Murray State Theses and Dissertations


This qualitative study sought to describe contemporary views of ten selected flower specimens regarding the feelings they evoke in thirty participants divided evenly across three generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennial. Little research exists in the scholarly body of knowledge regarding definitions of flowers; however, industry publications have captured some traditionally held definitions of some flowers. This phenomenological study utilized participants in the three generations of interest by showing each participant photos of ten selected cut flower specimens and asking them five questions about the emotions evoked by each flower, how they would feel if they received each flower, perceived symbolism and representation of each flower, and their own assigned meaning for each flower. After reduction and structural syntheses were conducted, definitions for nine flowers were derived. One flower had inconsistent definitions; however, literature shows some inconsistency throughout history as well. Recommendations for future studies include larger sample sizes to better understand the generations, larger areas or locations of sampling to show a wider sample, and a compatible questionnaire to determine usage of flower meanings when purchasing and gifting flowers. There is also a need for more related research regarding flower meanings, the purchasing tendencies of generations, reasons for purchasing specific flowers, and money spent on specific flowers.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

flower meanings, cut flowers, flower language

Thesis Advisor

Kimberly Bellah

Committee Member

Michelle Santiago

Committee Member

Alyx Shultz

Document Type


Included in

Horticulture Commons