I checked dictionaries and tried googling but didn't get any useful answer.

Are they just like "ice cream" and "ice-cream" where there is no difference in meaning at all? Or is there any subtle difference in usage or meaning?

People wouldn't write "wild animal" as one word, so I'm wondering if "wildflower" is somewhat special. Thank you!

  • 2
    No difference. A wildflower (or wild flower) is a flower that grows in the wild, meaning it was not intentionally seeded or planted (Wikipedia). If you are confused about whether similar words or phrases mean the same thing or not, try searching using 'vs' or 'versus', e.g. wildflower vs wild flower - this is useful in Google. Commented Apr 14 at 8:08
  • @MichaelHarvey, Thanks for your reply. I have tried googling wildflower vs wild flower but didn't find anything useful. (I forgot to mention this in the question.) The top result looks like an exact match but is actually about search engine technology rather than word meaning. Other results didn't really answer the question (or treat it as a question).
    – Betty
    Commented Apr 14 at 11:18
  • For me, The 4th Google result from the top was Wikipedia and the visible text says A wildflower (or wild flower) is a flower that grows in the wild, meaning it was not intentionally seeded or planted. The term implies that the plant is ... Commented Apr 14 at 11:49

2 Answers 2


"Wild" as an adjective has a range of senses, many of which don't apply to flowers.

It can mean "not domesticated". And in this sense it has exactly the same meaning as wild flower or wildflower.

But it could also mean in slang "amazing, awesome".

Dude, those are some totally wild flowers you have growing there.

But in any normal context "wild flower" and "wildflower" would mean exactly the same. I prefer the compound word in written form.


There is no notable difference between wildflower and wild flower.

It's a fairly common occurrence for English speakers to combine (or sometimes separate) words that appear together.

Because there aren't a lot of other words to describe flowers that grow in the wild, the pairing of "wild flower" occurs so often that the space is left out. This word appears to be a case where the more common usage is actually "wildflower" but some writers still add the space.

You don't have to worry about being misunderstood in either case.

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