Floriography, also known as the language of flowers, is the practice of attributing meanings and symbolism to flowers and has been recorded in traditional cultures around the world for thousands of years.
ALLIUM - Patience, Good Fortune, Prosperity & Unity
The word allium is Latin for garlic and is a flowering plant belonging to the onion genus. Alliums are one of the earliest cultivated plants used in food and medicine. Many species contain allicen, known today as a powerful antiseptic, and used throughout history to clean wounds, ease chest infections and reduce fevers. Many cultures believed in allium’s ability to ward off evil spirits and creatures of the night, bunches were hung in windows in many parts of the world, well into the 19th century. In Hindu mythology, Sachi, the wife of Indra, king of the gods, sipped the nectar of immortality, but couldn’t digest it so he spat it to earth. From that nectar the allium flower blossomed. In Christian myth it is said to have blossomed from the devil’s footprints as he left the Garden of Eden.
Bird’s-foot Trefoil has over seventy names in Britain alone, including ‘Eggs and Bacon’, which references the bright, sunshine yellow petals, which are tinged with a deep red as the flower ages. Other names that describe the distinctive seed pods include ‘Granny’s Toenails’ and ‘Tom Thumb’, a godchild of the Queen of the fairies, who was a restless goblin with dry, black fingers ending in a claw. Bird’s-foot Trefoil is strongly associated with protection; the flowers were added to protective wreaths on Midsummer’s night and school children would pick them to ward against their teacher’s wrath! The advancement of Christianity enhanced this connection, the trifoliate leaves were linked to the holy trinity, and the trefoil design was heavily used in gothic architecture. A possible explanation for the Victorian’s dark meaning of revenge, is the small amounts of Cyanide the plant contains. Despite this the flowers were brewed by herbalists in the Sannio region of Italy as a cure for sleep deprivation, anxiety and lack of energy.
BASIL - Success & Good Wishes
The name basil comes from the Greek word for king 'basilius' and is commonly referred to as the ‘king of herbs’ by chefs around the world. Basil is deeply significant to various religions, used to prepare and sprinkle holy water and in many funeral rituals to ensure safe passage to the afterlife. Despite this basil has a conflicted history in terms of its associations and meanings. In ancient Greek and Roman writings, it was associated with hatred and insanity. In European folklore, throughout the middle ages, it was traditional to gift your sweetheart with a pot of basil to signify your love, and presented to guests as a parting gift with best wishes. It is said witches would drink basil juice before flying on their brooms and that carrying a sprig of basil in your pocket will bring wealth and success.
BLACKTHORN - Fate, Hope, Protection & Good Fortune
Blackthorn today has a negative and sinister reputation, possibly due to its importance to pagans and therefore entrenchment in Celtic folklore. In ancient Ireland, it was known as straif, believed to be the origin of the modern English word strife. But original beliefs were that blackthorn was a force for protection and hope against adversity. The Celtic goddess of Winter, Cailleach, is depicted with a blackthorn staff which she uses to summon storms. Emerging at Samhain, she takes over the year from Brigid, the Summer goddess. Blackthorn has such a powerful magic that a tribe of fairy guardians protect the trees from human disturbance and witches use the wood for wands. Carry a blackthorn leaf, flower or berry charm to attract the powers of good fortune.
BLUEBELL - Loyalty, Constancy, Humility & Gratitude
Britain’s favourite flower, the iconic Bluebell is widely associated with ancient forests and enchanting Spring carpets of colour and fragrance. Bluebells are the fairy flower, they are said to ring when a gathering of their kin is called, but if a human hears the sound, it signifies their death knell. To pick Bluebells is strictly forbidden by the fairies, a child doing so will disappear forever and adults will be led astray by pixies and wander lost until rescued. Anyone wearing a garland of Bluebells is compelled to speak only the truth, and they can be used in love spells to help you win the heart of the one you desire. They are also said to prevent nightmares, either placed inside a pillow, or hung near the bed.
BROOM - Protection, Courage, Heroism, Energy, Vitality, Plenty, Humility & Fertility
Across northern Europe, broom was considered a symbol of courage and heroism and was woven into the clothes of warriors, eventually becoming heraldry decoration in royal coats of arms. It was used in folk medicine for many ailments including gout and heart conditions and King Henry VIII famously drank a broom infused tea as an antidote to his many excesses. As the name suggests many brooms were made from broom, as were baskets and the thatching on cottages. It was believed that sweeping the ground with a brush of broom will cleanse the area of unwanted influences. Broom was said to protect against poltergeist activity and was hung in the home to keep evil at bay. The flowers were considered a sign of energy, vitality and plenty and were used for decoration during the Whitsun festival. It was traditional to include a bundle of broom in wedding celebrations and for the bride to keep a broom staff close by the night before, to enhance fertility. Ashes of broom
Cinquefoil is a member of the rose family and is widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere. The flowers are encompassed by 5 leaves said to signify love, money, health, power and wisdom, carrying a cinquefoil will grant you any of these attributes. Medieval knights would often decorate their shields with the 5 leaf symbol, the right to do so only granted by heraldry and permitted to those who had achieved mastery. In the middle ages, cinquefoil was a powerful ingredient used in magic and many potions including, witches flying ointment, love potions and prosperity spells. Fishermen tied cinquefoil to their nets in the hope of a bountiful catch and it could be used to remove a curse or hex. It is said that to protect your home from negative forces, fill an eggshell with cinquefoil and leave it in a safe place.
COW PARSLEY - Safety, Refuge, Peace, Protection, Fantasy & Beauty
Cow Parsley has many names in Britain, and is fondly thought upon, being one of the first plants to flower abundantly along the hedgerows and roadsides in Spring. The name Queen Anne’s Lace seemingly came about during her walks around Kensington, when she proclaimed the paths had been decorated especially for her by the plant, which resembled the lace pillows her ladies in waiting carried. The origin of the name Mother Die comes from a folk tale that children were told, that if they picked cow parsley, their mother would die. This threat would deter children who couldn't tell the difference between that and the closely resembling and highly poisonous hemlock. It is also said to ‘break mother’s heart’ and be unlucky indoors. It’s believed this could be because the petals drop soon after picking, adding to her workload! Associated with fantasy and beauty, because of the delicate lace like flowers, many women would add the flowers to their ritual baths in the hope of attracting love. Cow Parsley is also known as ‘Bishops Flower’ or ‘Bird’s nest’ because it curls into a concave shape as it dries, this has led to a strong association with safety, sanctuary and refuge.
DAISY - Hope, New Beginnings, Love & Innocence
The name 'daisy' derives from the Anglo Saxon 'daeges eage', 'day's eye', because the flower opens in the day, but closes at night. In Victorian times it was said that if you stepped on seven daisies at one time, you knew that Summer had arrived and that dreaming of daisies in Spring would bring good luck, but bad in Winter. Long associated with love, they also believed that picking the first daisy of the season would fill you with romantic desire, and sleeping with a daisy under your pillow would encourage the return of an absent lover. Daisies also have a significant connection with children and innocence, the tradition of making daisy chains was a popular past-time and it was believed that wearing one would protect against abduction by fairies. Throughout the world, daisies are believed to have prophetic qualities. The well known chant of ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ as the petals are plucked is most popular in Europe, whilst in America it is to determine their future spouse’s calling, ‘rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief; merchant, tailor, banker, chief.’
DILL - Passion, Protection & Good Fortune
Best known as a herb for cooking throughout the world, dill has also historically been used in a wide range of traditional medicines. The word dill originates from the Norse word dylla, meaning to sooth and is first recorded in ancient Egyptian medical texts dated to around 3000 B.C. In ancient Greece it was used to make fragrance and thought of as a sign of wealth and good luck. In the middle ages Christian Monks believed it to have magical properties that would keep the devil at bay, it was also used against witchcraft. If someone thought a witch had cast a spell on them, they would make a concoction which contained dill leaves, or wear a charm made from dill to protect themselves from the spell. In German folklore, a bride desiring an equal marriage could secretly bring dill and mustard seeds to the wedding and speak the words “I have you mustard and dill, husband, when I speak, you stay still!”
FERN - Magic, Enchantment, Confidence, Sincerity & Shelter
The fern has always had a place in European folklore as a mysterious plant with special powers. Fern-fever (pteridomania) is a term for the Victorian craze of fern collecting. Considered a British eccentricity, it was a fashionable hobby where enthusiasts hosted overnight expeditions to collect rare species in the belief they boosted their love life. Confusion over how ferns reproduced led to the belief throughout Europe that possession of a fern seed would grant invisibility, and that the magical plants only produced a single, spectacular flower holding the seed, once a year, at midnight on Mid Summer’s eve. Legend has it that should you find yourself surrounded by ferns at midnight and no sound can be heard, the fairy Puck will appear and give you a purse of gold. Tread carefully though, for should you step on a fern, you will become lost and confused, possibly wandering into Fairyland, never to be seen again.
FORGET-ME-NOT - Memories & Love
Forget-me-not’s Latin name ‘Myosotis’ comes from an ancient Greek word meaning ‘mouse’s ear’ which the foliage was thought to resemble. In German folklore, the tale of a knight and a lady gave the forget-me-not its name. One evening whilst strolling along a river bank she spotted a beautiful unknown flower. The chivalrous knight bent down to collect a bunch, but the weight of his armour unbalanced him and he plunged into the river. As he was dragged beneath the surface he cried out “forget me not” and his beloved wore those flowers in her hair until she died. Henry IV adopted it as his emblem in 1398, during his time in exile, and it is one of the symbols of the freemasons, in order that they can identify one another secretly. It was believed that wearing forget-me-nots would protect against witches in the month of May, and more generally from faery magic. Historically, forget-me-nots were worn by lovers to remember to each other while they were apart and Victorian ladies would send them to a distant friend to convey that they are in their thoughts.
GORSE - Independence, Affection, Protection, Energy & Intelligence
Gorse is best known for its associations with the sun, its bright yellow flowers a sign of vibrancy and energy. It is an intelligent light seeker, the seeds will fling as far as possible from their parents to establish themselves independently, in order to maximise their exposure to the sun. It thrives in hostile growing conditions where many other species struggle, and is often used for land reclamation, where it nitrogen-fixing qualities help other plants to become established. Gorse, or Furze as it is known in parts of the UK, was a traditional May Day gift between young lovers in the South West. Carrying a sprig of gorse is said to attract gold, provide protection or lift the spirits of the downhearted. In Wales, hedges of gorse were thought to protect the home against evil and dark fairies, who couldn’t penetrate the hedge.
GYPSOPHILA - Freedom, Love, Friendship, Reconnection & Innocence
Gypsophila is also known as baby’s breath, a name which became popular in the late 1800s because of its delicate odour and bloom. It is a native of Eastern Europe, but nowadays grows happily all over the world and thrives in dry, sandy soil. Gypsophila literally translates as lover of chalk. Widely associated with innocence and ever lasting love, the flower is a firm florist’s favourite used in bridal bouquets and christenings. Gypsophila was a common ingredient in folklore medicines to treat coughs and colds, and their high saponin content is used in cleaning products, camera film emulsions and fire extinguishers. It is said to be the fairy’s favourite flower and can be used to attract their positive energies, it is also a powerful ingredient used in love spells and potions.
HAWTHORN - Hope & Fertility
The name ‘hawthorn' is derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘hagedorn’ meaning ‘hedge thorn’, it's the origin of the word 'hag', and the wood traditionally used to make witches’ besoms (broomsticks) and wands. Known as the fairy tree, it is believed to be a gateway to the otherworld, inhabited by powerful fairies. Heavily associated with May Day or Beltane, it was traditional for the young of a village to head out overnight, returning at dawn with baskets of hawthorn blossom, and newly conceived babies! Young women wanting to ensure their beauty in the coming year, would rise at dawn to bathe in dew gathered from hawthorn flowers, and young men would wash their hands with it, hoping to become more skilled at their craft. If a hawthorn tree stood over a holy well, people would tie rags (or clouties) to it, believing the healing properties would be absorbed by the cloth. The Holy Thorn of Glastonbury, which is said to date back to Joseph of Arimathea, had the unusual characteristic of flowering twice a year, in May and again around Christmas. Descendants of the original tree, taken from grafting, retain this feature and each year a sprig is presented to the monarch, a tradition dating back to the King James 1st in the 17th century.
HEATHER - Protection, Luck, Love, Admiration, Solitude & Beauty
The Latin name for Heather, Calluna, is derived from the Greek Kallyno meaning “to beautify or sweep clean”, referring to its traditional use in besoms and brooms. It is believed Heather is the source of the word heathen, originally used to refer to people who lived on the heath and followed the old ways, to this day it is used to make honey, ale and mead. Scottish farmers carried flaming torches of heather around their fields before midsummer to ensure a good harvest. Heather is said to grow over a fairy’s final resting place and it ignites the flames of fairy passions, opening the door between the otherworld and this. Carrying heather will attract positive energies, good luck and protection from danger. It is often a part of the bridal bouquet to ensure luck, peace and cooperation in the couple’s household.
The name hydrangea comes from the Greek ‘hydros’ and ‘angos’ meaning water and jar, and their colour depends on the acidity of the soil they grow in. A pink flower can be turned blue by increasing the acidity. Originally from the far East, legend has it that a Japanese Emperor gifted a plant to the family of the woman he loved as a token of his sincere apologies for neglecting her, and they still represent apology and heartfelt emotion to this day. Nowadays, it is common for hydrangea to be given as a 4th wedding anniversary gift to represent gratitude and unity but the Victorians took a different view. The plant was seen to represent arrogance, boastfulness and vanity, due in part because it produced wonderful and abundant flowers but so few seeds. They would also be sent by a spurned suitor to the woman who had refused him, insinuating her cold and frigid. Perhaps this led to the folklore that growing a hydrangea near your front door would leave your daughter unable to find a partner! Hydrangea is a favoured flower of the fae, and burning the bark of a plant will break the curse of a witch.
IVY - Friendship, Loyalty, Protection, Love, Luck, Fertility & Tenacity
In Celtic tradition ivy was thought to provide protection from evil when growing on or near a dwelling, however misfortune would strike should it fall down or die. Druids believed it to be incredibly powerful, due to its evergreen nature and ability to thrive in the harshest environments. Ivy was sacred to the Greek god of wine, Dionysus, and was grown or hung in a wreath on the outside of an Inn, to show that good wine was available. Ivy was believed to have many healing properties for humans but was also fed to cattle which would often go on to make startling recoveries. On some farms in Shropshire, to keep away the devil for the following year, every animal would be fed a piece of Ivy before midday on Christmas morning. Ivy has a long association with love and was used in many spells and potions. It was believed you would dream of your future partner if you slept with a leaf under your pillow. It is often still used at weddings, intertwined with holly to symbolise fertility and good luck and at Yule-tide to bring peace to the household.
LAVENDER - Happiness, Love, Devotion & Peace
From mummification to perfume, for washing and scenting clothes, a cure for migraine and a defence against the plague, lavender’s history and importance to people is as old as time. Named after the Latin verb ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash’ due to its association with cleanliness, in medieval times washerwoman were known as lavenders. Jesus’ mother Mary, was said to have hung his clothes on a lavender bush to dry and thereby transferring his scent to the plant. In folklore, Cleopatra was said to wear it as her secret weapon in seducing Mark Anthony and Julius Caesar. It has been used for centuries as an incense to ward off evil, and placed in the marital bed is thought to prevent quarrelling. Witches are said to prize the herb for its ability to increase clairvoyance, and a combination of mugwort, chamomile, lavender, and rose petals will attract sprites, fairies, brownies and elves.
LILY OF THE VALLEY - Return To Happiness, Trust, Humility & Sweetness
Lily of the valley has been cultivated for over 400 years and has a rich folklore and popularity throughout Europe. The latin Convallaria majalis translates as ‘that which belongs to May’ which makes it the recognised flower of May and the official flower of the Gemini star sign. On May 1, 1561, King Charles IX of France was gifted a lily of the valley for luck, he continued the tradition by giving the women of his court the sweet scented flower every year. Today, every year in France, bunches are sold on the streets and people wear a sprig in their clothing. The May 1st pagan festival of Beltane uses lily of the valley in its celebrations and it’s also a symbol for International Worker’s Day (May Day). Lily of the Valley is thought to protect gardens from evil spirits and witches’ spells. It is also considered the flower of the fairies, its tiny bells used as cups from which to drink.
MEADOWSWEET - Beauty, Happiness, Peace & Protection
Meadowsweet has been used for millennia to treat various ailments and is the plant from which aspirin was derived. It has a pleasant taste and aroma which led to its use in flavouring many types of food and drink such as beer, mead and jam. Queen Elizabeth I was said to favour its use in her chambers as a strewing herb, the practice of placing herbs and rushes on the floor to give a pleasant aroma and provide warmth. In Wales, it is mentioned in the Mabinogion where the wizards Math and Gwydion create the beautiful woman Blodeuwedd (Flowerface) from the flowers of meadowsweet, broom and oak. If you have been robbed, gather meadowsweet on Midsummer to gain information on the thieves. Place it on water, if it sinks the thief is a man, if it floats, a woman. Fresh meadowsweet is used in love mixtures and potions and is kept in the home to bring peace. It is also claimed that there will be no snakes where it grows meaning there can be no evil.
POPPY - Love, Peace, Remembrance, Dreams, Success, Magic & Fertility
The poppy has a rich and extensive history and is the birth flower of August. First cultivated in Mesopotamia around 5000 BCE, its well documented pain relieving qualities made it the go to plant for healers in most of the ancient and modern civilisations. Inevitably, such widespread use lead to a wealth of folklore. Poppies are heavily associated with sleep and dreaming. It was believed that if you wrote a question on a slip of paper, placed it in a poppy head and slept with it under your pillow, your dreams will guide you to the answer, and hoping to dream about their future spouses on St Andrew’s night, young girls would throw poppy seeds behind them. Poppies have a powerful magic and can be used in love and invisibility potions. It was believed that wearing a necklace of poppy heads would enhance fertility, and that eating bread with poppy seeds on New Year’s Eve would bring an abundance for the following year. In Welsh folklore, yellow poppies should never be bought inside as they invite headaches, storms and lightning strikes, but seeds spread around the house would protect against fairy enchantments.
PRIMROSE - Kindness, New Love, Patience, Nurturing & Courage
Primrose, from the Latin "prima rosa", meaning first rose or flower, is a favourite for its early Spring blossoms and has come to symbolise first love. The five petals of the flower represent birth, initiation, consummation, repose and death, whilst a rare primrose with 6 petals is said to bring luck in love and marriage. The sacred flower of the Norse goddess of love, Freya, Primroses also have a long association with fairies and folklore. Posies left or growing next to a doorstep encourage fairies to bless the house and it is said that if you touch a fairy rock with the right number of primroses in a posy you will be shown the way to fairyland.
ROSEMARY - Love & Remembrance
Rosemary has long been associated with improving memory & sprigs were worn by students taking exams in ancient Greece. Nowadays, it is rosemary oil that is popular. In Britain the plant has traditionally been used for remembrance, it was thrown by mourners as the coffin was lowered at a funeral. Shakespeare’s interest in floriography is shown in Hamlet, when Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember.” It is believed that where rosemary flourishes, the woman rules & that a man who is indifferent to the fragrance of rosemary, is unable to truly love a woman. In the middle ages it was commonly used in wedding ceremonies as a love charm.
SAGE - Health, Wisdom & Respect
The botanical name for sage is Salvia, which derives from the Latin word Salveo, "to heal" or "to save” and has been associated with good health, longevity and often immortality by virtually every civilisation in history, as attested by the old proverb “Why should a man die who grows sage in his garden?” It was still recommended as a treatment for an array of ailments in medical textbooks as recently as the 1920s. It is said sage can be displayed and burned at funerals and remembrance ceremonies to help relieve the grief of the mourners. It can also be used as smudging stick and an incense to cleanse and purify an area. For a wish to come true, write it on a sage leaf, sleep with it under your pillow for three days, then bury it.
SHAMROCK - Luck
The Shamrock is a three leaf clover, it is the national flower of Ireland and one of the county's most recognised and loved symbols. They were sacred to druids, who believed it would combat evil spirits because the three leaves formed a triad, and three was a mystical number in Celtic beliefs. St. Patrick is said to have used the shamrock leaf as a metaphor, helping illustrate the mystery of the holy trinity, to the pagans as Christianity spread through the country. The tradition of wearing and 'drowning' the Shamrock on Saint Patrick's Day can be traced back to the early 1700s. For good luck, it is usually included in the bouquet and boutonniere of an Irish bride and groom.
SPEEDWELL - Travel, Kindness, Loyalty & Protection
Speedwell, perhaps due to its name, has historically been considered a good luck charm for travellers, in Ireland it was sewn into clothes before a journey to protect against accidents. It was also known as Bird’s Eye, giving rise to the common British folklore that warned if you pick the flower, birds will peck out your eyes. Speedwell was highly prized in folk medicine, particularly in the West of England and Wales, as a remedy for many ailments but especially for coughs and asthma. Its scientific name Veronica chamaedrys alludes to the legendary Saint Veronica, who is said to have wiped the face of Jesus as he went to Calvary. The flowers supposedly resemble the markings left on the cloth with which she wiped his face. In Germany, speedwell is also known by the comical name 'Männertreu', or 'men's faithfulness' because it wilts so quickly after picking.
SNOWDROP - Hope, Consolation & Tenacity
The snowdrop is one of the most loved flowers throughout the world and has been a universal symbol of hope for many cultures throughout history. Snowdrop’s Latin name Galanthus, translates as Milk Flower but it's also known as the ‘Fair Maid of February,’ for the joy it brings at the back end of the bleak Winter months. According to German folklore, snowdrops were the only flower willing to lend their colour to the snow, and overwhelmed with gratitude the snow granted snowdrops the protection from the bitter cold and icy conditions, to be able to flower when the others can’t. Snowdrops were incredibly important to the Victorians who believed that taking the flower into the house could bring ill-fortune, turn milk sour and spoil eggs. This superstition was not for everyone though, the good folks of Shropshire and Herefordshire would carry a snowdrop inside as part of a house blessing ceremony. Believed to have been brought to the UK by Italian monks in the 15th Century, many Victorians embraced planting snowdrops on the graves of loved ones which is why you will often find them there today.
SWEET PEA - Gratitude, Tenderness & Farewell
The sweet pea is native to Italy and the Aegean, but was cultivated in England by Henry Eckford specifically for the garden trade during the Victorian era. In 1901, Silas Cole, the head gardener to the then Earl Spencer, discovered a natural mutation with increased fragrance and huge frilly petals more reminiscent of today’s flowers and named it ‘Countess Spencer.’ Widely regarded as the birth flower of April, they are considered lucky and linked to St Patrick’s Day. It is believed that if you plant sweet pea seeds before the sun rises on this particular day, you will be granted both luck and an abundance of extra fragrant flowers. In France, the sweet pea is believed to be a good omen for a bride, encouraging those around her to be truthful and give her strength and persistence.
THYME - Courage
Thyme one of the world’s oldest cultivated plants and used by the earliest civilisations in medicine, cooking and perfume. Native to the Mediterranean, thyme was spread throughout Europe by the Romans, whose soldiers added it to their bathwater to increase bravery, strength and vigour. In medieval Britain, ladies embroidered sprigs of thyme into their knights' scarves and infused tea with it to increase courage and keep away nightmares. Throughout the ages, thyme has played a prominent role in funerals, where it was burned as incense and placed inside the coffin. It was believed the souls of the deceased passed to the flowers of the plant and including them ensured safe passage to the afterlife. According to legend, any place where thyme grows wild is a place blessed by the fairies and they would gather and dance there on Midsummer’s eve.
VIOLET - Love, Faithfulness, Affection & Luck
Violets have had a long and celebrated place in the culture and science of civilisations since the ancient Greeks. It was long used as a pain relief because of the presence of salicylic acid, the chief ingredient in aspirin. The violet is the official flower of February, and the true Valentine flower. Legend has it, that when St Valentine was imprisoned he crushed the violets growing outside his cell to make ink which he used to write messages to his lover. Violets are useful in love spells and may be carried as an amulet to increase luck in love. It is said that if you dream of violets, your life is about to change for the better. They are considered a good luck gift to any woman, in any season, and it’s believed that if you harvest the first violet of Spring, your dearest wish will be granted.
YARROW - Healing & Inspiration
Yarrow’s botanical name Achillea millefolium, translates as "Achilles' thousand leaved herb” named after the legendary warrior of ancient Greece. Achilles was said to have used yarrow to treat his soldiers wounds on the battlefield because of its many healing attributes. Yarrow has a rich and varied folklore dating from the earliest civilisations. In ancient China, yarrow sticks were used in divination rituals of the I Ching system and Druids would use dried stalks to divine the weather. In western culture yarrow was believed to protect against evil spirits and negative energies, so has been used in burial ceremonies and protection amulets for centuries. During the Summer Solstice, yarrow was burned to ward off evil and tied above a child’s cradle or the entrance of the house to bring good luck in the coming year. It is also believed that including yarrow in the bouquet, garland or buttonhole at a wedding will ensure 7 years of lasting love for the couple.