Purple Iris Meaning and Symbolism (Dignity & Peace)

Purple Iris Meaning and Symbolism

The purple iris symbolizes royalty and aristocracy, dignity and respect, peace and harmony, spirituality, power, hope after death, and wisdom.

Purple irises appear in different traditions and mythologies worldwide. In each culture, these flowers have a different meaning and significance.

When Should you Gift Purple Irises?

Purple iris bouquets are appropriate for practically any occasion, but they are especially popular for birthday celebrations.

Send purple flowers to a birthday girl to make her birthday even more memorable.

Purple iris blooms are also the flower of the 25th wedding anniversary. If you are celebrating 25 years of blissful marriage, these enticing iris blossoms are the ideal flower for the occasion.

  • Birthdays
  • A first date
  • A 25th wedding anniversary
  • Anniversaries in general
  • Mother’s Day

What does the Purple Iris Symbolize?

1. Dignity and Respect

Purple Iris

Purple has long been a color associated with dignity. It was historically the color of royalty because it was so rare and expensive. In fact, some kings and queens of Europe even banned anyone except the royal household from wearing purple colors!

As a result, purple become known as a color won by dignitaries and respectable upper-class people.

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2. Peace and Harmony

Purple Iris

Purple is also known to be a color of harmony. It is a neutral color that is neither hot or cold. Sitting between the two extremes, purple becomes the color that is embraced by people who seek balance.

This is why Libras (born between September 22 and October 23) often love the color purple.

You may see purple irises planted in gardens that are seen to be peace gardens. They might be planted in gardens designed to either seek peace and tranquility from the world beyond, or even gardens planted to commemorate peace between warring nations.

See Also: Garden Symbolism

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3. Royalty and Aristocracy

Purple Iris

Purple is a color connected with royalty. Once, purple was a rare color that was expensive to access, so it was considered the color of royals. In fact, Queen Elisabeth I once banned anyone from using the color purple except her royal family.

4. Power

Purple Iris

Egyptians used these flowers to adorn the scepters of the pharaohs to represent power and victory. This also relates back to the idea that purple is the color of royalty, as the royals were traditionally the most powerful people in a nation.

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5. The Afterlife

Purple Iris

Many people associate the Iris flower with Iris the goddess. She is the goddess of the rainbow and a messenger for the gods.

Iris was a companion to female souls on their journey to heaven. The ancient Greeks used to lay purple irises on women’s graves, hoping that Iris leads them to their last resting place.

6. Wisdom

Purple Iris

Some traditions consider the iris as a symbol of faith and wisdom, which is why it frequently appears in religious settings. Similarly, this is why irises are often gifted to teachers at the end of a school year.

The Meaning of Purple Flowers

Purple flowers, it turns out, are more prevalent than purple dyes. Purple flowers may be found all around the world, including popular choices such as lavender, purple tulips, and verbena.

Purple flowers are made up of pigments called anthocyanins, which are produced naturally by the plant. Anthocyanins in plants generate white, red, blue, and purple flowers, whereas carotenoids produce warm colors such as yellow, orange, and red. In other cases, like the violet-blue chrysanthemum, the color is genetically-altered.

Significance of Purple Flowers

Purple flowers, such as the purple Lotus flower, have cultural significance. In Buddhism, this species is sacred. Lotuses of various colors have many connotations in Buddhism, signifying purity, grace, or the Buddha himself. The purple kind of lotus reflects the inner path in Buddhism.

The violet is another well-known purple flower in mythology. The flower was popular among ancient Greeks, and it became a symbol of Athens and the goddess Aphrodite.

Purple Flowers in the Victorian Era

Floriography, or the language of flowers, was a popular means to send concealed messages in Victorian times.

People would send floral bouquets to each other to communicate feelings they couldn’t express verbally.

People started carrying floral dictionaries about with them and wearing bouquets containing concealed messages as an adornment.

Here are a few purple flowers with hidden meanings in the Victorian flower language.

  • Lilacs symbolize premature love.
  • Purple carnations represented whimsicality.
  • Hyacinth meant “Please, forgive me.”
  • Black flowers (typically with a dark purple tint) – death or black magic

Spiritual Meaning of Purple Flowers

Purple flowers have many different connotations in spiritual traditions across the globe, aside from the purple lotus in Buddhism. Several purple flowers are referenced in the Bible in Christianity. Eastern hyacinths and eastern poppies are two examples.

Violets play a significant role in Christianity as well. Violets were known as Trinity flowers by medieval monks because they symbolized repentance from sin.

Purple Flowers in Literature and Art

Purple flowers also appear in art and literature. Purple flowers are the principal focal point of paintings ranging from Vincent Van Gogh’s Still Life with Irises to Georgia O’Keefe’s Petunias.

Purple flower allusions appear in a wide range of literature.

Ophelia’s flowers in Shakespeare’s Hamlet are a well-known example. It is a reference to a famous moment in the play in which Ophelia gives flowers to other characters to convey ideas she can’t say aloud.

She gave her brother rosemary and asked him to remember her, while she gave the king columbines as an indication that she knew he’d been unfaithful.

Marita Bonner, an American playwright, has also written a play called The Purple Flower. In 1928, she released the play as a metaphor for racial difficulties in the United States.

Purple Flowers: Their Meaning and Symbolism Today

Purple flowers today can have a lot of meanings depending on the situation. They may be given during a funeral in Thailand as an expression of sadness. However, in most places, purple evokes images of magnificence, wealth, and opulence.

Uses of the Purple Iris

Orris roots, especially those of the germanic and pallida species, were a staple of the perfume business in the nineteenth century, particularly in Italy. When let to dry, these roots generate a violet-like aroma that enriches over time.

They were employed in many cosmetics until some researchers discovered that they produced allergic responses. The roots are commonly used in potpourris and sachets nowadays.

These roots were also used as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and tooth and skin health supplement.

Irises make wonderful gifts for many sorts of people because of their wide range of colors and meanings. Purple irises are appropriate for a parent or mentor. On the other hand, yellow irises are for a meaningful partner, and blue irises are for someone who needs more motivation.

More Iris Symbolism:


Purple irises have different connotations all over the world. Like most purple flowers, it symbolizes prestige, aristocracy, and royalty. However, they have several other meanings that come from mythology and history.