The Pansy Flower: Its Meaning & Symbolism

Pansy Flowers


The pansy flower is beautiful little flower well loved for it’s charm, versatility and adding a swath of gorgeous colors to the garden. The pansy’s lineage comes from the tri- color viola (yellow, white and purple) a European wildflower.  From these humble beginnings came the modern day pansy as we know it.

What Does the Pansy Flower Mean?

  • loving thoughts
  • love in idleness
  • to think
  • free thinkers
  • remembrance
  • to consider
  • the birth flower of February

In Victorian England, the pansy flower was used for secret courting.  Any display of love or passion was severely frowned upon and in order to communicate to potential romantic partners the  pansy was employed.  It was placed in what was called a tussie mussie which was a bunch of herbs wrapped in a doily with some flowers in the middle.  The pansy flower was used to convey not easily expressed in Victorian England such as I’m feeling amorous towards you, I am thinking of you or I have thoughts of you or I’m missing you, but always it was about one person thinking of another.


Etymological Meaning of the Pansy Flower

The word pansy comes from mid 15th century French from the word penser;  pensee is the feminine form of penser meaning to think or ponder over something.  The French word pensee was derived from the Latin word pensare which means to consider or pendare which means to take measure of a situation, to take everything into consideration.

Symbolism of the Pansy Flower

The pansy flower symbolizes  the love or admiration of one person for another.   The pansy flower was also the symbol adopted by the Free Thinkers Society, a group of people who decided to adopt a mode of thought that was free from societal constraints, expectations, emotions or religious dogma.  In it’s highest form it is based on pure logic and reason.  They adopted the pansy as its symbol because the word pansy is from the verb pensee in French meaning to think.


Pansy Flowers

Pansy Flower Color Meanings

Pansies are a rare flower because they are available  in a wide variety of blues along with many other colors.  Traditional meanings of flower colors also hold true for pansies (red and violet mean passion, yellow means having a bright disposition or happiness, blue equals calmness and trustworthiness, pink denotes innocence, orange is a welcoming warm color, but the color white means lets take a chance.  So, if you were to offer a bouquet of white pansies edged in violet you could secretly be saying let’s take a chance (white) on my passionate feeling towards you (red portion of violet) because I trust (blue portion of violet) you with my feelings.  Who knew sending a bouquet of flowers could mean so much?  

Pansy colors are infinite in either tri-color, solids or bi-colors.  Some varieties are in beautiful pastel shades of apricot, peach and shell pink denoting a gentle tenderness towards another person.  Blue is generally an uncommon color in flowers except pansies, which have pastel shades of blue, violet blues, dark blues and true blues.  Color meaning in pansies can be very simple or complex. Other colors in pansies include burgundy, deep orange, copper, purple, light purple, black, white and subtle variations of these colors.

Meaningful Botanical Characteristics of the Pansy Flower

Pansy flowers have been used in herbal and Chinese medicine for centuries.  All parts of the plant are edible and are a good source of nutrients.  Pansy has been used to break down the density of tumors believed to prevent them from turning cancerous.  Pansies were used in ancient Athens to take the heat out of an angry heart.   This occurs because of the mildly sedative qualities of pansy.  Pliny, a Roman had written that pansy could ease headaches and their accompanying dizziness.  This was true because one of the active ingredients in pansy is salicylic acid, the same main ingredient in modern day aspirin.  Pansy also contains saponins which are compounds found in plants that have expectorant (mucus clearing properties) and anti-inflammatory properties.  They are commonly used for upper respiratory infections.

Interesting Facts About the Pansy Flower

  • Is the official symbol of Osaka, Japan
  • Is derived from the small tri-color viola, a European wildflower
  • Modern pansies are simply the result of some very astute gardeners noticing different color combinations growing in different environments (woodlands compared to open rocky areas), of viola tri-color, viola lutea and viola altaica which were then hybridized for different color combinations and patterns
  • Was used to great comic effect in the Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Offer the Pansy Flower on These Occasions

Got cabin fever?  Give yourself the gift of pansies.  I know that pansies in shades of orange, apricot, shell pink or yellow would brighten my corner of the world.  A pot of solid blue pansies would be a great gift for an over scheduled stressed out person.  The blue color would mellow them out immediately.  Pansies can be the gift of calmness or a late winter energizer.

The Pansy Flower’s Message Is:

To me the pansy means these three things:  Be of good cheer, a clear mind and calm spirit.

Pansy Flowers
Pansy Flowers
Pansy Flowers
Pansy Flowers
Pansy Flowers
Pansy Flowers
Pansy Flowers
Pansy Flowers