The popular Wallflower plant is rich in symbolism. This is also reinforced by its folklore and uses.
It is originally from the southern part of Europe and gives off a very pleasant fragrance.
In this blog we will explore the Wallflower plant symbolism, the origins of its name and the folklore and uses of the plant.
What do Wallflower symbolise?
The Wallflower’s symbolic meaning are faithfulness in adversity, enduring beauty, fidelity in misfortune and natural beauty. Astrologers and Alchemist place the plant under the dominion of the moon.
This is not all the folklore surrounding this plant gives its meaning more depth. Let’s explore this further.
Why is it called Wallflower
The Wallflower or Cheiranthus Cheiri comes from the family of Stocks.
The plant was introduced from Spain and it came under the name Stock-Gillofer. Later it would be renamed to Gilliflower then finally be called Wallflower.
The name Gilliflower was applicable to a variety of plants such as Clove Gilliflower to identify Carnations, Stock Gilliflower for Stock plants and finally, Wall Gilliflower for Wallflower.
Wallflowers were known to grow on old walls. They were often seen on ancient castles, ruins of abbeys and casements.
During Medieval times it was common for minstrels and troubadours to wear a bouquet of the wallflower. The bouquet would be an emblem to represent affection which was proof against time and misfortune.
Wallflower plant meaning from folklore
Fidelity in misfortune is one of the symbolic meanings of the Wallflower. It is also one plant that has a romantic meaning associated to it.
This meaning derives from an ancient Scottish legend. The legend tells the tale of a castle situated near the river Tweed.
In this castle was a fair maiden that was kept as a prisoner. She gave her loyalty and heart to the heir of an opposing and hostile clan.
Both chiefs of those clans had shed blood on either side and fostered hatred towards each other. This made any idea of being in union impossible.
Her lovers attempted many strategies in order to free her but they all failed. However, an attempt succeeded in granting his access to the castle.
He had to disguise as a troubadour and sang to him beloved. He was also successful at organising an escape plan with the help of a serving woman.
The fair maiden would now escape while he waited for her arrival. However, the legend concludes on a sad note with her attempting to get down the wall, falling and dying.
“Up she got upon a wall,
Attempted down to slide withal. But the silken twist untied. So she fell and, bruised, she died. Love in pity of the deed,
And her loving luckless speed,
Tum’d her to this plant we call Now the Flower of the Wall.”
There were other folklores that surround the wallflower plant. A few hundred years ago Wallflowers were considered as a currency for purchasing land in England.
Another modern folklore was to plant Wallflowers as a companion plant for apple trees which would encourage the apple tree to bear fruits.
Wallflower plant uses and beliefs
Wallflowers were also used in dream interpretations let’s explore some of them:
- Someone in love dreaming of a wallflower meant that the object of his affection will be faithful.
- A sickly person dreaming of wallflower signified that he will recover soon.
- If a lady dreamt that she was plucking a wallflower for her bouquet, then it meant that the worthiest of her admirers has yet to propose to her.
The Wallflower was also used as a medicine and some of its uses were:
- Treating liver disorders and using it as purgative.
- In the region of Somerset, it was recommended to eat buds of wallflower in salads or jams for apoplexy.
- It was also a popular remedy for fevers combined with bay salt it was either applied to the writs or on the head.
- In Ireland the plant was immersed in oil then used as a pain killer. The infusion was also taken for nervous troubles.
If you enjoyed our blog on the Wallflower plant meaning then don’t miss out our list of flowers and plants under the dominion of the moon.
Dietz, S. T. (2022). The complete language of flowers the complete language of flowers: A definitive and illustrated history – pocket edition. Wellfleet Press.
Thiselton Dyer, T. F. (1994). Folklore of Plants. Llanerch Press.
Watts, D., & Watts, D. C. (2007). Dictionary of Plant Lore. Academic Press.