To look at an iris is to see a flower that has sparked the imagination of poets, storytellers and gardeners around the globe for centuries. Noble and majestic, it has long been associated with kings and royalty. Today, delicate "flags" and "junos" are relied on to create stunning spring-themed floral arrangements.
Yet, many consumers fail to see the majesty of the iris, calling them dull or uninspiring. However, if you look at them from a new perspective, you cannot help but see the stunning and even hidden beauty within these flowers. Able to stand on their own, they are also compatible with a diversity of blooms. And as fascinating as they are to look at, they also have many interesting stories related to them, too.
Interesting Stories About the Iris Flower
One of the most enchanting stories of the origin of the iris is this: One day, a heavy rain poured down, and when it ended a brilliant rainbow appeared in the sky. It did not fade or vanish as most rainbows do, but instead it shattered into thousands of glittering pieces raining down on the world below. Wherever the pieces landed, otherworldly flowers sprang up. Delicately scented and elegantly designed, they soon became known as the iris.
Another tale, this one from Ancient Greece, explains how Hippocrates chose to name the flower after the messenger of the Greek gods, who was known to travel along the rainbow.
Of course, the many stories of the iris do not look only at its origins. For instance, there are stories of entire cities choosing the iris as the official symbol. Florence, that Renaissance gem, was once set in the midst of vast iris fields. So beautiful was this setting, that the city has taken the iris as its symbol. In Japan, the iris is noted as symbolizing honor, bravery and courage while also protecting against evil influences. Boys experiencing a coming of age ceremony used irises to make charms worn to symbolize their spirited courage. In France, the kings of the 12th century opted to have the iris on their coat of arms, with many believing that the "heraldic lily" is an iris.
And we cannot discuss any stories or tales of the iris without also mentioning its appearance in world-famous works of art. Painters like Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet were deeply inspired by the delicate beauty of the iris and chose it as their subject repeatedly. Poet Alexander Blok used it as a theme and symbol in his work, too.
All of this makes it easy to understand why people readily present the iris as a token of respect, recognition or friendly sympathy. Yet, there are certain nuances to selecting them for a bouquet or gift.
When Is It Okay to Present Irises?
The symbolism of flowers is long, storied and complex. Where irises are concerned, there are some standard guidelines. Blue irises commonly appear in arrangements given to men. Seen as reserved, but festive, they are ideal when wishing someone professional luck and success. For instance, a friend or colleague is the ideal recipient of an arrangement of blue irises.
Are they suited to a bridal arrangement? You don't often see them in bridal bouquets or wedding tables. Instead, house warming parties and other similar events are more appropriate. In fact, International Women's Day is a good day for gifting someone irises.
Combining them with other flowers, and contrasting their hues, can be very impactful. Bright blue and pale-lilac irises are an ideal match for bold red tulips. This is the perfect arrangement for a wife, mother, daughter, or girlfriend, but is also a fine gift for any occasion.
Combinations of roses, lilies and irises are particularly romantic and delicate, with the old-fashioned beauty of the flowers sure to warm the heart of the recipient. If your goal is to wish someone happiness and success, particularly a spouse or significant other, gerbera daisies and irises are a classic combination.
More formal events call for stricter flowers such as irises accented by luxurious calla lilies. This is a perfect blend for someone to whom you wish to show respect or solemnity of intention.
And when it comes to the colors of irises? There are also meanings to be gleaned there, too. The blue hues are seen to indicate hope, sincerity or trust. Orange and yellow hues represent joy, while the pink hues indicate warmth of feeling.
Expressive and unique, irises are a wonderful choice for those who want to impress friends, colleagues or loved ones with the gift of beauty and delicacy