In our opinion, few material things are more meaningful than flowers. At weddings, flowers are used to beautify the venue and honor the couple’s union. At funerals and cemeteries, flowers are used to pay respect to the deceased. Flowers are exchanged between lovers as gifts of adoration, and they’re widely used as inspiration for art and fashion as well. In Pasadena, California, there’s even an annual parade made up of flowers—the world-famous Tournament of Roses Parade.
Flowers are everywhere, and for good reason. They represent beauty in its purest, most flawless form. Of course, some flowers are more popular than others, and not every variety is considered universally beautiful. (Consider, for instance, the aptly named corpse flower.) To see the 10 most beautiful flowers in the world, keep scrolling.
10. Cherry Blossom
The cherry blossom might be Japan’s national flower, but it’s loved all over the world. Up close, the delicate petals are a gorgeous sight to behold—although the beauty of the flowers really becomes apparent from a distance. When you look at thousands of flourishing cherry blossoms on a tree, you feel like you’ve been whisked away to some incredible fantasy wonderland.
Many anthophiles count the lilac among their favorite flowers. The bold purple coloring and elegant white outline imbue the flower with a regal look, plus the elongated petals add to the uniqueness of the presentation.
The iris flower looks as though it was meticulously designed by a skilled artist. Perhaps that’s why it was a favorite subject of Impressionist painter Claude Monet. Splashes of blue, purple, yellow, and white make for a truly unforgettable artistic arrangement.
The dahlia is one of the lushest and most vibrant flowers you’ll find, available in a rainbow of colors ranging from pink to red to orange to white. Some dahlia petals even have stunning color gradients, like bright reds that gradually fade into soft whites or gorgeous purples that lighten from stem to tip.
The bird-of-paradise is so named because it resembles a brightly colored bird, complete with fluttering wings and a slender body. Vibrant oranges, reds, and blues make up the impressive “wingspan,” and the colors really come alive in the sunlight.
5. Water Lily
We’ve already mentioned Claude Monet, but the French painter’s love of water lilies is well-known and well-documented. It’s no surprise that the water lily would provide inspiration for visual artistry; this flower has a beauty and symmetry that’s seldom seen, plus the radiant colors almost seem to have their own glow.
A bright red and orange marigold set against a lush green garden may be one of the most beautiful sights nature has to offer. The golden hue of the flower becomes more incredible the closer you get. The unique ridges along the petals, the rich yet subtle color variations, and the cornucopia of shapes give the marigold an almost hypnotic beauty.
The lotus almost doesn’t seem real. The outward-reaching petals radiate with vibrant shades of pink and white, while the golden stamen in the center provides a visual focal point that brings the whole presentation together. The petals are almost perfectly symmetrical in size and the highlighted tips add incredible dimension and character.
Purple has long been associated with royalty. Although this fact may be attributed to the scarcity of purple dyes in Elizabethan England, it’s easy to imagine that purple’s regal quality also has something to do with the grandeur of purple flowers like the lilac, iris, and especially the orchid. The orchid is in a class by itself on account of its unique shape and bold color combinations. Whereas many flowers combine colors using gradients and highlights, the orchid plays by its own rules. The gorgeous colors are arranged in wild and unpredictable ways, but the result is always astonishing.
Yes, it might seem cliché to go with the classic rose as the most beautiful flower in the world, but hey, it’s popular for a reason. The elegantly curling and overlapping petals, the bold coloration, and the diverse array of colors truly make the rose the ultimate flower. Claude Monet (yes, you’re probably sick of hearing about him), Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Paul Cézanne are just some of the iconic artists who have incorporated the rose into their works. If you’re looking for the perfect bouquet to say “I love you,” “I miss you,” or “congratulations,” you won’t do better than the rose.
Now that you’ve seen the most beautiful flowers in the world, see 20 of the prettiest places on Earth.