What Is the Fear of Flowers?

Yellow and Orange Flower Petals on Table
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Not to be confused with anthropophobia, or the fear of people, anthophobia is the name given to a fear of flowers. Some people are afraid of all flowers, while others fear only one or more specific types of flowers.

So what can cause anthophobia? Often, the culprit is a previous negative experience with flowers. For example, you may have seen a scary scene in a film or TV show that involved flowers or even having watched a parent being afraid of flowers can be enough to plant the seed for anthophobia to develop later in life. Some people cannot trace their fear to a specific event at all, but in the end, it's not really necessary to discover the cause in order to treat this phobia.

Anthophobia and Medical Concerns

Plants can cause allergies and skin reactions in sensitive individuals. If you suffer from a medical condition that's triggered by one or more flowers, well... avoiding those flowers is a good way to keep yourself healthy. By definition, a justified fear is not diagnosable as a phobia, which is considered an irrational fear. 

Nonetheless, it is possible for those with medical concerns to take their fears too far and even develop a legitimate phobia. If you are sensitive to only one or two flowers yet begin to avoid all flowers, your fear is no longer reasonable and justified. It can be difficult to tell when a healthy avoidance becomes an unhealthy phobia, so professional guidance may be appropriate.

Anthophobia and Related Fears

For some people, the fear of flowers is actually based in another phobia. Those with the fear of germs might be afraid of contamination from soil. Those who fear bees or other insects may worry that flowers are infested with bugs. People with food phobias might be afraid of flowers that are used in cooking.

In these cases, treating the underlying phobia generally eliminates the anthophobia. However, it can be difficult to determine exactly which phobia is involved. Additionally, many people suffer from more than one phobia. A trained mental health professional can tease out the various issues and develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses all of the concerns; if your life is being heavily impacted by any phobia, get in touch with a mental health specialist today.

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  • American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.