip
- Ebony Queen Black Tulip
- Black Hero Tulip
- Black Parrot Tulip
- Paul Scherer Black Tulip
Each of them has a special look, but they all symbolize power and strength. (8)
8. Canna Lily
Canna flowers or Canna Lilies aren’t true lilies, as they belong to the family Cannaceae and not Liliaceae. They are long, showy flowers with shades of orange, red, pink, and yellow.
Cannas were an important economic plant before they were cultivated as ornamental flowers. They were used by Native Americans as a food source, medicinal plant, and source of fiber for jute and paper-making. In India, their seeds were used as gun pellets.
Indian Canna can become invasive if it takes hold of the ground and is super difficult to get rid of. (9)
Cannas symbolize glory and power, as well as beauty and confidence.
9. Fritillaria (Crown Imperial)
This downright strange-looking flower isn’t like anything you’ve seen before. The Fritillaria petal has a marvelous checkered pattern that makes its name fitting, since fritillus in Latin means “dice box.”
Its other name, Crown Imperial, comes from the legend of Mount Gethsemane. It was said that when Jesus Christ wept on the mount, all flowers bowed their heads in respect. However, the Fritillaria kept its head high. So, Jesus reprimanded it, bowing its head and changing its color from bright white to pink. (10)
Fritillaria symbolizes power, pride, and majesty.
10. Dracula (Monkey Orchid)
Dracula flowers aren’t named for Bram Stoker’s famous vampire tale. The Latin word dracula means “little dragon,” an apt name for the mesmerizing shapes and colors of this flower.
Perhaps the other name for it, Monkey Orchid, is more fitting. The internal parts of the flower clearly show the face of various species of monkeys! (11)
While most astounding features, like this one, happen in part for an evolutionary advantage, none could be found for this flower. It’s most likely considered a vestige of our human ability to see faces where none exist, also called pattern-seeking behavior or apophenia. (12)
This last flower shows that even great things like power might have a hidden side. Humans have attached it to less-great meanings, such as evil or death. The palette that colors this flower is jaundiced and pale, just like a dead, putrefying body.
The Final Takeaway
You can find symbols and patterns in almost everything around you, flowers included. With thousands of years of human history, you’re bound to see the meaning attached to different flowers and see how people used them in art, literature, and mythology.
Learning about flowers that symbolize power can tell you a lot about what people find powerful. The color purple comes first and foremost, since it was historically associated with royalty. You also find lots of reds, oranges, and yellows; all signs of confidence and courage.
How many of these flowers did you know symbolized power? Which of them was the most surprising to you? Let us know in the comments below!
Header image courtesy: Photo by Pixabay