From Poetry to Pride Flags; Native Flowers in 2SLGBTQIA+ History

Four close up photos of flowers arranged in a square Flowers have come to represent many different attributes with different varieties and colors conjuring up a wide array of meanings. But did you know that some flowers have particular importance to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community?  From poetry to pride flags, flowers are an important part of the community both historically and in present day. Here are a few...

Photos (left to right): Darby Alderson, David Wake, Jane Bowles 




Long-spurred Violet   

Close up photo of a purple Long-spurred vVolet The Long-spurred Violet is a native perennial whose petals come in blue, purple, and white. Violets are featured heavily in the poetry of Sappho, (c. 630 – c. 570c) a Greek poet. Sappho’s idyllic poetry has resonated with many members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, so much so that the violet continues to be an important symbol and has inspired many with its message of hope. 

Photo credit: Dave Wake






New England Aster  

Photo of a clump of purple New England Aster, with green leaves and yellow flowers behind itAsters are said to symbolize love. New England Aster, a type of aster native t0 southwestern Ontario, features purple blooms with leaves that leave a spicy smell when crushed. The ability to love proudly is important to 2SLGBTQIA+ history. 

Photo credit: Dave Wake





White Trillium 

Close up photo of a white Trillium with green leaves

Since the late nineties, the trillium, a member of the lily family, has been a symbol of bisexuality. This symbol came to be used on the Mexican bisexual flag in 2001, showing how nature can intertwine with larger themes such as love and the freedom to love regardless of gender. 

Photo credit: TTLT Staff 








Black-eyed Susan 

Close up photo of a Black-eyed Susan in the grass The Black-eyed Susan has come to represent justice. Justice and fair and equal treatment are what all humans deserve. The Black-eyed Susan’s bright yellow petals can remind us of the fight for justice and equal rights that the 2SLGBTQIA+ community continues to strive for today.  

Photo credit: Darby Alderson






Yellow Lady's Slipper 

Close up photo of the middle of a yellow Lady's Slipper with green leaves The Yellow Lady’s Slipper, a form of orchid, is a cheerful and delicate looking flower. Yellow orchids often symbolize joy, as well as new beginnings. Although the history of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community continues to be full of struggles, it is also full of joy and hope for a better future.  

Photo credit: Jane Bowles 





Importance of native flowers

Native plants serve many purposes, both for you and for the environment. They can be a more cost-effective option compared to non-native plants in your garden. They are also well-adapted to the local conditions, so are often easier to care for. This means less maintenance and less water – a win for you and the environment! Native plants also attract native pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and are an easy way to support local ecosystems. Our vision is to create a network of permanently protected areas within Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford, and Perth counties to provide biodiverse spaces where these and other native plants can thrive. For the 2SLGBTQIA+community, flowers have been a way to communicate, connect with each other, and show solidarity.

Did we miss any flowers that are important to you?