Iris flower meanings include nobility, chivalry, wisdom, messages, faith, and purity. With nearly 300 species in a rainbow of colors, the iris has inspired storytellers and artists for centuries. In this post, you’ll learn about commonly shared iris symbols and meanings, including color meanings. In addition, you’ll learn about the iris as a symbol in cultural mythology as well as its spiritual meanings.
Table of Contents
- What does the iris symbolize?
- Detailed Iris Symbols and Meanings
- Iris Flower Color Meanings
- Blue Iris Meaning
- Purple Iris Flower Meaning
- Red Iris Flower Meaning
- Orange Iris Meaning
- Pink Irises
- Yellow Iris Flowers
- White Iris Flower Meaning
- Brown Irises
- Black Iris Meaning
- Iris Flower Spiritual Meaning
- Iris Symbolism in Christianity
- Iris Meaning in Islam
- The Iris in Cultural Mythology and Folklore
- Iris Meaning in Greek Mythology
- Iris Symbolism in Ancient Egypt
- Iris Symbolism in France and the Fleur-de-Lis
- Iris Symbolism in Asia
- Iris Tattoo Meaning
What does the iris symbolize?
- Faith and Hope
Detailed Iris Symbols and Meanings
Here are some of the qualities that the iris represents:
Long associated with royalty, the iris embodies nobility in its ideal form. These qualities include leading by example and with service instead of fear. Thus, iris flowers make ideal gifts for people whom you look up to and who have inspired you in some way.
The iris is also a symbol of chivalry. In our modern world, some may think of chivalry as holding the door open for another person. However, it means much more. In ancient times, chivalry encompassed the knightly code of conduct. This included valor, heroism, justice, honor, and a willingness to help the weak. Thus, the iris was emblazoned on many coats of arms, some in the form of a fleur-de-lis symbol.
Just as some flowers represent innocence, the iris symbolizes wisdom and experience. These complex flowers embody the kind of beauty that gets better with age, as well as the kind of knowledge that can only be gained by life experience.
Iris flower meaning also includes messages. In Victorian England, giving an iris to someone meant you had a special message for them. And on a spiritual level, like butterfly or hummingbird meaning, the iris is associated with messages from your angels.
Faith and Hope
The iris is also a symbol of faith and hope. So, if you are walking and see irises along your path, it’s a sign that you should find hope and believe in good outcomes, even if you’re feeling pessimistic or down.
As their name implies, water irises are semi-aquatic species of the flower that grow in water and marshy environments. They are special in that they remove toxins from the environment. In fact, yellow flag irises can be used in sewage treatment because of this special quality.
Because of this, the iris is also a symbol of purity. As with lotus flower or lily flower meaning, the iris can grow in murky or muddy environments, yet still bloom into a beautiful flower. All of these flowers symbolize the ability to transforms our lives for the better.
Iris Flower Color Meanings
Irises comes in a rainbow of colors, and each one has special meanings. Here are some iris color meanings:
Blue Iris Meaning
A blue iris symbolizes spiritual faith, trust, and loyalty. As the saying “a true-blue friend” goes, giving the gift of blue iris flowers, whether bulbs or in a bouquet, is a lovely way to honor to long-term friendship and other trusted relationship. In addition, blue irises symbolize faith in your spiritual path or that of a loved one.
Purple Iris Flower Meaning
What do purple irises symbolize? Long associated with royalty, the color purple is a way of paying tribute to and honoring another. It’s also the color of pride and confidence. Therefore, purple irises symbolize respect and honor – whether for others or even yourself.
Purple irises make lovely gifts for people who have taught you wisdom, such as parents, teachers, and other mentors. They are also the perfect gift for a 25th wedding anniversary.
In addition, purple iris meaning includes peace and harmony, as it blends two very different colors: cool blue and warm red. Therefore, purple irises are ideal to plant in a peace garden or to give to another as a symbol of goodwill, understanding, and forgiveness.
In addition, violet and purple are the hues associated with the seventh chakra, which rules your super-conscious or spiritual awareness. Therefore, purple irises are lovely flowers to have in a meditation space or garden.
Red Iris Flower Meaning
A red iris symbolizes security, passion, and faithfulness in romantic love. The color red governs the first, or root, chakra, which rules your primal instincts and the foundational aspects of your life that provide security. Thus, planting red irises or giving them as gifts is a wonderful symbol of commitment and creating sanctuary in your romantic relationship or home environment.
Orange Iris Meaning
An orange iris flower symbolizes courage and wellness. Orange irises make lovely gifts for loved one who are getting a medical procedure or are dealing with health challenges. They can give them confidence and hope that everything will go well. They are also ideal symbols to build your own self-confidence and to energize physical vitality.
A pink iris symbolizes renewed faith in love and in chivalry. Thus, they make ideal gifts for friends and family members who have had their hearts broken. The pink iris can help to restore their faith in love and healthy relationships.
Yellow Iris Flowers
Yellow iris meaning includes optimism, purity, and passionate faith. Irises, especially some species of yellow irises, are used in water purification, so they are ideal symbols for regeneration and renewal. In the same way, yellow iris meaning also symbolizes the release of sadness or negative emotions that are holding you back. In essence, the yellow iris embodies looking on the bright side and believing in positive outcomes.
White Iris Flower Meaning
Like white butterfly meanings, the white iris symbolizes messages from angels, spiritual faith, and purity. They make ideal gifts for newborns as well as to honor those who have passed on to the spirit realm. In addition, white irises bring hope for new beginnings, so they are ideal flowers for bridal bouquets, wedding and baby showers, christenings, graduations, and retirement gifts.
A brown iris symbolizes stability, security, and warm feelings. A brown iris is an ideal gift for a friend or someone who has been a teacher or mentor in your life. In essence, the brown iris is the color of soil, which is a building block for life. So, brown irises make lovely gifts for people in your life who are down to Earth and who have provided you with foundational wisdom.
Black Iris Meaning
Black iris meanings include elegance, independence, wisdom, mystery, and rebellion. The presence of black irises in a garden can bring an enlightening contrast to the flashier flowers. A gift of black irises is a wonderful tribute to someone in your life who is the “real deal” – an authentic person and an old soul who has enlightened you in some important way.
Iris Flower Spiritual Meaning
As they symbolize wisdom, irises are representative of reaching a level of spiritual enlightenment. As with lily and lotus flower meaning, water irises can grow in muddy, murky environments to blow into beautiful blossoms. So, they are synonymous with the human spirit undergoing challenges in the material world only to evolve into a more enlightened soul.
On a spiritual level, the iris also symbolizes the spiritual teacher or mentor who helps to guide you along the path of spiritual growth and enlightenment.
Iris Symbolism in Christianity
In Christianity, the three petals on an iris flower symbolize the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Iris Meaning in Islam
In Islam, iris flowers are placed on the graves of loved ones to show honor, devotion, and remembrance.
Associated Spirit Animals
The iris shares traits and symbiosis with certain wild animals and insects. Birds, ladybugs, wasps, and lacewing insects help to protect irises as they prey on the insects that eat iris flowers and their leaves. In addition, irises help to support the ecosystems of meadows and wetland habitats, so they are beneficial to fish, frogs, turtles, dragonflies, and other wildlife who share these habitats.
On a spiritual level, the iris shares symbolism with the deer and the stag spirit animals as both represent nobility. The iris flower also shares synergies the hawk spirit animal as they both symbolize messages and spiritual awareness. In addition, the iris is associated with the owl spirit animal, as both are symbols of wisdom. And finally, iris flowers share symbolic meaning with the dragonfly, the frog, and the turtle spirit animals as they all symbolize spiritual growth.
The Iris in Cultural Mythology and Folklore
There are roughly 300 species of irises and they can be found throughout the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia, and North America. So, irises are subjects in the myths and folklore of many of the cultures in these regions. Here are some of those stories:
Iris Meaning in Greek Mythology
The name iris comes from the Greek word for rainbow, and it is fittingly the name of the Greek goddess of rainbows, Iris. As a carrier of messages from the mortal world to the gods, Iris was also believed to help brings souls to the afterlife. So, iris flowers were associated with death in ancient Greece.
Iris Symbolism in Ancient Egypt
The ancient Egyptians were cognizant of Greek mythology and were likely intrigued with the goddess Iris as a messenger who could travel between the material and spiritual realms. The Egyptians depicted iris flowers on their artwork and, as with other cultures, they associated the beautiful flower with royalty. As some of the original perfume makers, the Egyptians were also known to use iris flowers in their oils and perfumes.
Iris Symbolism in France and the Fleur-de-Lis
France was becoming a Catholic nation as early as the 2nd century. So, it’s possible that iris symbolism in France began around that time when the flower was viewed as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.
By the time the Middle Ages began in the 5th century, the French had created the fleur-de-lis symbol based on the iris flower. They soon associated it with not only their faith, but the French nobility. In fact, the fleur-de-lis became a common symbol on coats of arms, shields, and tapestries to denote chivalry, faith, and victory.
Iris Symbolism in Asia
In China, the iris shares meanings with the butterfly. It also symbolizes summer and honor for loved ones who have passed. And in Japan, the iris symbolizes purity and protection.
Iris Tattoo Meaning
An iris flower tattoo or fleur-de-lis tattoo can symbolize your passion for noble causes as well as your dedication to your religious faith and spiritual growth. It can also symbolize your respect for the noble ideal of chivalry. While tattoos are deeply personal to each individual, having knowledge of the history and cultural meanings applied to iris flowers can hopefully imbue your tattoo with deeper meaning. In addition, hopefully this awareness can invite a lively conversation if anyone asks you about your tattoo!