In which I assign flowers to each Hogwarts house.
I’ve hinted at my nerdiness before, but after this post, there will be no doubt…
When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone came out, I was six. It wasn’t until third grade when when the purple-dust-jacketed marvel stood out to me from a school library shelf. I devoured the book and the story, completely drawn into this mystical and completely wonderful world of magic. Right afterward, I found Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and ravenously tore through it as well. From then on, I was hooked.
I waited patiently for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. When I finally procured a copy, I remember calling my best friend to discuss it. I recall exactly where I was standing; it was a warm, dark, starry night and I stood on the sidewalk in front of my childhood home. I had read the whole thing too fast and now I had another year to wait for the next installment! The wait became harder as the books continued and I grew older.
I fell in love with Harry and his world – and I know for a fact it shaped not only my literary pursuits (it was in between installments that I began reading Shakespearean plays for fun – in fourth grade [more on that at a later date]), but really my entire outlook on life and my personality. I read it during such formative years that it truly helped shape me as a person.
Flowers and Harry Potter
Where did this idea come from? Finding flowers for each Hogwarts house isn’t actually that much of a stretch. Even if you were unaware at the time, your very first introduction to floriography probably took place around the time mine did. (If you read the books, that is. If you didn’t…DO IT!). The Harry Potter series has many elements of the language of flowers peppered into the story. For example, remember at the first potions lesson, when Professor Snape mercilessly interrogates Harry? Snape begins, “What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?” Baffled, Harry cannot supply an answer. So Snape follows up with another question, asking Harry to tell him the difference between monkshood and wolf’s bane.
Using the language of flowers, Snape is telling Harry in the most obscure way he deeply regrets Lily’s death. Asphodel is a variety of lily. Though the meanings vary a bit throughout history, it regularly carries connotations of mourning. Asphodel has a history of specific phrases like “my regrets follow you to the grave” and “our love will endure after death”. (Obviously Lily didn’t share Snape’s feelings. We all know how he felt about her, though, and based on his words in the last book (“Always.”), we know he always will feel that way. )
Monkshood means bravery and chivalry, and wolf’s bane is actually the same plant. So it could be surmised that Snape was comparing two types of bravery. There’s also a belief he used one meaning for wolf’s bane (misanthropy: a dislike of humankind) and another for monkshood. This is also possible and shows a comparison between himself and Lily or Harry. (For more on that, click here. [I prefer the first theory, though!])
So, where ya goin’ with this, Morgs?
Now that I’ve sufficiently prepped you and shown you a tiny glimpse into how much I adore J.K. Rowling’s creation…
For Floriography Friday this week, and my first official post on the blog – I want to share flowers for each Hogwarts House! (If you don’t know your Hogwarts House, head over to Pottermore to take the official quiz! Alternatively, you can take this quiz – it has all the possible questions and gives a percentage tying your answers to each of the four houses.) Once you know your house, read on!
Finding flowers for each Hogwarts house took a surprising amount of time and research, but it was so enjoyable! I hope you learn something new! For each house, I’ve listed three of the many traits we know. Two flowers and a tree for each – along with their meanings.
Flowers for each Hogwarts House
Ah, Gryffindor. My house! I love everything for which this house stands…and having a cool lion as the mascot is a plus also! The sheer number of flowers and plants associated with bravery and courage is amazing. Humans have valued courage as a vital trait for millennia, so it makes sense we’d attach this meaning to plants.
King Protea: Courage.
The King Protea is a desert flower with a spiky look that reminds us that beauty can be found even in the most barren of places. This plant has the courage and tenacity to overcome the harsh elements and make something stunning. All of us (not just Gryffindors!) have this ability inside us. And quarantine is the perfect time to let that show! Everything around us feels harsh, uncertain, and maybe even completely impossible…but we can reach for the sun and find the courage to come out of this better than we went in!
Spruce Tree: Boldness.
Have you ever seen a lone blue spruce among 20 pines? They aren’t afraid to be who they are – even in a sea of similarity. The daring to be exactly authentic is beautiful!
The color purple is often associated with integrity. It’s fitting that this beautiful purple vine carries this connotation of honor.
Hufflepuffs are the hardworking, loyal, often overlooked house. In the Battle of Hogwarts, we learn that nearly every member of this house stayed to fight. Their unsung heroism is a bit of a travesty – but they’re pretty cool and I’m about to show you why with some gorgeous flowers!
This tropical stunner is becoming quite trendy at the moment. The stems are long and skinny and hold up a huge flower head – they’re quite a top heavy flower. When I think “hardworking” – the stems of the anthurium definitely come to mind! In the future, when you feel a little weighed down, think of the hard working anthurium and draw some strength from the principles this gorgeous flower teaches.
Roughbark Lignum-Vitae Tree: Reliability.
This tree is alternatively referred to as “The Tree of Life”. Native to the Caribbean, the wood can be used to make medicines, brew teas, build homes, and a variety of other things. The lignum-vitae is reliable and dependable in any season, and the ancient inhabitants of this area of the world knew it.
Sweet Violet: Loyalty
Remember how I mentioned people have always valued courage? Loyalty is another one of those “always-valued” traits. The unassuming sweet violet grows in little patches, blooming at a time when hardly any other plants are looking their best (late winter/early spring). Yet they come back to brighten our lives during the coldest/wettest part of the year. No wonder they invoke the feeling of loyalty!
I’m surrounded by Ravenclaws! Most of my closest friends are members of the house of knowledge and I’m so grateful for their influence! The quest for truth and wisdom is definitely a worthy pursuit. This was another fun one. While looking through flowers for each Hogwarts house, I was reminded there is a VAST history of flowers and plants with meanings of knowledge, learning, and mental growth.
One of my favorite vines, the clematis shows its cleverness easily by overtaking a trellis. Quick and efficient, it moves into cracks and crevices and grows over the sides of porches and thin structures – all in this gorgeous upward movement with the sweetest flowers. They wrap their leaves and vines around their form and cling, always moving toward the sky. This visual is so fitting for Ravenclaws (and of course all of us) who value deftness and the ability to adapt to a variety of situations.
Redwood Tree: Wisdom.
If you’ve ever visited the Redwood Forest in California, you’ll easily see why these trees carry this connotation of wisdom. They grow tall and mighty and have been here for ages! The things they’ve “seen” has to be pretty impressive.
These blue beauties grow abundantly in fields everywhere. Commonly known as “bachelor’s buttons”, these little buggers have gained the knowledge to pop up in a variety of climates, in corn fields (hence their name), and always wow us with their vivid hue.
And last, definitely not least, the Slytherins. Y’all kind of got the short end of the stick in the books…but we know you aren’t all bad. Finding flowers for the snakes was a fun challenge and I think the results are really interesting!
Hollyhocks are interesting flowers. They grow similarly to gladiolus, but they’re so different. They aspire to be the tallest of the wildflowers – and that ambition and striving for greatness is likely why they carry this meaning. All of us could stand to hold our heads a little higher and aspire to be a little better than yesterday, don’t you think?
Alder Tree: Determination.
These babies are amazing. Routinely used for reforesting areas that have lost their trees due to wildfires or disease, these trees show us just how much fortitude is present in the plant kingdom. They’re highly resistant and are able to overcome a variety of less-than-perfect conditions. Their determination to do their job (filling the forests, providing oxygen, and being totally BA) is inspiring.
This was one of my favorite discoveries. Snapdragons, like most flowers, have a variety of meanings and the meaning will shift based on what it’s paired with. I learned with pleasant surprise that one of the meanings of snapdragons has to do with their cunning nature. It totally makes sense, though! When you squeeze the side of a snapdragon flower (gently! don’t break it!), it resembles a dragon, which then snaps its mouth shut when you let go. Dragons, of course, hold many connotations in myth and legend, but their sense of cunning shrewdness is well known.
Hop the Hogwarts Express back to reality…
So what do you think? Did any of the flowers surprise you? Did you learn anything new? Do the flowers in your house speak to you at all? Did learning about a few flowers for each Hogwarts house make you view your own house or another differently than you previously had?
I want to know! Drop me a comment or send me a message to let me know your thoughts!
Thanks for sticking with me, lovelies! Have an amazing weekend!
Stay safe & sane!