It can be very difficult in our modern world, to find a tattoo design that is both eye catching and symbolic, but one which has not been overused by tattoo enthusiasts everywhere. Some of the most popular images have close connotations with nature and animals, fauna and flora designs are all in big demand but one of the prettiest and most versatile has to be that used for a fern tattoos. This can be inked in its natural silver or green and even done in monochrome black ink in the style of tribal artwork but it is also widely used in conjunction with other images to form part of a larger design. Symbolically, ferns are associated with fascination and magic, confidence and reverie, shelter and discretion but also meant a secret bond of love according to the Victorian language of flowers.

Ferns have featured in folklore from around the globe over the centuries too so some of the myths and legends linked to it have also added to the symbolism of a fern tattoo over the years. According to Slavic legend, the fern only bloomed once a year and that was during Ivan Kupala night, a celebration relates to the summer solstice when nights are at their shortest. While a fern’s flower was believed to be exceedingly difficult to find, superstition deemed anyone who was fortunate to come across this rarity would be guaranteed riches and happiness for the rest of their lives. As body art, it can also be used as a symbol of luck and good fortune for the wearer. In Finland, there is a similar tradition on Midsummer’s Eve and anyone who finds the seed of a fern in bloom should keep hold of it as this will guide them to an invisible location where hidden treasure lies. Legend dictates that the spell protecting this treasure will only be broken by one who carries the fern-seed.

This was also a popular image in Victorian times and this craze even had a name, “Pteridomania,”‘ which relates to the collecting of ferns and the use of fern motifs for decoration. This was derived from the Latin word for this particular plant, Pteridophyta. These designs could be found on everything from pottery and glassware, to textiles, metal and wood products as well as on printed paper, carvings and sculptures, and some of this artwork translates well when used as an image for a modern fern tattoo. A fern can be any one of a group of about 12,000 species of plants belonging to this specific botanical group and they come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes so if this image appeals to you, there is an abundance of varieties to choose from.

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