February Birth Month Flowers: Violet, Iris, and Primrose

In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about February’s Official Birth Month Flowers – the Violet, Iris, and Primrose. Learn about their meaning and symbolism in the language of flowers, as well as their cultural significance around the world today.

February Birth Month Flowers_ Violet, Iris, and Primrose

February Birth Flowers: Violet, Iris, and Primrose

While most of us immediately relate red roses with the Month of Love, they aren’t actually the February birth flowers. These are, in fact, violets, irises, and primroses. 

Violet – February Birth Flower

Purple violet flowers in bloom
Wild Violet Flowers

Although not as widely popular as roses, violets are impressive flowering plants in their own way. It was named violet or viola in Latin to reference the flowers’ traditional violet-colored petals. But do you know these fragrant and delicate February birth flowers bloom in white, yellow, cream, and blue?  

Violets hold a rich history and many different symbolic meanings. According to a myth, St. Valentine crushed violet flowers to make ink and write notes to his friends during his banishment. A violet flower was also used to make the love potion in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Ancient Greeks also used violet flowers in love potions. Because of this, violets symbolize romance, fertility, and love. The sweet-scented violets also represent truth, loyalty, modesty, spiritual wisdom, and humility. 

Violet flowers symbolize faithful love, while white violets signify innocence, openness, and simplicity. 

History and Origins of Violet Flowers:

Violets, belonging to the Viola genus, have a rich history dating back to ancient times. The violet family contains around 500 species worldwide, with many concentrated in the temperate Northern Hemisphere.

The ancient Greeks considered the violet a symbol of fertility and love and used it in love potions. The city-state of Athens in ancient times was also known as the ‘City of Violets’ for its abundance of flowers.

In the language of flowers developed during the Victorian era, the violet, particularly the purple violet, symbolized modesty and faithfulness.

The Romans also cultivated violets, particularly for wine and festive occasions. Legend has it that Napoleon Bonaparte loved violets and used the flower as his symbol. When exiled to Elba, he famously said he would return with the violets in spring; upon his return to Paris, supporters wore violets to show their allegiance to him.

Violets also hold a special place in Christianity, particularly in Roman Catholicism, where they have been associated with humility and the Virgin Mary.

In the United States, the violet was chosen by schoolchildren as the state flower of Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. In the United Kingdom, the sweet violet (Viola odorata) is considered a symbol of constancy.

Today, violets are treasured for their beautiful blooms (which range from blue and purple to white, yellow, and even green in some species) and for the sweet, distinctive fragrance of some species. They continue to be a popular choice in gardens and for floral gifts.

Iris – February Birth Flower

A field of purple iris flowers blooming in the wild
Wild Iris Flowers

The elegant Iris flower is one of February’s birthday flowers, which seems appropriate since it is also the symbolic flower of the Greek goddess and messenger of love, Iris.

This famed ornamental blooms in several colors: blue, purple, yellow, white, orange, red, pink, brown, and black. Irises generally symbolize hope, eloquence, faith, communication, and wisdom. 

Iris flowers symbolize wisdom and compliments, while blue irises represent hope and faith. The yellow ones, on the other hand, are a symbol of passion. And much like white flowers, white iris flowers signify purity and innocence. 

History and Origins of Iris Flowers:

The iris flower’s history is long, stretching back to Ancient Egyptian times. The flower was believed to be named after the Greek goddess Iris, who was considered the link between heaven and earth. The goddess Iris personified the rainbow, and the flower’s wide range of colors likely contributed to its naming.

Iris motifs have been found in Egyptian palaces and on the Sphinx. The Egyptians often planted iris flowers on graves, believing the flower could guide their loved ones on their journey to the afterlife.

The flower also has profound significance in French history. The fleur-de-lis, a stylized iris, was used as a symbol of the French royal family for centuries, and it is still a symbol associated with the city of New Orleans in the United States.

Iris flowers are also known for their medicinal properties. Orris root, made from the dried rhizome of the iris, is used in medicine, perfumery, and potpourri for its sweet, violet-like scent.

Today, irises are a favorite in gardens and landscapes due to their unique, attractive flowers, and they are celebrated annually at iris festivals worldwide. They are also a popular choice for floral arrangements and bouquets.

Primrose – February Birth Flower

Purple primrose flowers in bloom
Pink Primrose Birthday Flowers

Primroses are perennial plants from the Primulaceae family. The early-flowering primroses produce colorful blooms in white, yellow, red, and brown hues. 

The origins of primrose, being one of the February birth flowers, can be tracked down in Norse mythology. Primrose is the sacred flower of the Norse goddess of love, Freya.

Primrose flowers symbolize modesty, young love, and undying affection. In particular, lilac primroses represent confidence, and red primroses signify unappreciated merit. 

History and Origins of Primrose Flowers:

The plant’s name derives from the Latin “prima rosa,” which means “first rose”. While not actually related to roses, this name is a testament to the primrose’s reputation as one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring.

The history of primroses in cultivation goes back many centuries. They were grown in the monastic gardens of medieval times and were well known to Shakespeare, who mentioned them in his plays. The plant is native to temperate northern climates, including regions in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Primroses also feature in folklore and traditional beliefs. In Celtic mythology, for example, primroses were considered fairy flowers. They were thought to allow children to see fairies, and it was believed that if you ate primrose, you could see a fairy. On the darker side, bringing the flowers inside a home was considered ill luck because it was believed to offend the fairies.

Today, primroses are beloved garden plants that brighten up the landscape with their vibrant and varied colors. They are often used in rock gardens, border plantings, and as ground cover in woodland gardens. They are appreciated for their hardiness and the splash of color they provide early in the year when other plants have yet to bloom.

What are the Origins of Birth Month Flowers?

The tradition of birth flowers is thought to have originated in ancient Rome, where flowers were given as gifts to celebrate birthdays and other special events. Each month was associated with a particular flower, believed to hold specific characteristics or powers that would be imparted to people born in that month.

The specific flowers associated with each month have varied throughout history and between cultures. For example, some cultures in the Middle Ages used the symbolic language of flowers, called floriography, to communicate coded messages based on the type and color of the flower given. This practice continued into the Victorian era when the language of flowers became extremely popular and complex.

Like many traditions, the current list of birth month flowers that we use today has been influenced by various historical and cultural factors. It’s similar to birthstones, where each month is associated with a specific gemstone.

For more, see our in-depth guide to the Official Birth Month Flowers.

The Official Birth Flower Calendar:

Month:Birth Flower:Meanings & Symbolism:
January:Carnations & SnowdropPink Carnations (love and appreciation), White Carnations (luck, love, and affection, Red Carnations (love and friendship). Snowdrop (hope and rebirth).
February:Violet, Iris, and PrimroseViolets (faithful love, truth, loyalty, humility), Iris (hope, faith, passion, purity, and innocence), Primrose (affection, young love, undying affection)
March:DaffodilsDaffodils (new beginnings, faithfulness, luck, prosperity, and hope)
April:Daisy & Sweet PeaDaisy (purity, love, new beginnings, fertility, and motherhood). Sweet Pea (blissful pleasure, gratitude).
May:Lily of the Valley & HawthornLily of the Valley (romance, luck, happiness, purity, humility). Hawthorn (hope, love, beauty, fertility, and supreme happiness).
June:Roses & HoneysuckleRoses (love, passion, romance, purity, gratitude). Honeysuckle (happiness and eternal love).
July:Larkspur & Water LilyLarkspur (happiness, love); Water Lily (enlightenment, resurrection, purity, beauty, creation).
August:Gladiolus & PoppyGladiolus (integrity, honor, respect); Poppy (remembrance, prosperity, enchantment, sympathy).
September:Aster & Morning GloryAster (faith, love, achievement, and wisdom); Morning Glory (affection, intimate love, patience).
October:Marigolds & CosmosMarigolds (devotion, commitment); Cosmos (harmony, love, innocence, beauty, modesty, joy, and balance). 
November:Chrysanthemum & PeoniesChrysanthemum (friendship, love); Peonies (romance, prosperity, good fortune, honor, and compassion)
December:Narcissus, Poinsettia, and Holly,Narcissus (innocence and purity); Poinsettia (success, celebration); Holly (happiness and optimism).

Wrapping Up

February birth flowers celebrate the elegance of the Violet and Iris, and the vibrant charm of the Primrose as its birth flowers. Violets, with their deep hues and associations with modesty, spiritual wisdom, and faithfulness, offer a rich symbol of deep love and happiness. On the other hand, Primroses, often seen as the heralds of spring, carry a message of renewal, youth, and undying love, conveying the belief that love can overcome all obstacles. The Iris is the symbolic flower of the Greek goddess and messenger of love, Iris.

For more, see our guide to the best birthday messages and quotes to share with friends, family, and loved ones.

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