From Wiki: He/She Loves Me, He/She Loves Me Not is a game in which one person (often a child) seeks to determine whether the object of his or her affection returns that affection or not. It is often spoken while plucking the petals of a flower (especially a daisy) one by one, with the last petal giving the "answer" to whether he or she loves you. It is therefore dependent on whether the flower has an even or odd number of petals. It is traditionally performed by a person infatuated with another, and actually seeking to reaffirm a pre-existing belief.
The full expression of "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not..." in French is: Il / elle m'aime un peu, beaucoup, passionnément, à la folie, pas du tout (He/she loves me a little, a lot, passionately, madly, not at all). This makes the potential outcomes more numerous.
Origins of a Phrase: Unknown exactly, but Goethe's Faust, published in 1808, has the following scene in it:
(translation from the German:)
MARGARET (half aloud): He loves me—loves me not.
FAUST: Sweet angel, with thy face of heavenly bliss!
MARGARET (continues): He loves me—not—he loves me-not—(Plucking off the last leaf with fond joy.) He loves me!"
"American Children's Folklore" by Simon J. Bronner (August House Inc., Little Rock, 1988) under "Beliefs and Customs" says:
"To find out how a certain person feels about you, repeat the phrase "He loves me, he loves me not" as you pluck the petals of a daisy. If you take the gold center from the daisy and throw it up in the air, the number of pieces that fall on the back of your hand as you hold it out tells the number of children that you will have."
The FTD site online (2/13/00) says loves me/loves me not is a Victorian custom and elaborates further. On the daisy. Origin & History The daisy derived its English name from the Anglo-Saxon term daes eage, or "day's eye," referring to the way this flower opens and closes with the sun.
The daisy has a facinating history, but this just came to mind, and I thought I'd research it a little.... I also suggest Le Language des Fleurs "The Language of Flowers," published in 1818.