Although the Bearded and Siberian variety of iris are among the most popular, there are between 200 to 300 species of this resplendent bloom. The iris flower can be translated into the Greek word for rainbow. This flower’s Goddess namesake was considered the embodiment of a rainbow – a colorful connection between the heavens and earth. Many people feel that the Goddess and flower share their name due to the vast array of hues that they shared. The iris flower can range in color from a crisp white to a rich burgundy. These ornamental flowers – which blossom from long, firm stems that may be either flat or lightly branched – are also considered to be very hearty, and can grow in a variety of landscapes and temperatures.
The history of the iris flower seems to go very far back. In addition to being the personification of color, the Greek Goddess Iris was also thought to be the messenger of love. The flowers themselves have since served as one of the many symbols of this particular emotion. These flowers have also found their way into a variety of art and architecture. For example, they have been carved into stones in Egypt; in 1987 Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Irises’ set a record by becoming one of the most sought after and expensive paintings ever sold. As well as creating an artistic flair, the iris flower is connected with everything from the French monarchy – as well as being the emblem for New Orleans – by way of the Fleur-de-lis, to folk remedies, to cosmetics and even enhancing the flavor of wines. In small doses this flower is said to help cure glandular problems, skin discoloration, and some chronic diseases. It has also long been used to create perfumes, linens sprays and skin creams.
As with any of the more colorful variety of flowers, each hue of the iris bloom has its own particular meaning. When giving these flowers as a gift, it is always nice to know what message you may be conveying. Unlike roses or similar flowers, yellow irises are considered a sign of passion; a blue or purple iris can denote royalty and wisdom; white, purity and kindness. These flowers are also great gifts for those who were born in February, or those who are celebrating a 25th wedding anniversary as these are a symbol for both occasions. Since presentation is very important, it is good to know that these beautiful yet tough flowers can either be clipped and presented in a fresh bouquet, or given as potted plant that can be kept for years to come.