Black Iris Meaning and Symbolism (Elegance & Honor)

black iris meaning

The black iris symbolizes elegance and sophistication, honor and prestige, pride and self-confidence, rebirth, the end of a significant event, hatred or tragedy, death, and mourning.

Black irises have a very intriguing and mysterious look. They are unique specimen that grows in Jordan. The symbolism comes from tradition, color psychology, and mythology.

What does the Black Iris Symbolize?

1. Elegance and Sophistication

People love black flowers for their mysterious yet elegant appearance. As a color of mystery, black conjures elegance, sophistication, and sexual prowess.

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2. Honor and Prestige

It has a link with power, authority, and strength. The color black gives individuals who wear it an appearance of power and intelligence.  It is a symbol of importance, formality, and prestige. With so many connotations, it’s no wonder why black has a strong psychological impact.

3. Pride and Self-Confidence

The color black has a significant emotional influence on us. It can elicit either fear or respect. Wearing black, especially formal black, may give you a sense of power and assurance. It alludes to possibilities and potentials, as well as power and authority.

4. Rebirth

Black flowers may also symbolize fresh beginnings, as they positively convey rebirth. As a result, you can give it to someone starting a new chapter in their life. Some also use it in literature to presage a character’s development.

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5. The End of a Significant Event

Black flowers can symbolize the end of a meaningful life event, such as a meaningful relationship.

The end of a significant event may sometimes be a bittersweet feeling. Hence, a black flower might represent that, since it conveys sadness while also pointing to a new optimistic beginning. The black iris can tell someone that you hope everything turns out for the best and that you are supporting them.

6. Hatred or Tragedy

Some may interpret a black flower, such as the black iris, as a symbol of hatred or tragedy. It may indicate the end of a devotion. This interpretation frequently appears in fiction to predict or show what is happening to the viewer.

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7. Death and Mourning

The black rose can be a symbol of death and mourning. The color black has an evident relationship with death. That makes all black flowers a symbol of mourning.

However, the black iris especially ties to this concept. That occurs because of its association with Iris, the Greek goddess. She was a companion to female souls on their journey to heaven. Greeks still lay purple irises on women’s graves, hoping that Iris leads them to their last resting place.

The Black Iris

The black iris is the epitome of beauty, and its majesty assures that it reigns supreme among all wildflowers.

Spring brings joy and gladness, bearing the magnificent black iris in its folds. It is also the time of year when wildflowers blossom and grow amid the rocks, hills, dales, and even desert edges.

The black iris is one of the world’s rarest flowers. It has a one-of-a-kind color combination that includes a dark purple almost black color with a captivating Lilac tint and a white spot in the center.

These unusual flowers exist in Jordan, particularly along the Dead Sea, Jordan River, and the Ajloun Mountains on the outskirts of the desert. It also exists around old excavation sites, and there are discoveries of various inscriptions and mosaics of the iris.

A British botanist named John Gilbert Baker found these flowers during an exploring journey to Jordan in the 1800s. He named them the black iris because of their dark purple, nearly black color.

Despite its delicate appearance, this flower is famous for its durability and ability to thrive in the harshest of settings. For instance, the Arabian Desert.

The black iris is known as the “Queen of Wild Flowers” in Jordan, not only for its beauty but also for its length, which may reach 30 cm. It is also Jordan’s national flower. When visiting the nation in the spring months of March and April, many tourists love witnessing this gorgeous and unusual bloom.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II believes in the necessity of conserving these uncommon flowers and has named one of the cars produced at the King Abdullah center the Black Iris, among other things.

See Also: What do Wildflowers Symbolize?

Do Black Irises Really Exist?

In truth, there are no black flowers; most are colors of purple or red that are quite dark.

Black Velvet Petunia was the name given to the first black flower. It took four years for the breeders to develop the velvety, ‘blacker’ blossom, which seems different and darker than its contemporaries. However, if you look at it more precisely and objectively, you’ll notice it’s a dark purple tone rather than black.

There are around 3,000 flowers with dark petals that appear black in a certain light but some few uncommon flowers give the impression of being black, such as Queen of Night, the black tulip, Guinee, and Black Baccara roses with a deep, almost-black red hue.

Darker petals occur in the Iris and Viola families of flowers. Black petals with gold veins distinguish Iris’ chrysographes, making it spectacular, intriguing, and captivating.

The Significance of Black Flowers

Black flowers represent strength, mystery, elegance, goodbye, and farewell. Because the romantic message of black flowers is frequently negative, they should be kept for break-ups. A solitary black flower, accompanied by a gift of some type, may, on the other hand, be a strong romantic gesture with a sense of mystery.

People collected black flowers throughout the Victorian and Edwardian eras and they would go to great efforts to find the most unusual varieties.

The Black Iris in Art

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Black Iris, also known as Black Iris III, is a 1926 oil painting. The art historian Linda Nochlin regarded Black Iris as a morphological metaphor for female genitalia.

It initially appeared at the Intimate Gallery in New York, where it was cataloged as DARK IRIS NO. 3 from January 11 to February 27, 1927. Unlike her previous exhibitions, this one was entirely devoid of the vibrant paintings that had garnered her critical praise.

To make Black Iris, O’Keeffe employs a mix of colors, focusing on deeper tints. She uses black, purple, and maroon to detail the iris’s center and lower petals, while pink, gray, and white decorate the flower’s top petals.

The iris is a well-known figure in Western art, usually appearing in Christian iconography. Its swordlike leaves were a notable symbol for Mary’s suffering, a graphic metaphor that O’Keeffe may have recognized from her Catholic background and parochial schools.

For many years, O’Keeffe’s famed irises were a major source of inspiration. She preferred the black iris, which she could only get for approximately two weeks each spring at particular New York florists.

Unlike Impressionist flower paintings like Vincent van Gogh’s Irises, O’Keeffe’s floral enlargements and abstractions have sometimes been interpreted in gynecological terms, almost clinical in their accuracy.

More Iris Symbolism:


Black irises have a similar meaning to other black flowers. Dark flowers sometimes have a creepy look for some, and they attribute these blooms negative meanings. However, they symbolize rebirth, and they can be a romantic, mysterious gift. It all depends on the context and the message you want to send.