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The Meaning of Different Tropical Flowers


Often associated with exotic wilderness, tropical areas experience near-constant temperatures throughout the year. Due to its peculiar climate conditions, tropical regions receive abundant rain all year long. This is the reason why such regions are home to lush green vegetation and striking flora.

There is a wide variety of flowers that can be found nowhere in the world except for these tropical regions. Many flowers popular in floral decorations these days belong to Far Eastern tropical countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, the Congo Basin in West Africa and the Amazon Basin in Brazil.

With modern cultivation procedures, it is now possible to grow tropical flowers in non-tropical regions as well.  Different tropical flowers are considered symbols communicating different emotions in ways that words can’t. In this article, we are going to discuss the ‘meaning’ of different tropical flowers when they are exchanged between two people.

1) Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise is a long-petal yellowish orange flower with tropical origin. With its joyful colors and extravagant appearance, it symbolizes excitement and happiness.  Its exchange can convey the sentiments of excitement and joyous anticipation.

2) Bougainvillea

Bougainvilleas are now grown in many hot climate countries. However, their origin is rooted in the Caribbean and Malaysian Islands. In fact, Bougainvillea is the national flower of Granada, a Caribbean Nation.  Bougainvillea has many interesting names in different languages. For instance, Malaysians call the flower ‘Bunga Kekwa’, meaning ‘paper flower’, since its petals and bracts are thin and crispy as paper. Bougainvillea is often used in floral garlands to convey hospitality and the happiness of homecoming.

3) Gardenia

Gardenia is a white tropical flower that has a strong resemblance with Roses. With its bright green stems, a Gardenia bouquet symbolizes the feeling of purity and sincerity. Some people also think that gifting a Gardenia bouquet is the best way to put across undisclosed feelings of affection.

4) Hibiscus

Recognized as the state flower of Hawaii, Hibiscus carries with it an interesting tradition. It was used by young Hawaiian women to announce their relationship status. Tucking a Hibiscus behind the right ear would signal that a woman is open to a new beau while having it tucked behind the left ear would indicate that a woman is already in a committed relationship. Many Hawaiians also consider Hibiscus as a symbol of respect, power, and authority.   

5) Lily

Different varieties of tropical lilies symbolize different sentiments. Thus they are used accordingly in floral exchanges. Giving someone a bouquet of yellow lilies indicates that you are passionate about them. White lilies, on the other hand, symbolizes modesty. Lilly of the Valley conveys the sentiments of a heart’s purity.

6) Plumeria 

Also known as Frangipani, Plumeria is a two-shaded tropical flower. Many florists consider it as the most fragrantly rich tropical flower.  Exchanging Plumeria is often used to signify new beginnings. This is why Plumeria is also used for the announcement of springtime.

7) Orchid

Orchid is another magnificent tropical flower that symbolizes feminine beauty, pride, and sophistication. Orchid gifts are also associated with the communication of thoughtfulness.

We have just learned that different symbolic meanings lie behind different tropical flowers. However, there is one commonality between them all – their exotic beauty that has no parallel.