On the Note of 'Why Bother' Edit
There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray,
love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts.
A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.
There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue
for you; and here's some for me: we may call it
herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with
a difference. There's a daisy: I would give you
some violets, but they withered all when my father
died: they say he made a good end,--
- Hamlet, act 4, scene 5.
Flower language is one of those ways that's used to speak without words; traditions and associations with types of flowers and plants creating a cultural language that was generally known throughout the pre-industrial era. It still survives in associations for flowers like roses and lilies; roses mean 'love', lilies mean 'remembrance' or 'death', or in some cases 'resurrection'. When you give these flowers, it tends to mean something more than 'here, I found some pretty looking vegetation and thought you might like it.'
Listed here are the flowers of Fastheld - those you can obtain in bouquets, and those you might find in the field, and the meanings or intent that go with the giving.
Lore Note: The meanings here attached may be considered 'general knowledge', meaning you don't have to have the Lore skill to know or use any data here. Rather, you would need the Lore skill at some level to know (or at least believe) that the attendant meanings or ascribed 'powers' are simple superstition with no basis in truth. The better your Lore, the more aware you are - if it's at Mediocre or higher, you're well aware that all this is simply a common superstition. (But don't let that stop you using it - after all, we know roses don't make people fall in love with us, but the florists still jack up the prices around Valentine's Day.)
Greening Lily Edit
With slender green leaves and white blooms, the Greening Lily is symbolic of purity, honesty, and the Light as a general force.
Bouquets of greening lily are often kept within shrines and churches on holiday occasions; a gift of a bouquet of lilies is representative of pure and honorable intentions. Lily bouquets are often given by elder male family members as a token of affection toward younger, unmarried females of the same household; on this level they represent platonic love and devotion.
It has been said that greening lilies will not grow in the garden of someone who is Shadow-touched, nor in Shadow-tainted territories; in times of inter-House struggle, it will often be said that greening lilies won't grow on the lands of the opposing House.
Mikin Orchid Edit
With violet leaves and white blooms, the Mikin Orchid is of course one of the emblems of House Mikin. Partly as a result of this association, the Mikin Orchid has a reputation of being a purifying force; the Mikin Orchid is representative of Light-Over-Darkness and victory over evil.
Bouquets of the Mikin orchid are usually given to indicate fidelity through adversity and dark times, or as signs of affection and devotion to or from House Mikin itself. It is also given to show respect to Shadowscourges.
Many of the beliefs about this orchid are held most strongly in Mikin lands or those houses allied to Mikin, and less so elsewhere; it has been variously said that the Mikin orchid is poisonous to Shadow-touched, that it will not grow in the garden of a Shadow-touched. Some will go so far as to claim that the very scent of the orchid is distasteful to those who are so tainted. It is often believed that planting (and carefully tending, to ensure prosperity) these orchids will 'purify' a given land and that the scent will purify a room of taint; as such, bouquets of Mikin orchids can be given as housewarming presents - or sympathy gifts after the departure of an unwelcome guest.
Nepos Cluster Edit
Nepos flowers have greenish-brown stems and dark purple leaves, with flat, mum-like petals that transition from a bright white in the center to a rich magenta-lavender hue. Originally associated with prosperity, through the fame of Lucius Nepos the flower has come to be regarded as the soldier's bloom and representative of courage. As it is also the only water-blooming flower, the nepos cluster is held to be symbolic of all those whose livelihoods draw on the waterways - fishermen, boatmen, sailors and so on.
Bouquets of the Nepos flower are given to new couples, and often adorn new businesses as they open shop. In recent years, they have also been planted in the gardens of the families of soldiers and fighters. It is generally also given as a gift by family elders to sons of their household as a sign of affection, and thus is the mirror of the greening lily.
It is generally believed that the scent of a Nepos cluster drives away flies and other insects, and that a sprig of Nepos flowers worn in the hat or in a boutonniere will bring fortune of the monetary variety. In recent years, it has also become popular as a charm of courage and invulnerability - wear it, and you won't lose limbs or fall in a fight.
Night Trumpet Edit
The night trumpet has blue branches and bluish-black leaves, and flowers that consist of folds of milky white petals. A flower that blooms in deep shade and at night, the night trumpet is symbolic of secrets and mystery, ambiguity at its most vague. It's generally believed to be the mage's flower, and thus has enjoyed little popularity among devout folk. That said, its rich and pleasant fragrance has earned it some degree of forgiveness, and it is also held to be the flower of artisans and artists since it creates beauty.
Night trumpet bouquets are the flower-of-choice for 'secret admirer' sorts of flirtations, but are also used specifically as perfuming plants. As a gift it's somewhat dicey; to a mage, artist, or artisan, it's a gift of kind regard and appreciation. To most other folk, it's considered a whore's perfume sort of plant and particularly frowned upon; it is in many respects the floral opposite of the Mikin orchid, and sometimes thereby held as an informal badge of House Zahir.
Lore of the night trumpet largely revolves around its nocturnal nature and its scent; in Zahir lands, it's held as a light-in-the-dark sort of plant and often worn as a ward against the Shadow for as long as its scent will last. In territories where the Shadowscourges still hold sway, it's very much the mage's flower and the scent is rumored to do anything from addling the wits to luring one away from the Light.
Shrieking Violet Edit
The shrieking violet has violet branches and bluish-black leaves. Flowers consist of folds of pale blue petals. The violet gets its name not from any sound that it makes, but from the widely held belief that the plant can, if consumed, drive someone mad. This has given the shrieking violet associations with madness and with change, and thus is often representative of chaos.
One would think that such associations would keep the plant from being popular with florists, but bouquets of the violets are often given at the start of rocky transitions. Bouquets of the violets are also the classic 'break-up' flower, signalling the end of a relationship or association, and a bundle of violets left on someone's grave neatly gets around that whole 'speak no ill of the dead' issue.
Lore of the flower speaks only of madness and death; rumor has it that shrieking violets in someone's yard foretells bad fortune, and that a wild patch of shrieking violets will grow over the gravesite of an undiscovered murder victim. It's considered especially unlucky to have around children (possibly because young children will put anything in their mouths) and has at times been believed to prevent children as well.
Stormclaw Rose Edit
The stormclaw rose has green branches and auburn-blue leaves. Flowers consist of folds of crimson petals. It is not necessarily a flower of love; rather it is a symbol of passion and of drive, which can be interpreted in a variety of ways depending on the context.
Bouquets of the stormclaw rose are most often exchanged between lovers - or those who want to become lovers. If it's romance, it's romance of the Star-Crossed Lovers variety, or at least the participants hope it will be. So pervasive is the symbology that only florists and botanists can grow the plant and not automatically be assumed to be in a relationship; acquiring a stormclaw rosebush is tantamount to declaring you've either got a lover or someone you've decided you want to take as a lover (either that, or someone's decided they want you.) People who grow the rose indoors are assumed to be either closet botanists or incurable romantics.
Lore of the rose is all about love; that bathing with the rosepetals will make you more desirable, that a gift of a perfect blossom will turn your intended's heart toward you, even that burning the dried remains of the first rose someone gave you will turn that someone's passions elsewhere. (For that last, many cautious lovers will keep the first rose someone gives them very, very carefully.) Young girls of a marrying mind will name the blooms on a rosebush and judge their prospects by whether the flower blooms or withers, and how perfect the bloom becomes.
Widow's Shroud Edit
The Widow's Shroud has greenish-brown stems and green leaves. Flowers consist of folds of black-streaked white petals.
The Yellowhorn has green branches and greenish-yellow leaves. Flowers consist of folds of saffron petals.