Anemone Meaning and Symbolism

Anemone Story & Origins

Anemone flowers are wildflowers that grow in many parts of Europe, North America and Japan. The name anemone is derived from Greek which means “windflower.” The name comes from the fact that the delicate flowers are blown open by the wind, which in turn blows away the dead petals as well.

According to Greek mythology, anemones sprang out of the tears of Aphrodite while she was mourning the death of her lover, Adonis. Adonis was killed by the gods due to their jealousy over his love affair with the beautiful goddess of love.

Anemone Meanings

The most significant anemone flower meaning is anticipation. This is because the anemone flowers close up at night and open back up in the morning. Due to its wild nature, the flower specifically symbolizes relaxation and serves as a reminder to enjoy the moment in order to take in opportunities at the right time. According to the Victorian language of flowers, anemone flowers also signify fragility.

According to both Greek mythology and Christianity, the red anemone symbolizes death or the act of forsaken love. While Aphrodite was crying, Adonis shed blood on the anemones that came from her tears and stained them red. In Christianity, red anemones symbolize the blood that Christ shed on the crucifixion.


Anemone Symbolism & Colors

Anemone flowers are available in many colors with each symbolizing a different meaning.

  • White anemone flowers symbolize sincerity due to their delicate appearance.
  • Red and pink anemone flowers symbolize death or forsaken love.
  • Purple anemone flowers symbolize protection from evil.

Anemone Cultural Significance

Anemones are often depicted in various paintings by Impressionist painters including Matisse and Monet, who had deep appreciations for nature and flowers. A few of Matisse’s most famous paintings that include anemones are: Annelies, White Tulips and Anemones, Purple Robe and Anemones and Vase of Anemones.

Anemones are often depicted in images of the Crucifixion or alongside the Virgin Mary as she mourns the death of Christ. It is said that the red anemones that are included in these paintings symbolize the blood that Christ shed.


Anemone Facts

  • There are over 120 species of anemone flowers which are grouped into three types: spring flowering, tuberous Mediterranean, and larger fall flowering types.
  • The most popular anemone species is the Japanese anemone which blooms in autumn.
  • The most common anemone flower color is white.
  • The numerology for the anemone flowers is 8.
  • As a cut flower, anemones only last 2-3 days.

Anemone Uses

  • Although toxic, Anemone nemorosa is a species that is used to treat cramps and menstrual complications.
  • The European wood anemone is used to treat gout, nausea and stomach problems.
  • Although anemones only last 2-3 days as a cut flower, they are one of the most popular flowers to be used in wedding arrangements including centerpieces and bouquets.


Sources:  |  |  |  |  |  Signs and Symbols in Christian Art by George Ferguson