Decode Morning Glory Flower Symbolism Quickly

It’s easy to see why the morning glory has been associated with the break of day. But this versatile flower has accrued a diverse range of symbolic meanings across cultures and eras, making interpreting its hidden messages a rich and nuanced endeavor.

By tracing its history, examining literary and artistic depictions, and understanding how different societies have viewed the morning glory, we can quickly uncover the flower’s key symbolic associations – from love and affection to the fleeting nature of time.

What is the Symbolism and Meaning of Morning Glories

Indigenous to tropical regions around the world, over 1,000 species of morning glory exist, from the common annual morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) to the hardy moonflower (Ipomoea alba). The genus name Ipomoea derives from two Greek words – ips meaning “worm” and homoios meaning “resembling” – referring to the vine-like growth of the plant.

With its dainty trumpet-shaped blooms, twining habit, and temporary flowers, the morning glory has accrued a wide range of symbolic meanings:

  • Love and affection – In Victorian floriography, morning glories represented love, affection, and mortality due to the ephemeral flowers that curled up by mid-day.
  • Resurrection and rebirth – In Chinese culture, the morning glory represents the resurrection of the soul and rebirth.
  • Youth and mortality – The Japanese consider the morning glory symbolic of youth and mortality.
  • Prosperity – An important symbol in Indian culture, morning glories represent prosperity and productivity.
  • Duality – In some Native American traditions, the morning glory represents duality or the start of a new day.

So while the morning glory has an overarching association with the fresh possibilities of morning, its diverse symbolic meanings reveal how different cultures have interpreted its habits and physical properties.

Morning Glory Flower Symbolism and Significance in Different Cultures

Let’s explore how the morning glory flower has accrued symbolic significance across various cultures and belief systems:

1. Greco-Roman Culture

In ancient Greek myths, the morning glory represented the goddess Demeter, revered for bringing agriculture and civilization to humankind. Demeter’s mourning for her lost daughter Persephone mirrored the morning glory’s withdrawing its petals in the afternoon.

The coiling vines of the morning glory came to symbolize the bonds of love in Greek and Roman culture. Young Roman girls would wear garlands of morning glories, believing the number of blooms still open by dusk revealed their suitors’ depth of affection.

2. Victorian England

During the Victorian era, flowers assumed complex meanings in the “language of flowers.” Morning glories specifically symbolized love, affection, and mortality.

Suitors gifted morning glories to convey affection, while a curtain or garland of the flowers implied love reciprocated between couples. When the blooms curled up in the early afternoon, this epitomized the transience of affection and life’s ephemerality.

3. Chinese Culture

In Chinese culture, the morning glory represents concepts like the resurrection of the soul, rebirth, and enlightenment. The vines and flowers symbolize the passage of time and spiritual awakening.

The Chinese specially cultivate morning glories, believing they purify the home of negativity. As the blooms fade in hours, the morning glory keeps alive the message that each new day offers renewal and rebirth.

4. Japanese Culture

Japanese artists, poets, and dramatists have long celebrated the aesthetic perfection of the morning glory. The flowers symbolize the transient nature of life and the ephemerality of youth in Japanese culture.

During the Edo period, painters like Ito Jakuchu created detailed studies honoring the morning glory’s fleeting beauty. Renowned haiku poets like Yosa Buson wrote verses praising the flower’s evanescent charm.

Common Symbolic Associations of the Morning Glory Flower

While interpretations vary across cultures, the morning glory most commonly represents:

  • The dawn of a new day and new beginnings
  • The fleeting nature of life, youth, and beauty
  • Love, affection, and the tender bonds of relationships
  • Rebirth, resurrection, and spiritual awakening
  • Prosperity, productivity, and nurturing growth

As an ephemeral flower that fades within hours, the morning glory poignantly captures the delicate beauty and fragility of each new dawn and the passage of time.

Literary and Artistic Depictions of Morning Glories

Beyond cultural symbolism, morning glories have inspired artists, poets, and writers across the ages:

  • Japanese ukiyo-e artists like Ito Jakuchu created detailed drawings and woodblock prints of morning glories, praising their transitory beauty.
  • Haiku poets like Yosa Buson and Matsuo Basho composed verses honoring the morning glory’s evanescent perfection.
  • In modern literature, the morning glory has symbolized the vibrancy and fragility of youth in novels like “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger.
  • Claude Monet featured morning glories in his Impressionist paintings praising the radiance of nature.
  • The poet Mary Coleridge wrote an acclaimed metaphorical poem titled “The Blue Morning Glory” exploring love and loss.

These celebrated works showcase how the morning glory has inspired artistic praise and contemplation around beauty, youth, affection, and impermanence across the centuries.

How to Interpret Morning Glory Flower Symbolism and Hidden Meanings

While general symbolic meanings provide helpful insight, you can consider the morning glory’s color symbolism and numerology for deeper interpretation:

Color Symbolism

Blue morning glories represent tranquility, calm, and devotion. White blooms symbolize purity and spirituality. Pink flowers denote gentleness and femininity, while red blooms suggest passion and vibrancy.

In numerology, the morning glory resonates with the numbers 4 and 7. Four represents solidity and conscientious progress. The number 7 signifies deeper understanding and spiritual enlightenment.

So receiving a bouquet with 7 morning glories may symbolize an affectionate bond leading to greater intuition and insight over time. Analyzing the numeric significance adds further depth to interpreting the morning glory’s meaning.

By weaving together the morning glory’s cultural symbolism, color meanings, numerology, and depiction in art and literature, we gain a nuanced perspective into its secrets. While interpretations vary, the morning glory’s universal appeal celebrates the poetic beauty and fragility inherent in each new dawn.