Learn the history of dried flowers

Drying flowers for use in medicine, fashion, and decoration is a simple yet elegant practice that dates back thousands of years. In fact, archaeologists have found flowers preserved in a Roman tomb that are more than two thousand years old. Drying flowers is a practice that humanity has always enjoyed. Learn more about the history of drying flowers with this brief overview.

The ancient origins of dried flowers

The ancient Egyptians were flower enthusiasts in general. Records show that the ancient Egyptians practiced the art of precise and meaningful flower arrangements. Drying flowers was also a common practice used in funeral rites, religious ceremonies, and other important occasions. The ancient Egyptians used dried flowers in garlands and other arrangements that they placed inside tombs. In addition to decoration, the ancient Egyptians dried flowers to use in perfumes, incense, oils, or even cosmetic pigments.

The ancient Greeks and Romans were also fond of dried flowers, especially in the form of wreaths and garlands. Both civilizations used crowns to honor warriors, athletes, poets, and politicians. Meanwhile, garlands were decorations that people used to adorn doors, civic buildings, and monuments. Garlands were also a part of important occasions, such as funerals and weddings.

Middle Ages

Dried flowers were also popular in Europe during the Middle Ages, where people believed that dried flowers and herbs had medicinal properties. While the science behind these theories wasn't always sound, some herbs and flowers did influence medicine at the time. Churches were popular places for herb gardens. Specialists harvested and dried herbs and flowers to use in teas, salves, fixes, and other potions to give to the rest of the community.

Japanese art of dried flowers

In Japan in the 16th century, drying flowers became a precise and honored art form. Oshibana, the art of drying and pressing plants, involves carefully choosing, pressing, and arranging dried flowers on washi paper. The result is nature-inspired designs that reflect the reverence Japanese culture had for the flowers and plants of the natural world.

Victorian floral fashion

As trade between Asia and Europe increased, Oshibana found its way into English culture. This inspired a new appreciation for dried flowers in Victorian England. Flower drying became a popular hobby; women used dried flowers to make garlands, design photos, or adorn accessories such as fans, jewelry, and gloves. As dried flowers became a fashion staple, a whole culture of language and symbology developed around the art. In fact, using flowers to communicate various feelings and messages, such as love, apologies, or congratulations, is a practice that we still use today.

Souvenir of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee (1897)

Although the use of preserved flowers has changed throughout the history of flower drying, traces of ancient practices, art forms, and symbolism can still be seen today. You can bring some of these traditions back to your home, creating a flower garland to celebrate a birthday, encouraging the Oshibana technique and reviving Japanese floral art, or making wreaths and centerpieces. At Floueri we offer you a wide selection of flowers so that you can explore all these possibilities.