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Tussie Mussies and the Language of Flowers

Updated on October 11, 2018
Example of a wedding tussie mussie
Example of a wedding tussie mussie | Source

Just what is a tussie mussie?

A Tussie Mussie is a round shaped nosegay bouquet made up of a variety of flowers. Each flower included in a Tussie Muissie has its own distinct meaning or message. In Victorian days it was a common practice for suitors to give their love interest a Tussie Mussie. The flowers for these Tussie Mussie's were carefully selected. The wrong choice of flower or even color could set the tone for the relationship. A young miss receiving a yellow rose from a love interest would be crushed. A yellow rose carried the meaning of friendship. While that same young miss would be dancing on air if she received a red rose, meaning love.

During this time period the giver of a Tussie Mussie spent many and hour carefully picking out the flower and color. He did not want to convey the wrong message at the wrong time. It would have been disastrous to give a yellow rose to one that he wished to marry. By the same token, giving a red rose on a first date would be entirely unsuitable. I guess you can see why the Tussie Mussie was and still is know as the 'talking bouquet'.

Today many a bride walks down the aisle proudly carrying a stylized tussie mussie. The small bundle of carefully gathered and arranged bouquets of Victorian days have turned into elaborate, formal bouquets that any bride would be proud to carry.

A few examples of flowers.
A few examples of flowers. | Source

The Beautiful Language of Flowers

You are now about to enter the wonderful, beautiful, very expressive world of the flower. Since Victorian times the flower has had it's own special language.

It can express love, hate, well wishes, and oh so many different emotions. Believe it or not the color of a flower can also speak volumes.

An example of the flowers used in a white tussie mussie wedding bouquet could be:

  • white roses (love)
  • lily of the valley (trustworthiness and happiness)
  • Queen Anne's lace (haven)
  • carnation (pure love and faithfulness)
  • daisy (loyal love and purity)
  • fern for green color (sincerity)


allspice - compassion

almond flowers - hope

aloe - grief

amaryllis - beauty

ambrosia - love is reciprocated

anemone - unfading love

apple blossoms - hope and good fortune

arborvite - everlasting friendship

arbutus - Thee only do I love

asparagus fern - fascination

azalea - love, romance, first love


baby's breath - innocence

bachelor button - felicity, celibacy

balsam - ardent love

bamboo - loyalty, strength

bellflower - thinking of you

bells of Ireland - luck

bird of paradise - magnificence

buttercup - riches


calla lily - magnificent beauty

carnation (general) - fascination, love

carnation (red) - deep romantic love, passion

carnation (white) - pure love, faithfulness

carnation (pink) - always on my mind

carnation (yellow) - rejection, distain

carnation (purple) - whimsical, unreliable

carnation (mauve) - dreams of fantasy

carnation (striped) - I can't be with you

cherry blossoms - feminine beauty

chrysanthenum - joy, optimism

clemantis - clever

clover - good luck

cosmos - modesty

cowslip - winning grace

Tussie-mussies are posies assembled from a carefully chosen selection of flowers and herbs, usually to convey a specific message.


daffodil - your the only one, new beginnings

daisy - loyal love, purity

delphinium - big hearted

dogwood - durability

E and F

elderflower - compassion

fern - sincerity, fascination

filbert - reconciliation

forget-me-not - true love

forsythia - anticipation


gardenia - I love you in secret

geranium - preference

gillyflower - bonds of affection

gladiolus - strength of character

gloxinia - love at first sight

During the Victorian era, tussie mussies were exchanged as a token of affection between sweethearts or good friends.


heather admiration

heliotrope - eternal love

hibiscus - delicate beauty

holly - foresight

honeysuckle - devoted affection

hyacinith - sorrow, lonliness, jealousy

hydrangea - vanity, frigidity

I and J

iris - faith, wisdom, hope

ivy - dependence, marriage

jasmine - glee, cheerfulness

jonquil - return my affection

L and M

lavender - devotion, constancy

lilac - acceptance, confidence

lily - purity, innocence

lotus - mystery, eloquence

magnolia - dignity, love of nature

marigold - pain, grief, cruelty

mistletoe - affection, love

morning glory - love in vain

Tussie is a medieval term for knot of flowers and mussie is derived from the moist moss used to keep the flowers fresh.

N and O

narcissus - egotistic, self love, conceit

nasturtium - conquest, patriotism

oleander - caution

orange blossom - eternal love, purity

orchid - refined beauty, love

P and Q

pansy - thought, remembrance

passion flower - faith, piety

peony - happy marriage, honor

primrose - I can't live without you

queen Anne's Lace - fantasy, haven

R and S

rose (white) - love, admiration, desire

snowdrop - hope, consolation

sunflower - pure thoughts, devotion

sweet pea - I think of you

Each herb, flower, and tree was assigned a symbolic meaning based on its appearance, ­fragrance, or associations.

T, V, W, and Z

tulip (red) - declaraation of love

violet - faithfulness, modesty

wisteria -- welcome

zennia - goodness, constancy

Tussie mussie's can be detailed and elegant or simple and beautiful.
Tussie mussie's can be detailed and elegant or simple and beautiful. | Source
A little bit of history
A little bit of history | Source

© 2011 Susan Hazelton


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    • profile image 

      5 years ago

      Thank you so much for the Talking Posy lesson. I am entering a competition for a Tussie Mussie arrangement next month and have found your instructions very informative.


      Bebe Benn - Cape Town - South Africa.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      That Grrl, tussie mussies have been around for ages. Not many people seem to know their name. There are some beautiful ones out there. First time I heard the name I thought the same thing you did. What a cute name.

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 

      7 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      Last year we had two weddings to attend. One for my brother and the other for my sister. My Mom and I made tussie mussies for my other sister's two girls. I thought it was a cute name and wondered if my Mom had made it up. I didn't think about looking for it then, too busy. I laughed when I noticed your post today. She didn't make up the name. :)

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Christine, thanks for the comment. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • ChristineVianello profile image


      8 years ago from Philadelphia

      Super cute hub!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Pinkchic, I am fascinated by little bits of obscure information. Thanks for reading.

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 

      8 years ago from Minnesota

      Very helpful lens! I love learning about these kinds of things.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Thanks Prassetio. I took the say it with flowers saying a little further. I love little obscure facts. Thanks for the rating.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      "say it with flower" this quotes match with this hub. Your made this so beautiful. I love you flowers. Rated up!


    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Om, it sounds like a plan. You might want to think about adding a few oleander and aloe just for good measure.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      8 years ago

      So interesting. I'd keep sending my bf some bamboo to encourage him to be loyal to me, but if he fails to do so, I might give him a bouquet of marigolds and yellow carnations! hehe :)

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      SUSIE, they are quite beautiful. You should see the ones with the sterling silver holder.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      dearabbysmom, the tussie mussie all have a style of their own. I made my daughters all in white and carefully chose the flowers. I then whrote a little paper letting her kn ow the meaning of the flowers. She loved it. Thanks for the rating.

    • SUSIE DUZY profile image


      8 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

      Never heard of these before. They are beautiful.

    • dearabbysmom profile image


      8 years ago from Indiana

      My daughter had a larger version of a tussie mussie (although we did not know what it was called) for her bridal bouquet. The flowers were all white, and she got so many compliments on the beauty and uniqueness. I loved reading the meanings of the flower. Up and useful!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Thanks Pamela, I love the Victorian era and this is one of those wonderful things that came from it. I'm glad to see it making a come back.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Genna, tussie mussies are a beautiful compact arrangement of flowers that can be held in one's hand. They make beautiful wedding bouquets or centerpeices for a table. The reason I know about them is because I used to do floral designing. Thanks for reading.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      DIYweddingplanner, I love the looks of the victorian weddings and their flowers. I look forward to reading your hub.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Thanks R Talloni. I got interested in the meanings of flowers when I was making the bouquets for one of my daughters weddings.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I had never heard of the term tussie mussie but6 I love learning trivia about the Victorian era. I didn't know the meaning of some of those flowers either, however, I was clear on the red and yellow rose meanings. I loved reading all the meanings of the flowers. Awesome hub.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      The language of often we miss this. Such a beautiful hub. I had never heard of tussie mussies before this, and they are so lovely! Thank you.

    • DIYweddingplanner profile image


      8 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      KoffeeKlatch, this will make a great partner to the Victorian weddings hub I'm working on, great timing and nice hub!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Lovely, lovely hub! Glad to be refreshed re flowers, their meanings, and uses. Thanks!


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