Friendship is one of the most important experiences humans can have in this lifetime.
It is so powerful that it crosses the lines of other types of relationships. We become friends with our spouses, with our children, with our coworkers, and with complete strangers.
Our closest family members become our friends, and it is friendship that gets us through difficult times. It is no wonder then that we have an abundance of symbols for the critical nature of these life bonds.
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Plants and Flowers and Their Meaning Throughout History
Humans and our connections to plants are perhaps the tightest bonds in history. Before we learned to hunt, before we began to eat meat, and indeed when we have not been able to find meat for consumption, we have relied on plants. We have gathered for a much larger portion of history than we have hunted.
From the earliest times, humans learned which plants would kill us, which would heal us, and which would save us. In the earliest medicine traditions like ayurveda, certain plants were “warming” while others were “cooling.” Plants allowed us to live longer and to celebrate the lives we have.
Why Some Plants and Flowers Symbolize Friendship
For the above reasons and more, humans have created symbolism around plants and flowers, and of course, friendship, as one of the most powerful parts of human life, holds great power in plant symbolism as well.
Our friends are the ones who stick with us in difficult times; they are the ones who advise us when we struggle, who forgive us when we fail, and who catch us when we fall, so that we don’t fall too far.
Abundant studies have shown that life without friends is no life at all. A life spent alone leads to depression and even suicide.
Once a person realizes the magnitude of meaning around what it means to have friends in our lives, it becomes natural to find ways to represent that meaning. Flowers and plants are an obvious way to express the power of friendship, and there exist so many wonderful, sweet, sunny, cheerful flowers that become clear representations of that power.
In general, we look to flowers that endure hardship and thrive anyway, flowers in the color yellow, a classic color of cheerful happiness, and flowers that follow the sun, like friends follow each other in loyalty.
Five Plants and Flowers that Symbolize Friendship
It is no surprise that the sunflower is the ultimate friendship flower. Hardy, tall, proud, and easy to grow pretty much anywhere, the sunflower just gives and gives.
It also follows the sun, shifting throughout the day to face its greatest love. You can find sunflowers on the sides of highways, in gardens, in fields, and growing along fence lines across the United States, and they just make you feel warm and comforted.
The sunflower is the symbol of abiding love and friendship and is an excellent gift for a close friend to show them how much you care – especially if you can give the seeds or seedlings to plant, you can plant those seedlings together, and the bond will hold for many years to come.
The daffodil is another springtime flower that follows the sun. Usually in a bright and sunny yellow, they are like mini versions of tulips, with a slightly more delicate appearance.
Originally the symbol of narcissism, thanks to the Greek myth about Narcissus, the one who could not stop looking at himself in the water, the daffodil has instead come to represent unending loyalty to our friends.
Indeed, because they grow in fields, packed tightly together, this lovely flower stands for the bonds of solidarity formed in a friend group, and as a perennial, we can trust this bond to show up over and over, every time we are in need.
We can’t talk about friendship without talking about the yellow rose. Roses are a longstanding representation of love, and we typically separate them by color.
Red, of course, means passionate love. Black means remembrance for a departed loved one. And yellow means the lasting love of friendship.
When in doubt, you can give your best friend yellow roses and trust that the message has been received. Indeed, if someone is in love with you, and you hope to rebuff them in a kind and gentle way, you can give yellow roses to express platonic love only.
The perfect love flower, tulips in many eastern cultures can represent passionate love. However here in the United States they have come to represent the perfect love of friendship.
Of course, with the easy to grow and easy-to-care-for tulip, it can be any kind of relationship that also includes love. You can give the tulip to your spouse, your child, your sibling, or your best friend.
In each situation, you are showing that you find this relationship to be one of perfect friendship, among other things.
Zinnias are a bold, expressive flower. While they do not carry the deep passion between lovers, they certainly do express depth of emotion.
When you look into this wide-open flower with its shifting colors and often variegated leaves, many feel moved. For this reason, the zinnia is a flower representative of deep emotions in friendship.
Give the zinnia to a friend if you want to show gratitude for them or use it as a profound way to express how deeply you care.
This list is only the beginning. There are many flowers that can represent friendship on many levels, and flowers, of course, are always a lovely way to show you care.
What about you? Do you have any flowers you think of when you think of friendship? Which ones are they? And do you have different flowers for different kinds of friendship? Let me know in the comments. I love to hear from my readers.