The Language of Bouquets Language in Valyria+Kathrir | World Anvil
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The Language of Bouquets

Originating in eastern Valyria, the language of bouquets was supposed to be simply a cute courtship ritual, but a few years after being introduced it evolved into a huge, vastly complex language.


A few years before the language took off, the nobles of some of the eastern cities decided to start sending secret flower messages to each other. These all meant simple things such as "I miss you" or "Wishing you good fortune", but as the public began to learn of these flower meanings the language got more and more complicated until you could tell someone practically anything through the bouquets.

Regional Dialects

There are a few different dialects of the language of bouquets, with different flowers and plant matter meaning different things in different places. In one place, you could send someone a message asking if they wanted to visit, and in another region you could be asking them to give you their house.
There are also places where region-specific flora is used, but that type of flora rarely goes outside of where it is native. As an example, Spiculo Moss is exclusive to areas by the Deep Forest , which is notorious for being off-limits to visiors. Stuff like this can help with identifying where a bouquet is from, but if you don't know the meanings things can get confusing really quick.

How to use the Language of Bouquets

The language of bouquets is very complex, but the basics are relatively simple to explain.

First step— Arranging The Flora

The flowers are your actual words, and what usually have the most of the information. This can be tricky, but usually this is just leafing through manuals until you can find a jumble that fits what you are trying to say. After you have that figured out and all of the components gathered and structured correctly, things move on to the next step. Here is a quick guide to some basic flora used in simple bouquets:
Flora Meaning
Daffodil Truth, forgiveness
Mayscorn Depending on number of leaves, that number
Venus Flytrap Deceit, lying
Hellebore A scandal
Raspberry Remorse
Broken straw A broken contract
Lupine Imagination
Iris Message
Holly Foresight
Gooseberry Anticipation

Second Step— The Wrap

Different wraps mean different things. These indicate the tone of the message, from casual and laid-back to flirty and playful to formal and strict. Here is a short list of the most common wraps, but it is in no way all of them.
Wrap Color Meaning
No wrap Honesty, bluntness
Clear wrap, no tint Casual or informal
Clear wrap, tinted Casual, reinforces ribbon meaning (see ribbon colors)
Clear wrap, iridescent Playful, flirty, joyous
Opaque wrap, glossy white Formal, informative
Opaque wrap, glossy black Formal, requesting
Opaque wrap, tinted Formal, reinforces ribbon meaning (see ribbon colors)

Third Step— The Ribbon

Like the wraps, different ribbons mean different things. The color matters, but so does the texture of the ribbon. The color summarizes the purpose of the message, while the texture represents the requested response times.
Here are the meanings for the main colors:
Ribbon Color Purpose
Red Warning
Orange Gift
Yellow Good news
Light green Normal message
Dark green Very important
Blue Updates on previous events
Purple Declaration
White Event, usually negative
Black Event, usually positive
And here is the guide for the textures:
Texture/type Requested response time
Lace No need to reply/do not reply
Rough Respond later, take your time
Medium Reply within a month
Smooth Respond as quick as you can

How to read bouquets

Bouquets are read in circular patterns, with individual sentences being read counterclockwise and the overall bouquet read clockwise. The sentences are usually wrapped with paper, cord, or fabric to separate them and tell what tense the sentence is in (see tenses section in grammar).
Beginners to this language are encouraged to take out the sentences and read them one by one, and the more adept they get the quicker they can identify the sentence without needing to pull it out and check. When in doubt, here's a guide:



The language of bouquets has its own grammar system, with the three main elements shown here:

Word Order

This language uses a subject-verb-adverbial phrase sequence, with the subject usually being the first word in the sentence.
If the subject is a person rather than an object with a flower assigned to it, most of the time it is written as a flower with the person's initials carved into the stem or leaves.


The punctuation is quite simple, with only three punctuation marks. A strip of grass between two flowers acts as a comma, a maple leaf acts like a question mark, and an oak twig represents an exclamation mark. Unless ended by one of the latter two, the end of a sentence is always when the flower spiral ends.


The language of bouquets uses three main tenses, each represented by a certain material. These are universal across all dialects, with past tense being represented by strips of paper, present tense with woven cord, and future tense with braided fabric. 
These are placed near their relevant flora, usually wound around the stems to avoid confusion.
Found In:
  Difficulty to Learn:


13 Words.

Common Phrases/ bouquets

  Here are some of the most common bouquets sent and what they mean.


Length: One sentence.
Flora used: Cherry flower, one short grass strand, one long grass strand, olive branch, two long grass strands (tied together), and azalea, all arranged in the above order.
Wrap color: either opaque or clear, with light green tint.
Ribbon color and texture: Light green, usually medium-smooth.
Direct translation: "Greetings, I hope you're well."


Length: One sentence.
Flora used: Two long grass strands (tied together), wisteria, flower that represents the event (Example: rose), and mayscorn with desired number of leaves, right color, and address carved into a leaf, all in that order.
Wrap color: White or black. Can be either opaque or clear, depending on the event. (in this example, black, likely opaque)
Ribbon color and texture: Same as wrap, usually smooth or medium textured.
Direct Translation: "You're welcome/invited to a/an (event) at (place) and (time)."


Length: One sentence.
Flora used: Hydrangea or cherry flower, one long grass strand, and mayscorn with the correct amount of leaves, color, and address carved into a leaf.
Wrap color: Usually clear without a tint.
Ribbon Color and texture: Light green, technically any texture.
Direct Translation: "Meet me at (place) at (time)."

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Author's Notes

All art is created by myself using various art supplies.

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Aug 1, 2023 18:37

Very clever idea, and I love that you actually went into so much detail in providing examples of the messages, showing how this code really works!

Check out my Summer Camp 2023 wrap-up here!
Aug 2, 2023 03:07 by Autumn Riverwood

Thank you so much! I've always been curious about secret codes and victorian flower language, so when I learned about this prompt I couldn't wait to use all the little bits of information I had gathered. It was really fun to write!

Aug 2, 2023 18:28

Oh, this is really interesting. I've always loved the Victorian Flower Language, but I have yet to read of a flower language from another world! I love how you expanded on it with wraps and ribbons! And your art is so cute—and it gives a great example of how each bouquet is to be read! Great job!

Aug 3, 2023 17:49 by Autumn Riverwood

Thank you so much! I was trying to figure out how to make it not just "oh this flower means this and this means that", and then I saw a bouquet at a local store with these fancy wraps and ribbons and it inspired me so much that I had to stop and jot that down before finishing what I was doing. The art was also really fun to draw! I haven't drawn many plants in a while so this was a fun way to practice. I'm glad you enjoyed the article :D

Aug 20, 2023 09:04 by Laure Yates

Love your article, I have added it to my Summer Camp Reading Challenge list. I am working on something similar to do with corsages and clans' communication. This was my plan for the prompt but I ran out of time! I don't think mine will have grammar, but I Iike the idea: 'a strip grass between two flowers' for a comma, brilliant.

Aug 22, 2023 16:12 by Autumn Riverwood

Thank you so much! I got stuck on the grammar part for a while when I was making this article, so I just ended up walking around my yard wondering what could work before I figured it out. I'm glad you enjoyed the article! :D

Aug 20, 2023 10:59 by C. B. Ash

This is brilliant. So very well done. I love the attention to detail, right down to the subject, verb, adverb sequence! :D

Aug 22, 2023 16:18 by Autumn Riverwood

Thank you so much!! I think this article was my favorite one to write during Summer Camp because I could finally put the months of research I had done on secret codes and languages to use. One of these days I'm probably going to add a dictionary as well as a few more tweaks to the language. I'm glad you enjoyed the article! :D

Aug 22, 2023 20:33 by C. B. Ash

A dictionary! Oh! Nice! Please do, I would love to read that :D

Aug 20, 2023 12:42 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Very cool! I love how you've developed that beyond classical flower language <3 And great work explaining it all clearly :D

To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
Aug 22, 2023 16:41 by Autumn Riverwood

Thank you so much!! Victorian Flower Language was always a big interest of mine, so it was really fun developing it into something for my world! Also I'm glad its clear- while I was writing it I got really worried if it was getting too wordy and hard to follow. I'm glad you enjoyed the article! :D