Many people are more familiar with the iconic shape of the Acacia tree rather than its beautiful blooms. Acacia is a popular addition to hot and arid areas around the globe as part of xeriscaping designs. However, this desert tree sports eye-catching sprays of blossoms that also carry their own meaningful message. Here, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Acacia flower meaning and symbolism.
Acacia Flower Meaning – The Essentials
Acacia’s primary meaning is strength, rebirth, and eternal life. It is mentioned in both the Torah and the Bible as the wood used for building the Tabernacle. It is also important in the Buddhist tradition as a symbol of compassion for all living things.
The Acacia genus has a literal meaning that traces back to the ancient Greek name for the tree. The Greeks named it Akakia, which meant “thorny tree from Egypt”. Since they first encountered it in Egypt as a source of perfume, the name made sense.
Another common name for the plant, wattle, refers to its common use as a type of fencing due to its thorns. Shorter-growing Acacia grows thick enough to keep wildlife out and livestock in.
Acacia Flower Meaning & Symbolism
Common Acacia Flower Colors and Their Meanings
Acacia is a large genus with over a hundred different species, yet most of the flowers are one of three colors. Yet the exact color of the bloom does add a secondary meaning that is important to understand for a bouquet or gift.
- White: Symbolizes virtue, strength, innocence, purity, and grief.
- Yellow: Symbolizes warmth, power, growth, joy, good health, and fun.
- Gold: Symbolizes wealth, success, dignity, royalty, power, and respect.
- Pink: Symbolizes joyfulness, platonic or developing love, romantic feelings, gentleness, and youth.
The Cultural Significance of Acacia Flowers
Acacia Flowers in Ancient Greek and Egyptian Mythology
The Egyptians were the first to use Acacia flowers and the resin of the tree, primarily as medicine and for perfume purposes. They introduced the tree to the Greeks, who gave it the name we still use for it today.
In Egyptian mythology, the flower was associated with the goddess Nut. She was believed to be the sky that stretched over the earth to protect it and all life on it. Since the Acacia tree had an umbrella-like shape that offered shelter, it was naturally linked to such a symbol.
The acacia tree enclosed Osiris after his death, keeping him safe until he was restored and reborn. The Greeks assigned the acacia similar meanings, with an acacia at Heliopolis known as the Tree of Life and Death.
Judaism and Acacia Wood
While the Acacia flower isn’t mentioned in the Torah, the tree’s wood is important. The Tabernacle in the Desert was built using the tree’s wood since it was one of the only sources of building materials in the desert. It remains a potent symbol of blessings among scarcity and dedication to achieving a goal.
The trees also had to be planted to grow in time for the building, symbolizing regrowth and foresight.
Acacia Flowers in the Victorian Flower Language
Many decorative Acacia trees had spread to Europe by the Victorian era. This meant that the cheerful yellow blooms of these varieties earned a place in the flower language of the time.
For the Victorians, Acacia flowers symbolized sophistication and wit. It could also be sent to symbolize a strong friendship with someone and an appreciation for their support. Depending on the flowers combined, it was also possible to send a message of secret love for someone, especially with white and pink varieties.
Acacia Flowers in Nepal and Tibetan Buddhism
Acacias native to the Himalayas and China became popular for use in multiple ways in religious rituals. The wood was commonly chosen for carving Buddhist statues due to its fine grain and fragrance. The gum Arabic resin still used today as a food additive was first seen as an incense ingredient for Buddhists.
The tree and its flowers symbolize Tara, the female bodhisattva known as the “Mother of Liberation.” It’s often meditated on to focus on the traits of kindness and compassion.
Freemasonry and Modern Fraternities
On a more modern front, the Freemasons have also adopted the Acacia shrub and its flowers as symbols. The Freemasons follow the Egyptian tradition of using the plant as a symbol of eternal life and rebirth. There is even a Freemason fraternity called Acacia, one of the only Greek houses to use a word rather than Greek symbols.
Suitable Gifting Occasions for Acacia Flowers
Florists do not widely use these flowers, but they are sometimes available to make a statement in winter bouquets. They can make exciting wedding arrangements since they convey rebirth and secret love. However, they’re more commonly used to send a message of support to struggling friends. Try including them in a grief or get-well-soon bouquet, especially in white.
Acacia Flower FAQs:
What does Acacia symbolize?
Acacia is a potent symbol of rebirth and eternal life. It’s also a good way to signal friendship and support to someone.
What colors are acacia flowers?
The flowers of Acacia trees and shrubs tend to be yellow, gold, white, or pink only.
What do acacia flowers smell like?
Most acacia species have a honey or white floral scent.
Are acacia flowers poisonous to humans and pets?
Some species are edible, but others are poisonous or irritating. Check the individual species to determine if it is a good choice or not to plant around pets and children.
Acacia flowers are delicate, unique, and sweet-smelling. Consider making more use of them in your bouquets and floral arrangements.