Freesia Story & Origins
The freesia flower originated in South Africa, and belongs to the Iris family which includes approximately 14 freesia species. This flower got its name when the botanist, Christian P. Ecklon, named the flower after Friedrich H.T. Freese, a fellow botanist, as a commemoration of their friendship. Freesia meanings include friendship, trust, and innocence, among various other meanings.
Due to their delicate fragrance, freesias are one of the most popular flowers in the world. However, they are very difficult to grow in domestic gardens and their petals are extremely delicate. They are popular as cut flowers and are often a florist’s favorite for bouquets and centerpieces.
Freesia flowers are similar to gladioli in that the flowers grow from a central stalk that has sword-shaped leaves. The flowers are funnel-shaped and their stalks can grow up to one foot in height.
Freesia flower meanings generally include: friendship, trust, thoughtfulness and innocence. They are a popular gift for friends and family, as are a popular flower amongst various cultures.
- According to the Victorian language of flowers, the freesia is the ultimate flower of trust.
- In the United States, the freesia is the official flower to commemorate a couple’s seventh wedding anniversary.
- In numerology, freesias signify the number nine, which signifies selflessness and obligation.
- Since the 1950s, freesias have been widely used as wedding flowers because they represent both the purity of the bride as well as the trust between the couple.
Freesia Symbolism & Colors
Due to their popularity, freesias have been widely cross bred. Today there are over 1,400 species of cultivars ranging in color from red, white, and yellow, to purple and pink. Freesias of all colors generally symbolize trust and innocence, but there are several freesia colors that carry specific meanings.
White freesias symbolize purity and innocence. They are one of the most popular wedding flowers because they are symbolic of the purity of the bride as well as the trust between the couple.
Multicolored freesia bouquets symbolize friendship and thoughtfulness. They make great gifts for family, friends, and even co-workers.
Pink freesias symbolize motherly love.
Yellow freesias symbolize joy, renewal, and friendship.
Red freesias symbolize passion.
Freesia Cultural Significance
Robert Henry Forster, a famous English poet, refers to the freesia’s sweet fragrance in his poem “The Greenhouse in Early April.” In the poem, he describes the abundance of colorful blooms in his well-stocked greenhouse just as winter is fading and spring is approaching.
Fragrance the newly opened Freesia sheds
From its white trumpets with the splash of gold;
- Freesia flowers can either be single or double petaled, and grow in a Y-shape.
- Although non-poisonous, the sap from a freesia can cause irritation for people who have sensitive skin.
- The “Ballerina” freesia is named for its shape, which looks like the silhouette of a ballerina dancer.
- Freesia plants are zygomorphic, which means that their flowers only grow on one side of the stalk.
Since freesias are best grown in humid and subtropical climates, they are difficult to grow in domestic gardens in the United States. Thus, they are primarily used as cut flowers and can last at least a week in a vase.
The freesia flower is known for its fragrance, which has many applications and uses. Freesias are widely used in aromatherapy as a means for stress relief. Placing a bouquet of freesias in your home or office can have a significant impact on your mood and reduce your stress levels. Since the fragrance from freesias is so pleasantly sweet, the species Freesia refracta is widely cultivated as a fragrance for use in shampoos, body lotions, and perfumes. In fact, many of the most popular designer perfumes today include the freesia scent to balance out the overall fragrance.
It’s easy to see why the freesia is one of the most popular flowers in the world. Their sweet fragrance and variety of colors make them the perfect gift for showing your friends and family that you are thinking about them.