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What flower is associated with trickery?

What flower is associated with trickery?

Trickery and deception have been used throughout history for both positive and negative purposes. In the plant kingdom, there are a few flowers that have become culturally associated with tricks, illusions, and craftiness over time.


One of the main flowers connected to trickery is foxglove, known by the botanical name Digitalis purpurea. This perennial plant grows tall spikes of tubular flowers in shades of purple, pink, yellow, and white. The flowers have spots and speckles inside that some say resemble a fox’s gloves, leading to the common name “foxglove.”

Foxgloves contain cardiac glycosides, compounds that can treat heart conditions like atrial fibrillation in small doses. However, the same compounds are toxic in higher doses. This dual nature led to associations between foxglove and trickery. Something beautiful yet potentially deadly inspired connections to deception, cunning, and craftiness.

Infolklore, people assigned more mystical associations to foxglove. Some believed it could help see fairies, invite their magic, or even reveal witches. This linked foxglove to altering perceptions of reality and revealing hidden truths.

Beyond folklore, popular fiction continued linking foxglove to tricks and illusions. For example, in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, a potion containing foxglove distorts appearances to confuse enemies. This builds upon established associations between foxglove and craftiness.

Meanings in Floriography

Floriography, or the language of flowers, assigned symbolic meaning to different blooms. Foxglove’s associations with trickery continued in these Victorian flower dictionaries.

Most floriography definitions characterized foxglove as insincerity. Sending foxglove flowers conveyed a message that the giver was not being honest or authentic in some way. This built upon the links between foxglove and deception.

Other definitions specifically mentioned foxglove symbolized “cunning,” “mischief,” or “duplicity.” Again, these meanings all tied back to foxglove’s established connections to trickery and illusion.


While less prominent than foxglove, larkspur is another flower connected to trickery symbolism.

This annual plant in the buttercup family comes in many colors like pink, purple, blue, and white. The blossoms have a distinctive spur shape that resembles a lark’s talons, leading to the name “larkspur.”

Like foxglove, larkspur contains toxins. The plant can cause neurological impairment in livestock and humans if ingested. So again, we see a beautiful but potentially dangerous plant inspiring associations with deception.

In floriography, larkspur had definitions pointing to trickery. The most common meanings were “levity” and “haughtiness.” Giving larkspur suggested the recipient was behaving capriciously, lightly, or arrogantly in some way.

Other definitions singled out larkspur as representing “inconstancy.” This conveyed the recipient was fickle, changeable, or unsteady in affections or character. Along with levity and haughtiness, inconstancy hints at unreliable, cunning, or dishonest behavior.

Meanings in Hieroglyphics and Folklore

Interestingly, larkspur also symbolized trickery in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Blue larkspur flowers represented “being cold of heart” in this ancient pictorial language.

Additionally, some European folklore pointed to associations between larkspur and mischief or even sorcery. Legends taught larkspur had the power to open locks and reveal hidden treasures. However, collecting the blossoms required outwitting malicious spirits.


The final flower tied to trickery symbolism is monkshood, with the botanical name Aconitum. This perennial has helmet-shaped blue or purple flowers that resemble a monk’s hood, inspiring its common name.

Like foxglove and larkspur, monkshood’s roots and foliage contain toxic alkaloids. Once again, we have a plant with fatal potential concealed within beautiful flowers, evoking deception.

Beyond its poisonous nature, monkshood also shared foxglove’s associations with mysticism and witchcraft in folklore. People used the plant in magical spells, fortune telling rituals, and love potions. Monkshood’s link to sorcery connected it to ideas of deception and illusion.

In floriography, monkshood represented trickery even more directly. Definitions named monkshood as the flower for “beware, a deadly foe is near” and “lies.” It served as a dramatic warning that someone deceitful and unsafe was close at hand.


Flowers have carried symbolic associations for millennia across cultures. A few particular blooms became linked to ideas of cunning, craftiness, and deceit over time.

The most prominent flower representing trickery is foxglove. Its variable nature, links to mysticism, and poisonous qualities inspired connections to deception in folklore, fiction, and floriography.

Other toxic flowers like monkshood and larkspur also took on meanings related to insincerity, sorcery, and dishonesty. Their beautiful but potentially deadly nature and histories of use in magic fueled symbolic links to trickery.

So next time you come across a foxglove, larkspur, or monkshood, appreciate the beauty of these flowers. But beware, as for centuries people have associated these blossoms with treachery, cunning, and guile.