If you’re born in August you’re lucky, you have the choice of two very different flowers to represent your birth month: the gladiolus and the poppy. While it’s unclear why these two flowers were assigned to August, and from where each flower got their meaning, one thing is for sure each flower and the colour that flower presents in has multiple meanings – so you’ll have lots of flowers to choose from to represent your mood and meaning!
The gladiolus is also referred to as the ‘sword lily’ because their leaves and the flower itself is sharply pointed, resembling a sword. ‘Glads’ are associated with a sword for a number of reasons. Said to symbolise infatuation, the gift of a gladiolus can represent the giftee’s heart has been pierced by the sword of infatuation. Alternatively, glads have also been considered the flower of the gladiators – hence their name. In Ancient Rome, gladiators would fight ‘to the death of gladioli’, that is, the winner would be showered in colourful gladioli flowers. The August birth flower, therefore, has a double meaning of infatuation as well as integrity, persistence, honour and moral character.
Beyond these dual meanings, the colours of the gladioli have individual meaning too:
- Red – love
- Pink – compassion
- White – innocence
- Yellow – joy
- Purple – charm and grace
Similarly, the poppy’s different colours also represent multiple meanings. The red poppy used to be associated with pleasure, in line with their use as opiates during the Victorian era. Now, however, overwhelmingly the red poppy symbolises ‘remembrance’ and is inextricably linked to WWI and WWII. Read our blog 'The History of ANZAC Day' for an understanding of how the poppy became a symbolic flower for the two world wars.
For the other poppy colours: white symbolises consolation and yellow symbolises wealth and success. It's also the state-flower for California.
There’s an interesting contrast between these two birth flowers for August, there’s the showy structure of the gladioli and the quiet informality of the poppy, an iconic wildflower – which do you like best? If you’d like to see poppy flowers in a bouquet, the Lucy’s 'Topaz' features red poppies – for remembrance.