The Symbolism of Chamomile Flowers

Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is one of the most commonly known herbal remedies around the world. Yet many people do not realize it is not just an herb, but actually, a cheerful-looking flower that is similar to a miniature daisy. It is widely used in bouquets, both for its sunny appearance and its unique fragrance. Here, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Chamomile flower meaning and symbolism. 

Chamomile Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Chamomile Flower Flower Meaning – The Essentials

Chamomile flowers carry the symbolic meaning of rest, peace, poise, and calmness. The flower is also a sign of renewal and rebirth in many cultures due to its ability to bloom for long periods and resist wear from foot traffic.

Etymological Meaning

The name chamomile is a French variation of the Greek words for “earth/close to the ground” and “apple.” It was derived from the appearance of the large round centers of the flowers, which are somewhat apple-like, and the flower’s sweet scent.

Chamomile Flower Meaning & Symbolism

Chamomile Flower Meaning & Symbolism

The humble Chamomile does more than make a good cup of tea. It’s also full of symbolism that has been used by artists throughout the centuries.

Common Chamomile Flower Colors

Most Chamomile varieties feature white-petaled flowers, but the yellow color of the center also contributes to its symbolism. Some types also feature yellow petals to match. White is the color of innocence, purity, and rebirth. 

It’s commonly used to symbolize a fresh start or moving forward from a period of grief. Yellow means happiness, warmth, and joy. As the color of the sun, it helps link Chamomile symbolically to the sun’s rising each morning.

The Cultural Significance of Chamomile Flowers

The Cultural Significance of Chamomile Flowers

Camomille Flowers in Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians were among the first to cultivate the plant and use it as a herbal remedy. They believed it cured a severe condition that is now understood to be a form of malaria. However, Chamomile isn’t an effective treatment for it. 

Nonetheless, the flower developed a strong meaning of healing, good health, and the power of the sun. Residues of chamomile flowers have been recovered from the tombs of many vital officials from varying eras of Egypt’s history.

European Relaxation Lore

In its native range in Western Europe, the German variety of Chamomile developed the meaning that it is most commonly associated with today. 

Europeans using the herb as a cure-all for many different diseases realized its primary effect was for relaxation and calming. Today, it is most commonly used still as a sleep-inducing tea at bedtime. 

Beyond use as a herbal remedy, many people see Chamomile as a symbol of calmness, peace, and even healing.

Russia’s National Flower

Russia’s National Flower

In 1998, Russia declared that Chamomile, precisely the Roman variety, was the country’s native flower. The flower plays a vital role in Russia’s folklore and cultural history, most importantly as a mythical heal-all herb. It’s considered a symbol of the power of the sun. 

It’s also used in Russia as a form of love-related fortune-telling. The practice of plucking petals while saying, “He/she loves me, he/she loves me not,” arose from this tradition. 

The flower is still widely grown in the small gardens known as dacha as a sign of the resilience of the Russian people.

A Symbol of Renewal in Shakespeare

Unlike most other flowering plants, Chamomile is tough enough to resist being stepped on regularly. This is why it has been used for lawns, meadows, and pathways since the early Medieval era. 

Even in Shakespeare’s time, Chamomile was well known for withstanding foot traffic. That’s why he used it as a symbol of resilience and renewal in Act 2 of Henry IV. Its ability to regrow continuously is contrasted against youth, which fades with time and wear and does not return.

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Chamomile Flowers

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Chamomile Flowers

Dried Chamomile flowers are a common gift when someone is stressed or has trouble sleeping. But aside from a gift of tea, fresh Chamomile blooms are great for sending a message of support and calm to someone going through a hard time. Even something positive but challenging, like a new career or new baby, is a great occasion to mark with a Chamomile bouquet.

Wrap Up

It might be available in every grocery store in dried form, but Chamomile deserves to be appreciated as more than a calming tea. The fresh flowers are full of beauty and fragrance. They are among some of the most delicate and attractive daisy-like flowers for a bouquet. Even dried on the stem, they can add both fragrance and beauty to any arrangement.

Editorial Director | andrew@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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