History and Meaning of the Iris

History and Meaning of the Iris The long, elegant stems of the Iris and its complex, mosaic blooms gives it an aura of unique and charmed tranquility.  An iris has six petals–the 3 outer petals are called “falls” which drop away from the center, and the 3 upright inner petals are called “standards.”  This exquisite form has given the iris a rich history of meaning. History of the Iris In ancient Greece, Iris was the messenger of the Olympian gods as well as the goddess of the rainbow, believed to connect the sea with the sky.  According to legend, she was born of the wondrous sea god, Thaumas and the amber cloud-nymph, Elektra.  For coastal-dwelling Greeks, the rainbow’s arc was often seen spanning the distance between cloud and sea, so Iris was believed to replenish the clouds with water from the sea, providing rain, growth, and life. During the Middle Ages, the fleur-de-lis, a stylized version of an iris, was used to represent French Royalty.  Today, it continues to b


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