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The flowers’ meaning in Mexican culture

Mexico is one of the countries in the world with great biodiversity and an innumerable variety of plants and flowers. That wide diversity of vegetation is reflected in vibrant and colorful Mexican culture and traditions.

Since ancient times, in Mexico, plants and flowers have been used for ritual and ornamental purposes. The flowers were also used to make dyes, drinks, crafts, fabrics, sculptures, gastronomic dishes, and medicines.

Mexico’s most popular flowers

The symbolism of Mexican flowers permeates various aspects of daily life, from religious ceremonies to artistic expressions and culinary practices. Flowers in Mexico carry cultural significance, adding depth to traditions.

Exploring the world of Mexican flowers reveals a tapestry of cultural connections. Each flower and petal unfolds stories, traditions, and a connection to the roots deeply embedded in the soil of this culturally rich nation.

Flower traditions in Mexico

Rich Mexican mythology attributes certain flowers to multiple deities, so each flower has a unique and special meaning or symbol. Flowers are a key symbol in the vibrant celebrations of many famous Mexican festivals.

In the Nahuatl language, the word “xochi” means flower. The word “xochi” (“flower”) is used in many names for Mexican topography. For example, Xochimilco, Xochitepec, Xochicalco, Axochiapan, Xochistlahuaca, etc.

Some many plants and flowers have retained their native Nahua names: coyolsúchil, jilosúchil, jocosúchil, suchiate, ocelosúchil, suchipal, xiloxochitl, and so on. Without a doubt, Mexico is a country of flowers!

The symbolism of some Mexican flowers

Since ancient times, flowers have occupied a central place in many popular festivals and traditions in Mexico. Flowers have been a way of expressing feelings and desires in many fundamental Mexican cultural rituals.

Mexicans use flowers, bright floral ornaments, and die-cut stickers with flowers in a variety of ways to express love, sadness, and gratitude. It can be to say “Happy birthday my love” or even “Happy birthday cousin“.

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia Diversifolia)

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Mexican Sunflower symbolizes faith, loyalty, and adoration. Sunflowers grow on shrubs, among the scrubby grasses at the sides of roads or forests, from summer to early autumn. Its blooms look similar to a daisy.

This flower can be found in the states of Chihuahua, Durango, and Tamaulipas. The petals of this flower are mostly in shades of yellow and red. Each bush grows from 80 to 120 flowers, which makes it dense and beautiful.

Laelia Orchid (Laelia Rubescens)

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Laelia Orchid also called the “rosy-tinted laelia”, blooms all year long and grows on trees or rocks. This stunning Mexican orchid usually has pale shades of pink blossoms. Laelia Orchid symbolizes love, luxury, and beauty.

Pineapple Sage (Salvia Elegans)

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Pineapple Sage blooms from late summer to early autumn. These flowers smell a lot like a pineapple, their blossoms are a bright red color and the foliage can be used for cooking when crushed. This flower symbolizes healing.

Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia Spicigera)

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Mexican Honeysuckle blooms in spring. The plant blossoms are small and thin flowers that are bright orange. Some varieties have a wonderful smell and make for a great addition to any garden. This flower symbolizes happiness.

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

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Poinsettia blooms from late autumn to early winter. The red color of the plant is not the blossoms but rather the foliage. Poinsettia can be used for medicinal reasons and also for dyeing clothes purpose.

These Poinsettia red flowers are a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem, are associated with the celebration of Christ’s birthday, and are seen throughout the world as a symbol of the Christmas season.

Mexican Marigold (Tagetes erecta)

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Mexican Marigold is part of the daisy family. These flowers come in warm colors and bloom from late Spring to Autumn.

Mexican Marigolds are used on occasions of grief and despair and religious ceremonies. These flowers are the staple of the Day of the Dead and one of the purest offerings to Mexican deities.

Mexican Morning Glory (Ipomoea Hederacea)

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Mexican Morning Glory is commonly a blue, purple, and white flower and is usually found in dry locations. These flowers bloom from summer to autumn. They grow after rainfall and only open up during the morning.

The lovely unique shape of the petals looks like a trumpet.

Mexican Morning Glory symbolizes unfulfilled love.

Mexican Passion Flower (Passiflora Mexicana)

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The Mexican Passion Flower is one of the most unusual and distinct Mexican blooms. These flowers bloom in late summer.

The vines have round-tipped, bilobed leaves. The flower comes in two color combinations: red and green, or yellow and purple. The plant is known for its pungent odor and for bearing passionate fruit.

The Mexican Passion Flower symbolizes the death of Christ.

Chocolate Cosmos (Cosmos Atrosanguineus)

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Chocolate Cosmos blooms in summer. This flower is a member of the cosmos family, and its blossoms vary from a hue of dark red to brown. The name “chocolate” represents the color of the flower.

The flower emits a cocoa smell but is not suitable for consumption.

Chocolate Cosmos symbolizes beauty and order.

Mexican Poppy (Argemone Ochroleuca)

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Mexican Poppy has small blooms that can spread very quickly around. The plant blooms in spring and they usually appear in shades of yellow and white. The Mexican Poppy symbolizes sleep and peace.

Sword Lily (Gladioli)

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Sword Lily blooms in early summer. The flowers on each stem grow on top of each other, resembling a sword. The flower Sword Lily comes in various colors including shades of red, yellow, and pink colors.

Also known as Gladiolus, they are used in the Day of the Dead celebration.

Sword Lily symbolizes sympathy and memories.

Belize Sage (Salvia Miniata)

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Belize Sage blooms in summer, it flourishes in compact spaces, making it easy to grow in almost any container. The flowers are tiny and red-orange in color. Belize Sage is a symbol of protection and healing.

Dahlia (Dahlia Pinnata)

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Dahlia is a symbol of elegance, creativity, and dignity. Dahlia blooms from summer to autumn. The interesting petal pattern makes the flowers intriguing to look at. Dahlia is also commonly used in salads.

In 1963 the dahlia was declared the national flower of Mexico.

Dahlia became the national flower of Mexico because of its multiple uses, long history, and intriguing appearance. The tubers of the flower were used as a food crop and the Aztecs used the flower to treat epilepsy.

Yucca Flower (Yucca Baccata)

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Yucca Flower is a succulent and bears fruit that’s shaped like a banana.

The flower blooms in summer.

The blossoms are mostly white and have a pleasant smell. Parts of the plant are edible as well and it also is used for medicinal and beauty purposes. The Yucca Flower symbolizes protection and purification.

Birds of Paradise (Strelitzia Reginae)

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The Birds of Paradise are popularly known as “crane flowers”. These flowers grow on top of the base of the stalk and resemble the head of a plumed bird. The Birds of Paradise bloom from summer to autumn.

This evergreen perennial can grow between 1.22 meters and 1.83 meters tall, and the foliage can spread between 0.61 meters and 1.22 meters wide. This flower is a symbol of beauty and excellence.

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