The large, trumpet-shaped blooms of Amaryllis flowers are enchanting. From the bare soil emerges a tall stem with multiple, large, vibrant star-shaped flowers. These flowers have a fascinating mythological origin and have symbolized many different things throughout history.
Amaryllis flowers are often given as gifts during the festive season, as a symbol of hope for the new year. In China, red Amaryllis flowers mean good luck. Because of their tall, sturdy flowering shoots, the Victorians saw them as a symbol of determination and strength, as well as beauty and love.
Amaryllis flowers come in a range of colors, from white to purple, red, and pink. All the different colored Amaryllis flowers have various meanings. Giving someone a potted Amaryllis can therefore convey a few different sentiments. Here, we discuss the symbolism and meaning of these gorgeous plants.
What Is The Meaning And Symbolism Of Amaryllis Flowers?
All flowers in the genus Hippeastrum are commonly known as Amaryllis. The name Hippeastrum is a Greek word that directly translates to “knight’s star” or “horseman’s star”. This name was likely given because of the star-like flowers.
The name Amaryllis is a derivation of the Greek word “amarysso” which means “to sparkle”. In Greece, Amaryllis is also a female name that means fresh and sparkling. If you look closely at an Amaryllis flower, you will see that the petals have a slight sparkle.
Amaryllis flowers were first brought to England by botanists in the 18th century. The Victorians loved these tall, showy flowers. To them, they resembled beautifully dressed ladies of the court.
Because of the flowers height and strong, sturdy stem, the Victorians saw them as a symbol of strength and determination. They also saw them as a profound symbol of love, beauty, passion and attraction, especially red ones.
Today, the different colors of Amaryllis flowers have various meanings:
- In modern China, red Amaryllis flowers mean good luck.
- In other parts of the world, they remain a symbol of beauty, attraction, passion, and love.
- White amaryllis flowers symbolize purity and femininity.
- Pink amaryllis flowers symbolize friendship.
- Purple Amaryllis flowers are a symbol of spirituality and nobility. Purple is traditionally a color associated with royalty.
The Amaryllis Flower In Greek Mythology
Amaryllis flowers have a beautiful, romantic origin story in classic Greek mythology.
According to Greek mythology, Amaryllis was a timid, cave-dwelling nymph. She became enamored with a handsome shepherd called Alteo. He had the power of Hercules and the physical appearance of Apollo.
But Alteo was cold-hearted and did not reciprocate Amaryllis’ affection. She visited the Oracle of Delphi for advice on how to win his heart. Delphi instructed her to go to Alteos home every night for thirty nights. She was to stand outside, wearing all white, and repeatedly pierce her heart with a golden arrow.
Amaryllis followed the Oracle’s orders night after night, but it was only on the 30th night that Alteo opened his front door. He saw that a flower had grown from the pool of blood that had poured from Amaryllis’s heart.
This crimson red flower, the Amaryllis, helped her win Alteo’s love. The Amaryllis flower came to symbolize determination and success achieved through hard work. The flower is also a symbol of beauty and love.
The Amaryllis Flower Is The Symbol For Huntington’s Disease
The fatal genetic disorder, Huntington’s disease, has become closely associated with the Amaryllis flower. The Huntington’s community has chosen the flower as the international symbol for the disease.
Huntington’s disease affects both the body and the mind, and the shape of Amaryllis flowers are a representation of the torso and head.
It symbolizes the determination and strength that people with Huntington’s have in their struggle with the disease. The flowers also signify hope for the future of Huntington’s research. They celebrate the achievements made by medical science in the treatment of the disease.
Every year, the Huntington’s Disease Association have a fundraising drive during which they sell Amaryllis bulbs. All the proceeds go towards supporting the wonderful work of the charity organization.
Keeping a potted Amaryllis flower in your home is a way of showing solidarity with sufferers of Huntington’s disease and their loved ones.
When To Give Someone An Amaryllis Flower
Considering the Amaryllis flower’s various meanings, when would be appropriate to gift someone a potted Amaryllis?
Red Amaryllis flowers are the perfect gift for a romantic partner because they symbolize love, beauty, passion, and attraction.
Red Amaryllises are also very popular gifts that are shared during the festive season. Their bright color and showy blooms are a celebration of the year that has passed and symbolize hope for the new year.
To tell someone that you feel they are worthy of all the riches and success in the world, give them a purple Amaryllis flower. It symbolizes spirituality and nobility.
White Amaryllis flowers are often given to mourning families at funerals. They send a message of sympathy and loving support.
Pink Amaryllis flowers are gifted between friends of all genders (even though pink is considered a feminine color). They are a symbol of platonic friendship.
Because Amaryllis flowers symbolize strength and determination, they are great gifts to give to people who have overcome or achieved something in their lives. For example, as a graduation gift.
Amaryllis Flowers In Literature
Amaryllis flowers feature in Victorian literature. The famous Victorian poet, Alfred Tennyson, mentions them in his poem “The Daisy”:
What slender campanili grew
By bays, the peacock’s neck in hue;
Where, here and there, on sandy beaches
A milky-bell’d Amaryllis blew.
Medicinal Uses Of Amaryllis Flowers
Amaryllis belladonna has been used in folk medicine for centuries. Modern research on the plant’s medicinal properties has revealed that the plant’s bulb contains alkaloids. These organic compounds are medicinally significant because of their physiological effects on people.
The extracts from Amaryllis bulbs can be used to create medicines for treating anxiety, seizures, and depression. They are also shown to have antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Amaryllis flowers have a rich mythological history, and over the centuries, they have taken on a variety of meanings, from love, beauty, and passion, to strength, determination, and good luck. These glorious blooms are the perfect gift.
Christmas time is not the only time to gift people Amaryllis flowers. When you want to remind your romantic partner of your love, support a grieving person, show your solidarity with sufferers of Huntington’s disease, or even just express love to a friend, an Amaryllis should be the flower given.