What Does Rhododendron Flower Mean and Symbolise?

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Have you ever heard or seen a flower that is as prehistoric and well-preserved as dinosaurs? The name Rhododendron just about sounds like it has indeed existed for over 60 million years!

This remarkable plant is commonly cited as the Azalea happens to be just one of the many floras of the genus. 

History of the Rhododendron Flower

Fossil records during the Palaeocene Epoch believed that the Rhododendron genus existed alongside the mighty dinosaurs. The genus comprises a little over 1,000 different species and includes the very infamous Azalea. It thrives in the mountains and forests of the Himalayas and Southeast Asia and comes from the Ericaceae family consisting of mostly woody evergreen shrubs or trees.

Even though it has existed for quite some time, the first description of the plant was made in 1657 none other than the famous Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus. Records of the plants’ cultivation were also discovered in China and Caucasus. It has also been mentioned that several legends and folklore have been told about this plant. 

Symbolism of the Rhododendron Blossom

There are a handful of symbols when it comes to the Rhododendron. Some understandable and some very contradictory and intriguing. The flowers have been primarily associated with death and murder. Other analogies behind this flower include bravery, robustness, and resistance given its woody and evergreen nature. 

It is interestingly attributed to the Zodiac sign Scorpio which is well known to be a misunderstood sign. Amidst this, the floras are creatively featured in wedding bouquets and garlands as a metaphor for love. 

The Rhododendrons in the state of West Virginia and the United States Capitol Washington D.C are nicknamed rhodies. Consequently, it was also elected as both the state and capital official flowers in the 1900s. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, it is also delegated as the national flower.

Meaning of the Rhododendron Blooms

The Rhododendron actually consists of two words that equate to its meaning. From Greek translations,  rhodo means rose while dendron means tree. Therefore, the direct translation of this name is simply the rose tree signifying its brilliant display of florets.

Direct meanings of the Rhododendron include phrases “in waiting” and “to flee” as it symbolizes caution, danger, and distrust. Contradictory to this, the flower also implies beauty, fragility, and grace to those of the floras’ intricate appearance. It also holds the meaning of having a sense of balance and evolutionary progress.

What Does a White Rhododendron Mean?

The white Rhododendrons signify radiating charm and confidence. 

What Does a Red Rhododendron Symbolize?

Red is commonly mentioned as the flower symbolizing love. Although for these flowers, it denotes a deep fictitious temptation and happiness. Red Rhododendrons also signify good luck.

What Does an Orange or Yellow Rhododendron Imply?

Modern-time representations of orange color are usually seen in traffic cones and stop signs. Orange and yellow flowers commonly implicated bad memories and future warnings. 

What Does a Purple Rhododendron Signify?

Bravery and balance are these characteristics best correspond to the Rhododendrons purple flowers.

What Does a Pink Rhododendron Represent?

Pink is often referred to as the color of affection and love. The same symbolism applies to pink-flowered Rhododendrons that denote self-love and compassion.

What Does the Appearance of a Rhododendron in Dreams Symbolize?

Having dreams are usually messages from our subconscious minds. If you see Rhododendrons appearing in your dreams, be wary of staying alert and cautious of the future.

What is the Cultural Significance of Rhododendron?

In Chinese culture, the Mayin Hua Festival honoring the R. delavaji is celebrated yearly on the 8th of February. Colorful clothing, bonfire hymns, and Rhododendron ornaments are decorated in tribute to the tale of the sacrifice of Miyulu. Legend has it that Miyulu used the poison of the white flower to kill a corrupt official. Upon her death, her lover’s tears soaked the white Rhododendron into a blood-red flower.

The Yi culture of Northwest China also honors Rhododendrons by the tribe’s metonymic images as emblematic ornaments. 

Meanwhile, for the indigenous Zomi tribe of India, the genus name is used as a proxy for addressing women. The Victorian era also appraised this flower with high regard as a symbol of passion. 

What Does a Rhododendron Tattoo Mean?

Intricate motifs of Rhododendron floral tattoos indicate self-love and one’s sacrifice. It is specially chosen of strong will and confidence.

*image credit: upslim/depositphotos