February – the shortest month of the year and home to both Valentine’s Day and the infamous Leap Day. With so many unique qualities, February is a very special birth month.
Although one might expect the rose to be the official birth flower for February because of Valentine’s Day, February birthdays are celebrated with Violets and Primrose. These delightful birth month flowers are tenacious and colorful – just like people lucky enough to celebrate their birthday in February.
Violets might not be as popular as roses – although they have both been made famous by the poem “roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you” – but these February flowers are remarkable in their own unique way.
Coming from the Latin word “viola,” the name violet refers to this flower’s violet-hued petals. However, these winter beauties can come in diverse shades ranging from white to cream to blue or even yellow. They grow wild in temperate climates and produce five petals, one of which usually has a differently shaded vein.
Their bright blossoms produce a delicate but intoxicating fragrance and easy-to-recognize heart-shaped petals, crushed-up violets have been used in love potions since the time of the ancient Greeks. It was also violet blossoms used for the love potion in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream.
Useful for more than love potions, the ancient Greeks also used these small hearty perennials to make their wine extra sweet and for other medicinal purposes.
It is also rumored that this February flower was used by St. Valentine to make ink and write notes to his friends and loved ones when he was banished during Roman times.
What Do Violets Symbolize?
Here’s what to know about violet symbolism:
With violet’s strong history and association with love potions dating back to the time of the ancient Greeks, violets have long symbolized romance, fertility, and love.
However, during the Victorian age, gifting violets was a symbol to always be true. This meaning still stands true today as these February blossoms remind us to be loyal, dependable, and thoughtful for our loved ones. It is from this era that the term “shrinking violet”, meaning to be modest or even humble, originates and serves as a reminder of self-effacing beauty.
The meaning of violets changes depending on their hue – when they are purple, they exemplify faithful love. If their enchanting blossoms are white, they exemplify simplicity, openness, and virtue.
In more modern times, these delightful birth flowers have come to represent humility and modesty, as well as truth and spiritual wisdom.
You might be surprised to learn that primroses (Primula vulgaris) are not members of the Rosaceae family; rather they are short-lived perennials from the Primulaceae family. Their unexpected name comes from “primus” which means “first” or “early” and “rosa” meaning “rose” in Latin. Vulgaris means common or widespread.
However, the origins of the primrose can be traced back to Norse mythology, where it was believed that the primrose was the sacred flower of Freya, the Norse goddess of love.
Native to southwest Asia, western Europe, and Africa, this lovely birth flower is most commonly yellow-blossomed but can be any color except green. Their trademark yellow center is framed by five petals that lay atop stalked leaves. The whole blossom is edible.
With just a little bit of care, these February beauties will multiply each year to bring even more joy as the winter comes to an end.
What Do Primroses Symbolize?
Here’s what to know about primrose symbolism:
Being so regenerative, the birth flower primrose embodies women’s femininity and fertility that ushers in birth, new beginnings, and birth. Fresh starts also provide an opportunity for honesty, innocence, and humility – all qualities that ultimately lead to wisdom.
Since Victorian times, primroses have also been used for new love as a way to tell someone that “I can’t live without you.” This love can be so strong that it leads to undying affection.
However, a primroses’ color can affect the symbolism where purple primroses signify confidence and red primroses represent unacknowledged merit. Perhaps this is the reason why these blossoms also embody humbleness.