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Lily – An Historical Introduction

Graceful and devious, Lily or Lilium is a gorgeous flower having a pleasing appearance plus eternal beauty – but, you already know this, yes?

What you might not be aware of about Lily is it is among the oldest cultivated plants. Isn’t it an interesting surprise? Yes, Britannica states that Madonna Lily was used in a medicinal ointment in 2nd millennium B.C. But that’s not all. While Romans and Greeks used Lily for ornamental plants, the relationship of Madonna Lily (derived from the Greek word “leiron”) with the Virgin Mary (in her role of Queen of the Angels) as a symbol of purity in the Middle Ages is also a worthy revelation.

Having a reminisce of their depictions in 1580 B.C. Crete, Greece; Lilies are the May birth flower. The irony is that this canto on Lily is thoughtfully written in its blooming month of August.

The Varieties & Symbols of Lily with Meanings

The fourth highly admired flower across the globe, Lily depicts six gorgeous colours - white, gold, yellow, orange, pink, red and purple. Over time, Lilies’ varieties increased – with that also came new meanings and symbolisms. Lilies carry diverse meanings. This can essentially be defined by their hue:

Lilies – the 30th-anniversary flower – in their white colour symbolise Chastity and Virtue.

Lilies of the Valley - being the 2nd Anniversary Flower - imply bliss and purity of heart. This variety of Lily has been associated with humility and devotion. If the legend surrounding it is to be believed, the affection for this beautiful flower bloomed in the heart of Nightingale so strongly that it avoided returning to the woods waiting for the blooming of Lily in spring.

Perivian Lilies (alstroemeria – the Lilies of the Incas) signify friendship and devotion. This South American lily variety dawns pink, white, orange, purple, red, yellow and salmon colours.

▶ White Stargazer Lilies convey sympathy, integrity, and virtue.

▶ Orange Tiger Lilies communicate pride and confidence.

▶ Pink Stargazer Lilies stand for wealth and prosperity.

▶ Calla Lily is the 6th anniversary graceful and slender flower symbolising transition and growth – mirroring beauty and pride gained with wisdom over some time.

▶ Lilac is the 8th anniversary lily of the springtime having a heart shape. Having irresistible fragrance, it dawns green leaves and symbolises reminiscing emotions of first love.

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The Stargazer lily – acclaimed for its attractive white, red, pink petals, has a heavenly scent. This specific lily is a multiple occasion favourite. It is referred to as “Stargazer” because it blooms with a face pointed towards the sky. Orange coloured Tiger Lilies have brown-toned spots. They have white or pink-coloured hues expanded into hybrid versions. Descending from the regal lily - a white Chinese species – are the Trumpet Lilies having a more substantial appearance, with tall blossoms. Trumpets carry powerfully deep fragrance, making them apt for bouquets. Lastly, it is merited to know that Lilies are the flowers generally associated with funerals. They symbolise that the soul of the departed has now been a recipient of reinstated innocence following the death – such is the purity of Lily.