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Floriography: The Secret Meaning of Flowers

In the Victorian era a brilliant bouquet of flowers meant so much more than it does today. Loaded with meaning every single flower has its own story to tell. With symbolism in every petal every flower in a brilliant arrangement is loaded with symbolism of a feeling. These feelings can be shared in an even more intimate way through perfume, where a single drop of precious perfume can contain up to 170 flower heads to shower a recipient with the meaning behind the flower.


In the Victorian era, flowers were primarily used to deliver messages that couldn’t be spoken aloud. Allowing questions and sentiments to be uttered without saying a word, in a time when affections and display of emotions was frowned upon. Flowers could be used to answer “yes” or “no” questions. A “yes” answer came in the form of flowers being handed over with the right hand; if the left hand was used, the answer was “no.”


By combining different flowers and herbs into a bouquet you could convey a multitude of different emotions, each new flower adding an additional depth to the message. Everything from “I miss you” to “I love you” or even “be careful” could be conveyed through a clever floral arrangement.


Explore the most elaborate meanings of flowers through a Clive Christian perfume;


A flower that is at the very heart of the Clive Christian story, orange blossom is symbolic of pure, true love. This gentle flower with its delicate aroma become the signature scent for Queen Victoria, patron of the Crown Perfumery Company. The use of this scent by the perfume house’s founder William Spark Thomson in Queen Victoria’s corsets and perfumes made by the Crown Perfumery is what resulted in the gift of her crown in 1872 to adorn every bottle top. Clive Christian paid tribute to this story with limited edition launches Mandarin and Neroli in 2020.


Discover the versatile use of different citrus blooms in Clive Christian 1872 Masculine & 1872 Feminine Edition Perfumes.



A symbol of preference, the gift of apple blossom was a simple way to say “I like you”; combined with other flowers and herbs to create a deeper meaning and sentiments from its trailing boughs.


Discover Apple Blossom in Clive Christian’s Crown Collection Crab Apple Blossom.


The queen of florals, roses different colours and types even have different meanings. A pink is symbolic of happiness, such as the damask rose and rose de mai used by Clive Christian. Whereas white roses represent purity, innocence, and loyalty; making them the perfect type of flower to adorn a wedding ceremony. Roses are also symbolic of friendship and angels so would have been used in bouquets to new mothers and friends.


Discover Rose in Clive Christian 1872 Feminine and No1 Feminine Edition Perfume.



Symbolic of grace and elegance in some yellow varieties, attachment in the Indian variety; jasmine can also be linked to joy and sensuality. A white floral which can be create creamy notes, heady tones or even a green fresh style depending on the blend, jasmine is as versatile in perfumery as it is in the language of flowers.


Discover Jasmine in Clive Christian’s X Perfumes and Crown Collection Matsukita.


Symbolic of dangerous love and pleasure, the sultry and alluring scent of tuberose would only have been gifted by the boldest rogue in Victorian England. Known as the “fragrance of night” – due its intoxicating aroma – tuberose is the ultimate symbol of lust and indulgence.


Discover Tuberose in The Addictive Arts Jump Up and Kiss Me Ecstatic perfume.



The elaborate iris is a beautiful flower of vibrant colours. Symbolising wisdom, trust and hope, this elegant flower embodies noble and virtuous intentions. This flower creates powdery and soft notes in fragrances from rich orris butter, created through one of the most difficult extraction processes in perfumery.


Discover Iris in Clive Christian’s Private Collection L Floral Chypre and No1 Feminine Edition.


A meaning of nobility and dignity seems most appropriate for the majestic magnolia flower, the herald of spring. With tis soft delicate petals and essence of nobility it is no surprise it can be found in Clive Christian perfumes.


Discover Magnolia in the Clive Christian Noble Collection VIII Rococo Magnolia



The Mediterranean shrub plant was made popular in English gardens as far back as the Queen Anne period. This delicate flower represents popular favour and strength, a suitable hero ingredient in some of our most loved perfumes.


Discover Rock Rose in The Addictive Arts Jump Up and kiss Me Hedonistic and Noble Collection VII Queen Anne Rock Rose.