Interesting Hollyhock Flower Meaning and Symbolism of Each Color

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You might just go “Holy heck!” while reading about these hollyhocks! Did you know that the hollyhock plant is one of the many rare plants with almost black-colored flowers? It is an old fashioned flower that has many different meanings and symbolism.

Although it is true that the Hollyhock comes in a dark color, don’t worry – this flower comes in a variety of colors you’ll love. These beautiful colors are just one reason why garden lovers plant many flowers such as the hollyhock in their garden.

For instance, a beautiful red hollyhock symbolizes a passionate love and white ones symbolize ambition. Other colors such as a pink, purple, and orange hollyhock means beauty, nobility, and reconnection, respectively.

History of Hollyhock Flowers

These flowers have a very rich history behind its beauty. Hollyhocks, scientifically known as Alcea rosea stem from one of the 60 species of the Alcea genus. The genus Alcea comes from the Greek word althea meaning to cure.  It is a part of the Malvaceae or mallow family popularly known for the hibiscus flowers. 

Hollyhocks are either an annual, biennial, or perennial herb – but it is more commonly distinguished as hardy biennials that bloom two years after planting. The flowers are native across the holy land in the Middle East and were introduced to east Asia and in Southern Europe by crusaders returning from their journey.

The plant is considered an invasive species given its hasty proliferation rates. It grows around mountains and hillsides in almost any kind of environment under full sun areas making it a great addition to gardens and yards! 

The word hollyhock was first used in 1584 and is botanically known as an herbaceous, slightly hairy plant with bell shaped flowers. Before the name came about, it was referred to as the Holyoke from the old English word holi in the early 1400s. In the present day, it is now simply called the mallow blossoms.

In fact, Thomas Jefferson was the first to experiment on these floral breeds. One of these include the modern day old barnyard mix of hollyhocks. 

In fact, some scientists made a fascinating discovery in the Shanidar Cave that dates back to the middle ages. Scientists discovered in the cave some Neanderthal artifacts such as remains and prehistoric plants like the hollyhock seeds and hollyhock pollen. That’s just how incredible these flowers truly are!

Hollyhock Bud

Symbolism of the Hollyhock

Oddly enough, hollyhocks are the most typical flowers that symbolize fertility. In fact, it is popular to adorn bouquets for the 13th wedding anniversaries! Ancient times described hollyhocks as powerhouses from a mystical perspective. Cool, right?

According to spiritual medicines, it is awe-inspiring in therapeutic counseling and energy healing. Historical beliefs also consider this blossom as an embodiment of the mitigation of broken or in-war lands. It also aids in realigning a nation’s rich cultural heritage.

The Hollyhock symbolizes many other things as well. It is an icon of fertility most especially representing the circle of life. It represents these because of how it produces many seeds in its round pods. Because of its fruitfulness, some mother groups, fertility brands, and baby clothing enterprises incorporate this flower onto their logos. 

Another famous symbolism for the hollyhock dives into the world of magic, fairies, and the witch’s garden. Many folktales say that the plant’s blooms were used as skirts by the fairies and that the hollyhock seedpods were called fairy cheese because of how it is shaped like a cheese wheel.

There is a fairy recipe that dates back to the 1600s that says to mix hollyhock, marigold, wild thyme, and hazel buds for mortals to be able to see fairies!

Meaning of Hollyhock Blooms

The floral name is believed to derive from the Middle and Old English ages. It was taken from the word holihoc which can translate into two meanings. One can mean marshmallow in the Middle age while the other means holy mallow in Old age English.

During the Victorian era, a hollyhock flower meant fecundity, ambition, and fertility. Here’s the flower language of each color:

What Does a White Hollyhock Flower Mean?

White is the color of purity and innocence. In the language of floras, white hollyhocks epitomize a woman’s pure intentions and wholesome ambitions. Both are a bounty in number and a sure sight of female determination

What Does a Red Hollyhock Flower Symbolize?

The red hollyhock flower meaning is connected to the love of a mother. Red hollyhock flowers embody the devotion to love and passion of a woman to her offspring or significant other. 

What Does a Pink Hollyhock Blossom Represent?

Pink is commonly attributed as a color of the female gender. Pink hollyhocks signifies the strengths and beauty of a woman inside and out. 

What Does a Purple Hollyhock Flower Signify?

Deep violet or purple hollyhock flowers have a very historic meaning. The purple hollyhock flower meaning usually denotes the nobility and integrity of an individual in life or in oneself.

What Does an Orange or Yellow Hollyhock Bloom Mean?

Hollyhocks in hues of yellow or light orange offer a sense of self-recovery and reconnection after stumbling upon struggles and challenges in life. Although a yellow hollyhock flower has a different meaning. 

Yellow hollyhocks are also symbolic of friendship and happiness. Many even say that these yellow hollyhock flowers represent a platonic love. 

What Does a Black Hollyhock Blossom Symbolize?

Black hollyhocks are actually a deep maroon color. This flower color also symbolizes ambition and fruitfulness.

What is the Cultural Significance of Hollyhocks?

Chinese culture includes an in-depth significance for the Hollyhock flowers. It originates from China and symbolizes nature and fertility in ancient Chinese lore with its beliefs of possessing healing abilities. 

It was famously used as a flavoring and medicinal herb during the early eras. Hollyhock leaves were cultivated for the savory taste of their leaves in dishes. In addition to its culinary use, it is also an excellent treatment for diseases, wounds, and bites from snakes and scorpions. 

In ancient Egypt, hollyhock wreaths were often used as wreaths to symbolize the circle of life. The ancient Egyptians practiced burying the dead and adorned these wreaths on coffins.

What Do Hollyhocks Symbolize in Japan?

The Japanese are one to include such rich and ancient culture and heritage in their history. All things in life are deemed sacred and worthy of honor for this race and are esteemed with the utmost respect and well-kept traditions. 

The Hollyhocks are known as one of the most esteemed emblems in Japan. In Japanese, it is referred to as the Aoi that has a traditional annual festival celebrated every May 15th in Kyoto known as the Aoi Matsuri or hollyhock festival.

Legend has it that these festivals exorcise one’s sins and the dangerous elements while lifting praises to the gods. The chief priest of the town also performs a ritual of kneeling on the stone during the entire ceremony to receive a blessing from the heavens. 

It was used as the motif on the official seal of Tokugawa family crest that signifies their nobility and high status in life establishing the Tokugawa shogunate. Ieyasu Tokugawa was honored as the first shogun during the era of Edo.

This motif was then adorned on kimonos, lanterns, and lacquerwares as a method of preserving the history of the plant. This symbolism has given the Hollyhock the honor and superiority comparable to the chrysanthemum and paulownia of the Japanese emperors.

Although the flowers are not the engraved motif on the crest, its three palmate leaves compose the motif instead. The leaves were believed to symbolize loyalty and obedience. The leaves have a habit of bowing down when the sun rises which is how an apprentice bows down to their master.  

What Does a Hollyhock Tattoo Mean?

Numerous meanings behold the design of Hollyhock tattoos. A black hollyhock floral tattoo is the most chosen design in this form of art. For women, it signifies one’s ambitions and fruitfulness. It can also interpret the ease of self creativity and liberality. 

Uses of Hollyhock Plants

Gardeners usually plant hollyhocks because it makes an excellent cut flower and the perfect housewarming gift. Aside from this, having these ornamental plants will give your place that perfect cottage garden look.

Because of its Greek etymological meaning, the hollyhock has medicinal properties and medicinal purposes that many cultures practice. The hollyhock sap, flower, and leaves are all used as traditional herbal remedies that have acclaimed healing properties. Some of the healing powers this plant possesses is its ability to treat injuries, sore throats, and even prevent miscarriages. 

Aside from its garden and medicinal use, these flowers can also be used creatively. Some go as creative to have hollyhocks as printed wallpaper in their bedrooms because of its symbolic meaning of fertility.

Up next: How to grow hollyhocks

*image credit: WMeidinger/depositphotos

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