The Story Behind the Pincushion Flower: What Does It Symbolize?

Pincushion flowers have cute, button-shaped blossoms that range in size and color. Thanks to their copious and prominent stamens, pincushion flowers look like round pincushions full of sewing pins. These flowers make beautiful additions to any garden or bouquet. This guide will cover everything you need about the Pincushion flower’s meaning, symbolism, and cultural significance today. 

Pincushion Flower Meaning in the Language of Flowers

Pincushion Flower Meaning – Key Takeaways

Pincushion flowers (Scabiosa) symbolize love, peace, and purity. They’re also associated with pure love. Historically, in the Victorian Flower Language, however, pincushion flowers symbolized unfortunate love, and dark burgundy pincushions represent widowhood and mourning.

Etymological Meaning

Flowers of the Scabiosa genus are most commonly referred to as pincushion flowers or pincushions, and this is in reference to the pincushion-like appearance of their flower blossoms.

The genus name Scabiosa is Latin for “rough” or “scabby.” This name and the second-most used common name, “scabious,” are thought to come from the historical practice of using flowers as a folk medicine to treat scabies, a parasitic skin infection that leads to the formation of a rash and itchy scabs.

Pincushion Flower Color Meaning

The Meaning and Symbolism of Pincushion Flowers

Generally, all kinds of pincushion flowers symbolize love, peace, and purity. Like all flowers, however, individual flower colors can also add additional symbolic meanings to flowers. You can always take the general symbolic meaning, but these colors lend the following symbolic meanings to flowers, too.

The National Flower of Mongolia

Mongolia’s national flower of pride is the Scabiosa comosa or “Ber Tseseg.” This particular species of pincushion flower is native to parts of Mongolia, blooms there throughout the summer, and comes in shades that range from light lavender to blue.

In Mongolia, the flower symbolizes tolerance and is commonly used to adorn silver plates on horse-riding saddles.

Scabiosa in Hanakotoba and Floriography

A Flower of Love and Loss – Scabiosa in Hanakotoba and the Victorian Language of Flowers

Pincushion flowers generally symbolize pure love, purity, and peace.

They do, however, also have some more negative and sad symbolic connotations. In hanakotoba, for example, they mean “I have lost all.” In the Victorian language of flowers, pincushion flowers represent unfortunate love. Plus, the sweet scabious (Scabiosa atropurpurea) – especially in its darker hues – symbolizes mourning and widowhood.

Pincushion Flowers in Famous Artwork

In 1886, Vincent van Gogh painted Still Life With Scabiosa and Ranunculus. This painting features pincushion flowers in burgundy and pink in addition to ranunculus blossoms in red and golden-yellow. The flowers stand against a drab backdrop of muted browns and greens. While many of Van Gogh’s impressionistic paintings made his name famous, this piece is in the style of Realism.

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Pincushion Flowers

Despite some of their darker symbolic meanings, pincushion flowers still represent pure love, peace, and purity. This makes them an excellent choice for any occasion. They are popularly included in various floral arrangements since the blossoms are readily available during most times of the year. Additionally, perennial pincushion flower seeds can make a great gift for anyone in your life who loves to garden.

Pincushion Flower Meaning FAQs:

What Does a Pincushion Flower Symbolize?

Pincushion flowers symbolize love, peace, and purity.

Are Pincushion Flowers Considered Lucky?

Pincushion flowers are not necessarily considered to be lucky flowers. However, they represent love, which could mean they are lucky for love.

Is a Pincushion a Flower of Love?

Since one of their primary symbolic meanings is love, pincushion flowers are considered to be a flower of love.

Do Pincushions Come Back Every Year?

It depends on the species of pincushion flower. Some species are annuals, while other species are perennials that come back each year.

How Long Do Pincushion Flowers Last?

With diligent deadheading throughout the season, pincushion flowers will bloom from summer through early autumn. In a vase, cut pincushion flowers last about a week.

Do Pincushions Bloom More Than Once?

Yes, pincushions can blossom repeatedly throughout the summer and into early fall. However, it is essential to remove spent blooms from the plants to encourage the formation of new blossoms.

Pincushion Flower Meaning – The Final Word

Whether you plant them in your garden to enjoy their blossoms throughout the summer and early autumn or use cut pincushions in your floral arrangements or wedding bouquet, these lovely flowers will surely bring love, joy, warmth, purity, and peace to your life with their fun and attractive blossoms. Just avoid the darker shades of the blooms if you wish to avoid the less positive symbolic meanings associated with pincushion flowers.


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