A dangerous flower, Rhododendron’s reputation precedes them. The Victorians labeled it as “beware” which is quite fitting, as the rhododendron is poisonous. The rhododendron is seen as a sign of caution, weariness and warning. It is seen as a warning sign, and harbinger of adversity to come. However, different cultures and traditions attach different meanings to the Rhododendron flower. Some see it as a sign of elegance, wealth, passion and abundance while others see it as a death threat.
Floriography is the study of flowers and their meanings. Popular in the Victorian times, flowers were meant to symbolize a great deal of different emotions and served as a means of expression. And although some of the more popular associations have endured over time, such as the rose and its connection to love, others are not as well known. But flowers can represent so much, from longing to affection, devotion, remembrance and grief. The colors and the shape of flowers lend to their meaning, but cultures adapt these flowers and their meanings differently. Some cultures may view a certain flower as negative, while others see it as a sign of love. And in different contexts and cultures, the colors of the flower also take on different meanings. And while some flowers are very literal in their associations, others have a more layered meaning. The most popular usage though, is in Victorian times where flowers served as a form of hidden communication. Flowers and floral arrangements served a distinct purpose: to communicate feelings that could not always be spoken out loud, especially when it came to courtships and romance. Where people felt unable to express themselves, flowers took on that power for them.