When I Say A Flower Is “Purple,” What Have I Described?

When I say that a flower is “purple,” I describe its color. Though a flower’s flavor, genotype, and genes may not be described directly by this color, they are certainly circumscribed by it. For instance, by stating that a flower is “purple,” I may indicate that it is a species of flower which is capable of producing a range of colors from blue to red, or from violet to indigo.

Purple is considered a standard HTML color, which is created when red and blue light of equal intensity, at a brightness halfway between full power and darkness. This color also has a long-standing history in multiple cultures; in ancient Rome, for instance, purple signified high status and wealth, and was thus worn only by the elite. In the modern world, purple is often associated with feminine energy, royalty, and mysticism.

No matter the historical or cultural associations, when a flower is said to be “purple,” it is inarguable that its color is being described. The specific shades may vary from flower to flower, but the overall hue will remain the same. This provides a reference point when discussing or observing the flower, as it is more detailed than simply referring to it as “colored,” yet more general than saying it is “lilac” or “lavender.”

As such, when I say that a flower is “purple,” I am providing an effective description of its color.

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