Lilies are ancient flowers that have captivated people for millennia with their intense fragrance, stunning colors, and striking appearance. These beautiful blooms hold rich symbolic meanings tied to history, culture, spirituality, and more. Let's delve into the captivating world of lily meanings and symbolism.
Purity And Innocence
Admiration And Prosperity
Passion And Love
Energy And Confidence
Friendship And Enthusiasm
Royalty And Success
Lily's Meaning And Symbolism
The name “lily” originates from the Latin word “lilium” and the Greek word “lemon.” It was also borrowed from the Hebrew word “Shoshannah,” which Egyptian cultures later adopted. This floral name quickly spread and became popular across many ancient civilizations.
Today, the lily flower represents purity, fertility, rebirth, and renewal. Its pristine white petals and bright golden pollen evoke the radiance of new beginnings and innocence.
Lily Spiritual Meaning
Across different cultures and faiths, the lily is intricately linked with iconic female figures that represent grace, nobility, and fruitfulness. For instance, lilies are associated with several goddesses of fertility and motherhood such as Juno, Venus, Hera, and Ishtar. They also symbolize the Virgin Mary’s purity in Christianity.
- Lily Flower Meaning In Love
Red lilies are associated with several things, including love, passion, and desire. Asiatic lilies and oriental lilies are two types of red lilies that convey messages of romance.
- Lily Flower Meaning Death
Since the times of ancient Greeks and Romans, lilies have been associated with purity and innocence. It's perhaps unsurprising, then, that the lily is the flower most commonly associated with funeral services, as they have come to represent the soul of the deceased returning to a place of peace.
You can see our lily collection in this link: Lily flower bouquets
Where Do Lilies Come From?
Lilies are native across the Northern Hemisphere in places with temperate climates like North America, Europe, and Asia.
Originally, lilies grew wild in forests, grasslands, wetlands, and alpine regions. However, after discovering their beauty, humans began cultivating them extensively. Today, gardeners can grow various lily species and hybrids from bulbs in flower beds, borders, containers, and more.
Mythology And Folklore Related To The Lily
One origin tale from Greek mythology explains how the lily flower came into existence.
It begins when Zeus, ruler of all gods, wants his infant son Hercules to drink Hera’s milk. However, Hera refused since Hercules was an illegitimate child born out of wedlock.
Zeus cunningly brought the baby Hercules to drink milk from Hera’s breast while she slept. But when she awoke, Hera pushed them away angrily. The falling drops of milk then produced the very first lily flowers as they touched the earth.
Hence, this popular myth gave lilies their long-standing symbolic meanings of fertility, purity, and femininity which carry forward to this day.
Lily's Color Meaning And Symbolism
From passionate red to graceful white, lilies come in a rainbow of colors representing different symbolic meanings.
White Lily Flower Meaning And Symbolism
The white lily symbolizes purity, commitment, and rejuvenation of the soul. Its bright but neutral tones evoke cleansing and openness associated with fresh beginnings. Hence, white lilies frequently feature in wedding bouquets and sympathy arrangements.
Pink Lily Flower Meaning
Soft, feminine pink lilies represent grace, gentility, admiration, and caring. They make an affectionate gift for close female friends or family when they need some extra support or confidence.
Red Lily Flower Meaning And Symbolism
Fiery red lilies symbolize burning passion and desire, making them a sultry alternative to classic red roses. They convey intense beauty, sexuality, and powerful love between romantic partners.
Orange Lily Meaning
Vibrant orange lilies represent confidence, positivity, and creative energy. They make cheerful gifts celebrating major milestones like graduations, new jobs, anniversaries, and more.
Yellow Lily Flower Meaning
Sunny yellow lilies signify warm emotions like joy, optimism, gratitude, and friendship. Their bright petals instantly lift spirits, representing the happy connections between people.
Purple Lily Flower Meaning And Symbolism
Regal purple lilies indicate luxury, respect, and spiritual awareness. Their distinctive hues reference enlightenment and inspiration beyond the mundane material world. They also represent starting new chapters aligned with a greater purpose.
Meaning Of Lily Flowers By Variety
While lilies as a whole represent renewal and femininity, additional meanings come from particular species and hybrid groups:
Asiatic Lily Flower Meaning
Asiatic lilies convey varyingly vibrant meanings based on their brightly colored big, bold blooms. These hybrids offer versatility for celebrating passionate love, new vitality, confidence, and more.
Tiger Lily Flower Meaning
With their signature speckled orange blossoms, Tiger lilies symbolize positivity, pride, confidence, and encouragement. In some cultures, they specifically represent prosperity and monetary wealth.
Water Lily Flower Meaning
Water lilies growing tranquility across ponds represent spiritual awakening, enlightenment, and rebirth. The Egyptian blue water lily particularly signifies mysticism and openness to experiencing higher consciousness.
Calla Lily Flower Meaning
The calla lily flower has dual meanings expressing both life and death. One origin stems from the Greek myth about Hercules, linking calla lilies to ideas of magnificent beauty. But the calla lily is also a common funeral flower representing resurrection and purity.
Blood Lily Flower Meaning
The blood lily holds energy to help shift emotions from fear and panic to wisdom and calm during extreme situations. It assists in transforming fear into a centered, thoughtful response infused with clarity.
What Are Hybrid Lilies?
The most recently bred groups of lilies fall under the hybrid classification. These cultivars manifest selectively chosen attributes from different species.
While species lilies from the wild retain uniform traits after naturally cross-pollinating, hybrid lilies specifically propagate when breeders manually cross certain plants to achieve specific results.
Here are some top picks among the fantastic array of hybrid lilies in almost every color:
This exotic Oriental-Asiatic cross displays huge, strongly recurved blooms combining various shades of coral, magenta, and cream. Its intense clove-like fragrance and multi-colored flowers evoke imagery of 1001 Arabian Nights.
Pink Perfection bears your classic pure pink lily blossoms on tall sturdy stems ideal for cutting. It carries a light pleasant scent too.
With brushstroke speckles scattered across sunny yellow petals, Conca d’Or brings free-spirited color and vibrancy to any garden. This hardy Asiatic hybrid also holds up beautifully as cut flowers.
How Are Lilies Used?
All parts of the elegant lily flower, from roots to petals, find diverse use across different cultures:
With their showstopping blossoms and elegant forms, lilies always make stunning floral centerpieces. Their array of bright rich colors and ability to last over two weeks in vases also add striking visual drama to indoor decor.
Highly fragrant varieties like Oriental, trumpet, and tiger lilies infuse luxurious floral top notes into artisanal niche perfumes. The exotic sultry scent of certain lilies evokes the sensuality of Cleopatra’s era.
Many beauty companies today use lily extracts in product lines for revitalizing dry aging skin and reducing wrinkles. The Ancient Greeks and Romans similarly infused lily into early cosmetic skin salves and ointments for a glowing complexion.
Lily roots also produce moisturizing mucilage that soothes skin irritation. Hence these botanicals commonly feature in skincare for sensitive skin types.
Are Lily Flowers Edible?
Across East Asia, edible lilies savorily accentuate savory dishes and desserts with their sweet, delicate flavor. Lily bulbs and buds especially shine when breaded and fried, boiled in soups, or added to stir-fries and dim sum recipes in Chinese cuisine.
Do Lily Flowers Have Medicinal Properties?
Lily flowers, leaves, and bulbs contain bioactive compounds that demonstrate anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and other therapeutic effects. Hence lilies serve as important traditional folk medicines worldwide.
For instance, Chinese herbalists have used lily bulbs to remedy coughs, increase circulation, and counteract alcohol poisoning for centuries. Meanwhile, the Romans applied lily sap to heal skin wounds and burns.
Contemporary scientists also actively research identifying and isolating the specific pain-relieving, infection-fighting antioxidants and anti-spasmodic elements within various lily species.
Are Lily Flowers Toxic?
lilies are highly toxic and deadly to cats. Even small amounts of any part of the lily plant can cause acute kidney failure and death in cats. So lily flowers must be kept out of reach from felines.
Plants That Look Like Lilies
While true lilies belonging to the Lilium genus, many other flowering species closely resemble them. Below are common garden plants frequently mistaken for lilies:
Daylilies display very similar floral morphology and colors to Asiatic hybrid lilies. But instead of growing from bulbs, daylilies spread by thick tuberous roots. Their attractive flowers also each last only a day compared to lilies’ longer blooming.
Despite its misleading common name, Gloriosa superba is not a true lily but belongs instead to the Colchicaceae family like autumn crocuses. Its brilliant reddish-orange flowers tipped with wavy yellow ends make it a popular ornamental vine.
Peruvian lilies are actually unique South American flowering plants called Alstroemeria. Their vibrant speckled blooms resemble miniature Oriental lilies but grow in clumping perennial patches.
Lily Of The Nile
Agapanthus is commonly known as Lily of the Nile but falls within the Alliaceae plant family making it related to onions and garlic. The herbaceous perennial thrives with abundant spherical flower clusters though not technically lilies botanically.
Crocosmia lucifer provides bold orange and red spikes that earn it the nickname Montbretia lily. But it actually belongs to the Iridaceae family along with irises and freesia.
Interesting Facts About Lilies
- Renaissance painters like Leonardo da Vinci often used lilies symbolically in religious visual art to represent chastity and nobility.
- One underlying compound named Lycorine explains why lilies cause toxic reactions in cats but not humans.
- Breeders created an orange lily called Tiger Woods in honor of the iconic golf legend.
- Lily propagation is possible from just leaf cuttings, bulb scales, or tissue culture in labs.
- Certain species like Wood lilies (Lilium philadelphicum) can tolerate drought conditions, unlike their moisture-loving cousins.
- Ancient Roman women believed bathing in lily flower baths improved skin beauty and maintained youth.
- In the language of flowers, Calla lilies specifically symbolize magnificent beauty while funeral flowers are arranged with white lilies representing the soul’s revival after death.
Whether petite or majestic, vibrant or pristine white, lilies encapsulate timeless allure. These flowers tantalize the senses across many dimensions evoking style, luxury, purity, fertility, and the very essence of femininity.
Yet beyond surface-level romanticism, lilies also represent the satisfying simplicity of reconnecting with nature. With their beauty that has endured for centuries, lilies are sure to bring joy wherever they may land.
For those wishing to gift lilies or enhance their home with these elegant blooms, Grace Flower Shop offers a wide selection delivered throughout the UAE. Our online store makes enjoying lilies easy and convenient. Discover timeless beauty by exploring Grace.ae for all your floral needs.