Written in Petals The Language of Flowers in Victorian Europe

Flora’s Dictionary - E.W. Wirt

Flora’s Dictionary by Elizabeth Wirt is one of the first floriography books published in America, being printed in Baltimore in 1829. A notable difference between the American floral tradition and the European is that in the U.S. cultivated flowers were seen as an indication of the civilization of the wilderness, while in Europe the idea of flower gardening was associated with the enlightenment of the lower classes.

Along with the basic meanings of the plants, Wirt provides poetic quotations from notable authors like Joseph Addison and Edmund Spencer. These quotes provide an extension of the meaning, adding a further understanding than just a simple word or phrase.

The interest in botany associated with floriography often led to further learning, like this short biography of the famed naturalist Carl Linnaeus included in Flora's Dictionary.
This page contains meanings for acacia and adonis flowers alongside poetic stanzas that add deeper meaning.