Should you send a rose of crimson or of white to the one you love? What gift of flowers best expresses thanks to a dear friend? From ancient days, long before words complicated what we say to one another, flowers have been our messengers, invested with our most cherished feelings. Illustrated with luscious collages by acclaimed artist Ann Field, this enchanting tribute to the power and symbolism of flowers offers a contemporary introduction to an age-old tradition. The text draws on botanical, historical, and mythological sources worldwide, from ancient Rome to Victorian England, from Asia to the Americas, presenting portraits of almost 50 blossoms favored for all time. In Persia, for instance, the black medulla of the red tulip was said to represent the lover's heart, burnt to a coal by love's passion. To Victorians, lavender signified a broken trust, hollyhocks fertility, and nasturtiums a jest or whimsy. Blending fact, folktale, natural history, and original art, The Meaning of Flowers explores the language and lore of nature's most intimate and beautiful gifts.