Every flower symbolizes something good, but some are more important than others because of their roles in people’s lives through the ages. The rhododendron is one of the prettiest flowers to behold with its vivid colors and elegantly curved petals. Popular as a cut flower, rhododendron’s symbolic meaning stems from its fame as a flower that can be used in arrangements. As an ornamental flower, because of the variety of colors this flower comes in, it has been used widely in wedding bouquets and as gifts. Besides its use as a sign of goodwill, the flower has some hidden meanings that are noteworthy.
What the Flower Stands For
You may ask yourself, what does rhododendron symbolize? Other than an offering of well-meaning and affection, does the flower signify anything else? Yes. The rhododendron has different meanings depending on its color. Varieties of the flower grow in abundance, with a huge array of colors to choose from. Some colors are more vibrant than others, such as the bright pinks and oranges. Other rhododendron shades are in flowers that come in blended colors, such as whitish-pink and a creamier white.
The Name of the Flower
The name of the flower, “rhododendron”, originates from a French term that is itself sourced from the Latin word, “rhododendron”. If you go by a literal translation, the word means “rose tree.” Some experts have traced the word back to the Greek language as well. The word, “rhododendron”, can be interpreted as meaning “solid”, “firm”, “strong” and “steadfast” too. Here, some green thumbs feel that the rhododendron, symbolic meaning aside, is descriptive of the actual plant itself. The flower grows on a thick bark-like stem and is a hardy bloom.
Bright and Happy Flowers
Rhododendron is part of a genus of around 1000 species of plants found in the wilderness and belongs to plants’ heath family. It can be deciduous or evergreen and is common to its native Asia. India and China both grow this flower in large numbers. Nonetheless, it is also grown abundantly in the Northwest Pacific’s lowland and montane forested regions and parts of Northeastern United States. Parts of the state of California cultivate this bloom quite widely as well. The flower was identified and named in the 1500s and acknowledged as one of the toughest plants in the kingdom plantae.
As plants go, rhododendron’s symbolic meaning may come from the fact that it brings joy and happiness as it grows in the sunshine. It clearly adds light and brightness to any bouquet or basket of flowers, bringing gaiety to the heaviest heart. Often given as a symbol of love and optimism, the flower has a positive vibe. In parts of Europe, such as Germany, the flower is especially cultivated and given as a gift to welcome visitors.
Flowers of Energy
Rhododendrons come in a range of colors and bring a burst of energy to any environment. Their loud and eye-catching colors force the attention of people. On a window sill, in a box, or as a potted plant, these flowers adorn many an apartment in different parts of the globe. The flowers are all about liveliness and life itself, so when you consider the question, “what does rhododendron symbolize?” you only have to look at the flower.
Yellow Flowers and Funerals
Throughout the years, the yellow variety of rhododendrons has been synonymous with use at funerals. You will often find these flowers on funeral wreaths, combined with white lilies and white roses. Since yellow is a lighter shade and can be combined with somber colors for a sad occasion, it can also be combined with brighter colors to symbolize joy. The rhododendron, gifted as a flower at a funeral, may not necessarily mean that it is a sign of mourning to some. In fact, in some cultures, funerals celebrate the life of the individual who has passed away. Here, the yellow rhododendron serves as a flower that indicates a positive memory of the deceased person.
Red for Robust Emotions
Red, as a color, is symbolic of passion. Red roses are a sign of love and strong and deep emotions, so they are the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift. These rhododendrons can be dramatic in their appearance and compete with the most beautiful roses as flowers that stand for passion and romance. Red rhododendrons are commonly gifted among lovers and spouses, but they are symbolic of a strong will too. You can give these to a friend whom you think has achieved success through strength and sheer determination, without the “love” aspect!
Delicate Pinks for Peace
Darker shades of pink rhododendrons are given at birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate the happiness and evoke a cheery mood. The lighter pinks are pastel shades that people associate with calm and inner repose. This is also a common sign of the white flowers of the same species. You get blended pinkish-white rhododendrons which appear cool and relaxed, and this is exactly their symbolic value. What does rhododendron symbolize in pink, then, is a question that can be answered if you know which pink the flower is. Deeper and richer pinks bring forth merriment and are seen in Christmas wreaths and Easter bouquets. Lighter pink, white and ivory flowers may be given as a sign of sympathy or a get-well wish.
Rhododendron Tattoo Choices
You will be surprised at how many people use rhododendron images in tattoos! As flower images in tattoos go, roses and sunflowers are used a lot. Nonetheless, rhododendrons have their pride of place in the tattoo jet-set too. What does rhododendron symbolize as a tattoo? Well, the flower is native to Asia and parts of the Appalachians too, so you will find people in these regions sporting the flower on their skin. Like the flower as a tattoo, it looks pretty and affords a good amount of detailing as an image.
People who have tattoos usually want to express a conviction or a strong belief, so the flower has gained popularity as it is a sign of positivity. You will usually see a rich pink or red flower as a tattoo, but you may see white too. The vibrant colors would be a portrayal of positivity, and the subdued ones, of peace.