Delphinium flowers are one of the most unusual and extremely pigmented flowers found in nature.
Not only are the colors of these flowers extremely vivid, but the way these flowers form clusters on top of huge flower spikes add drama and interest into any planting scheme.
It also helps that the heights these flowers reach help fill in any tall gaps in your borders, making your garden lusher.
You would be forgiven for thinking that that’s all there is to these flowers, but their beauty goes deeper than their appearance, as there’s also some interesting symbolism behind these enigmatic flowers.
Behind The Name: What Does ‘Delphinium’ Mean?
‘Delphinium’ refers to a genus which encompasses around 300 species in the ranunculus or buttercup plant family, all of which are flowering perennials.
All are toxic to both humans and animals bred for farming.
The name comes from the Ancient Greek word for dolphin, delphinion, and one of the first records of the flower goes back to at least 70 CE, mentioned in De materia medica, referencing the dolphin-shaped flowers.
But that’s not the only name these flowers are known by. Some people prefer bird’s claw, as the flowers also have this shape, larkspur (see also Larkspur Flower Meaning), and knight’s spur.
Delphinium Flower Symbolism
Delphiniums are largely regarded as cheerful flowers, despite an association with remembrance for loved ones who have died.
On the whole, these gorgeous flowers represent your good wishes, optimism, happiness, and looking toward the future. In some places, the flower is regarded as a symbol of protection and good luck.
They also embody the need to be open to the possibilities the future may have in store, not limiting yourself to any specific goal or vision of the future. This also cements its popularity to confess your feelings for someone.
But the meaning behind the flower is also dictated by the color.
Blue Delphinium Flower Meaning
Blue delphiniums are the most common kind of delphinium, and one of the most beautiful, as the natural blue is one of the deepest found in a plant.
Because of this, blue delphiniums are associated with nobility – of traits which you prize in someone, including grace, forgiveness, and kindness.
They also represent remembrance, new possibilities, and new life.
Pink Delphinium Flower Symbolism
While different colored blooms of the same type usually represent different ideas entirely, that’s not true when it comes to delphiniums. Pink delphinium flowers also represent the above, but it doesn’t stop there.
Pink delphiniums also embody a brand-new start, a fresh chapter in life, or the arrival of a baby and all the possibilities that encompasses.
White Delphinium Flower Meaning
White delphiniums signify remembrance, grace, spirituality, and new stages in life. They are often used to decorate weddings and other religious ceremonies.
Purple Delphinium Flower Symbolism
Purple delphiniums symbolize beauty, wealth, boundless confidence, and royalty, which is true of most purple flowers (see also 60 Best Types of Purple Flowering Plants).
The Cultural Significance Behind the Delphinium
While delphiniums are grown all over the world for their ornamental beauty and vivid color, they were originally used for medicinal purposes during the Medieval period, including treatments for head lice, scabies, and gum disease.
It’s important to note however that many ancient remedies were also severely toxic, and while they treated the original ailment, they also carried the risk of curing the patient, er, permanently.
For example, Dioscorides wrote that while Delphinium staphisagria was useful in treating many ailments, any who had ingested it had to be walked around, as there was a very real danger of them dying.
Many studies are being conducted on the delphinium’s medical value today, as the roots of delphinium denudatum are said to be good for treating brain diseases, aconite poisoning, and fungal infections.
The delphinium is also one of the birth flowers (see also 12 Months Of Birth Flowers: Origins, Meanings and Symbolism) for July.
Delphinium consolida, among other types of delphinium, is used to make a vivid blue ink, straining the juice of the blooms, and mixed with alum.
What does a Delphinium Flower Tattoo Mean?
Delphinium flowers are a fantastic and unusual subject for a tattoo, and it also has the benefit of being a tattoo which contains multiple meanings.
For example, delphinium tattoos often symbolize a specific person you’re very close to, or an ideal or belief which gives you hope for the future, as well as commemorating a fresh start or new chapter within your life.
The Best Time to Give Someone Delphinium Flowers
Delphiniums are at their best during summer, and they are particularly fitting if you know someone who is a July baby, as it is the birth flower for this month.
Delphiniums are perfect for when you want to give some encouragement to someone, especially if they are starting something daunting like a new career, difficult exam, or life stage.
They are also perfect to confess your feelings for someone too, as the bright blooms of a delphinium tell the recipient that they are one of a kind, and you value them deeply.