February is the season of all things romance and love, and for the most part, roses take center stage. However, to everyone’s surprise, the birth flowers of this month are entirely different.
Instead, February babies get two vibrant early bloomers to choose from: violets and primroses.
Besides being beautiful, February’s birth flowers have a rich historical and cultural background. They’re also symbolic of love and affection, emphasizing the theme of the month.
Including violets or primroses in your birthday celebration gives it a deeper meaning. But the real magic comes when you know these blooms’ intriguing characteristics and meaning.
Therefore, buckle up and keep reading to discover these cool facts about February’s birth flowers.
10 Facts About Violets
Violets are classified under the plant genus Viola. This is a large group containing over 680 different types of flowers.
Some species of violets may only grow 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) high. On the other hand, taller varieties standing at over 20 inches (51 cm) tall exist.
Three US states, Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, have violets as their official state symbol. Wisconsin also uses another variety, the wood violet, as its state flower.
Although purple varieties of this flower are the most common, they could also be blue, white, reddish, and yellow. Violets may also sometimes have a mix of different colors.
The leaves and flowers of violets are edible, with a slightly sweet flavor that elevates dishes like puddings. But don’t try to consume the roots and seeds of the plant, as they contain potentially harmful compounds.
Ants carry mature violet seeds away, helping to establish fresh sprouts far from the parent plant. The ants are drawn by chemicals on the fleshy part of the seeds called elaiosome.
Violets were a symbol of the love between Napoleon Bonaparte and his first wife, Empress Josephine. He also made it the signature flower of his party, earning him the nickname Caporal Violette (“Corporal Violet”).
The smell of violets disappears only a few moments after getting the first whiff. This is because the ionone compound responsible for their fragrance temporarily blocks your ability to smell them.
Legend states that St. Valentine crushed these purple flowers to make ink to write letters to his followers while imprisoned. Therefore, violets were the original symbol of Valentine’s Day before roses took over.
In the early 20th century, New York’s Hudson Valley was dubbed the violet capital of the world. It housed hundreds of greenhouses that catered to the booming violet farming industry.
10 Facts About Primroses
Primroses belong to the large Primula genus in the Primulacae family, which contains about 600 flower species.
The name primrose originates from the Latin word primus, which translates to first. The appearance of these flowers typically ushers in the spring season as warmer temperatures arrive.
An old legend from England states that eating primrose will help you see fairies. And putting these flowers on your doorstep would get you a fairy’s blessings.
Primrose flowers and young leaves are usually sweet and safe to eat, but old leaves taste bitter. Be warned never to feed this plant to your dogs, cats, and even horses, as it’s toxic to them.
Primrose flowers can be blue, yellow, purple, red, white, pink, and orange. Some plants may also feature a blend of two different colors.
April 19 every year is Primrose Day, a British holiday in remembrance of the former prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli. After his death, Queen Victoria sent a primrose wreath to his funeral as they were his favorite.
Primroses were the flowers of love during the Middle Ages and were believed to be vital for making love potions.
One of the greatest English writers to walk the earth, William Shakespeare, had a soft spot for primroses. He mentioned them many times in his works.
During the Victorian era, primroses were the symbol of young love. Giving this flower to your love interest was a way to say you couldn’t live without them.
One side of the Austrian 5 euro cent coin features a primrose stalk, representing the country’s dedication to preserving the environment.
February babies have so much love to give, so it’s only fitting that their birth flowers are symbols of affection.
Just like this February’s gemstones, these flowers hold deep symbolic meanings for the celebrants and serve as excellent personal gifts.
So next time you celebrate a February birthday, ditch the dull old roses and grab a bouquet of violets and primroses.
After all, who wouldn’t want to receive a gift with such hidden depth and intriguing tales?
Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
As an expert in the language of flowers and their symbolism, allow me to share my knowledge about the birth flowers of February. The month of February is often associated with romance and love, and while roses usually take center stage during this time, the birth flowers of February offer a delightful surprise. In this month, individuals born in February have two vibrant early bloomers to choose from: violets and primroses.
February's birth flowers, aside from their undeniable beauty, possess a rich historical and cultural background. They also symbolize love and affection, perfectly aligning with the theme of the month. Including violets or primroses in birthday celebrations adds a deeper meaning to the occasion. However, the real magic lies in understanding the intriguing characteristics and symbolism behind these blooms.
Let's begin with violets. Violets belong to the plant genus Viola, which encompasses an impressive array of over 680 different types of flowers. While some species of violets may only grow to a height of 2 inches (5.1 centimeters), taller varieties can reach over 20 inches (51 cm) in height.
Interestingly, three US states, namely Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, have chosen violets as their official state symbol. Additionally, Wisconsin has adopted the wood violet as its state flower. While purple varieties of violets are the most common, they can also be found in shades of blue, white, reddish, and yellow. Some violets even display a mix of different colors.
Violets possess edible leaves and flowers, which add a slightly sweet flavor to dishes like puddings. However, caution should be exercised as the roots and seeds of the plant contain potentially harmful compounds and should not be consumed. Furthermore, ants play a significant role in the propagation of violets. They carry mature violet seeds away, helping establish fresh sprouts far from the parent plant. The ants are attracted by chemicals on the fleshy part of the seeds called elaiosome.
In terms of symbolism, violets hold a special place in history. They were a symbol of the love shared between Napoleon Bonaparte and his first wife, Empress Josephine. Napoleon even made violets the signature flower of his party, earning him the nickname "Caporal Violette" or "Corporal Violet." Another intriguing fact about violets is that their fragrance disappears only a few moments after taking in the first whiff. This is due to the ionone compound responsible for their scent temporarily blocking our ability to smell them.
Legend has it that St. Valentine used violets to make ink for writing letters to his followers while imprisoned, making violets the original symbol of Valentine's Day before roses took their place. In the early 20th century, New York's Hudson Valley earned the title of "violet capital of the world." The region housed numerous greenhouses that catered to the booming violet farming industry.
Now, let's delve into the fascinating world of primroses. Primroses belong to the large Primula genus within the Primulacae family, encompassing approximately 600 flower species. The name "primrose" originates from the Latin word "primus," meaning "first." These flowers typically make their appearance as the spring season arrives, accompanied by warmer temperatures.
In English folklore, there is an old legend that claims eating primroses allows one to see fairies. Additionally, placing these flowers on your doorstep is said to attract a fairy's blessing. While primrose flowers and young leaves are usually sweet and safe for human consumption, old leaves taste bitter. It is crucial to note that primroses should never be fed to dogs, cats, or horses, as they are toxic to these animals.
The color palette of primrose flowers is diverse, ranging from blue, yellow, purple, red, white, pink, to orange. Some plants even display a blend of two different colors. A notable date for primroses is April 19, which is celebrated as Primrose Day in the UK. This holiday honors the former Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. After his death, Queen Victoria sent a primrose wreath to his funeral, as primroses were his favorite flowers.
During the Middle Ages, primroses were regarded as the flowers of love and were believed to possess magical properties needed for making love potions. The great English writer, William Shakespeare, also had a soft spot for primroses, mentioning them numerous times in his works. In the Victorian era, primroses became the symbol of young love. Gifting someone a primrose was a way of expressing that they were indispensable in one's life.
To further emphasize the significance of primroses, the Austrian 5 euro cent coin features a primrose stalk, representing the country's dedication to preserving the environment.
In conclusion, the birth flowers of February hold deep symbolic meanings of affection. These flowers, violets and primroses, not only serve as beautiful personal gifts but also carry intriguing tales and hidden depths. So, the next time you celebrate a February birthday, consider embracing the uniqueness of these blooms and surprise your loved ones with a bouquet of violets and primroses.