Professional florists would categorise the styles of flower arrangements as such: Traditional, oriental and modern flower arrangements. Traditional flower design, also known as Western flower arrangements, is the time_honoured common flower arranging style where the design is enriched with a large number of beautiful, colourful flowers. Apart from the vase in which the flowers are arranged, almost no other accessories are used in this flower style.
Western style arrangements typically consist of a free form assemblage of flowers in a container. In contrast, Ikebana is more of a disciplined form of art, governed by well_defined rules, principles and techniques. For example, certain precepts regulate elements like the light and the shadows. There is also what is known as the three points of balance _ shin_fuku_tai in Japanese _ which symbolize man, heaven and earth, respectively, and that have to be in harmonious equilibrium in order to give true life to an Ikebana flower arrangement. This and the fact that stems and branches are used in addition to flowers, are perhaps the most obvious differences with western_style flower arrangement.