- Author: David Bellamy
Lilies herald the beginning of summer. Their trumpet-shaped blooms come in many sizes, and many have a great fragrance. These late spring-blooming bulbs now come in shades of white, yellow, orange, pink, and red, every combination of these colors.
Despite their variety, there are many plants in the bulb and perennial catalogs with “Lily” in their common name, which are not true lilies, True lilies are in the genus “Lilium”, herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs. Some of the imposters using the name lily, include. Daylilies (Hermerocallis), Water Lily (Nymphaeaceae), Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus), Kaffir Lily (Clivia miniata), Canna Lily (Canna), and Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis).
Although all true lilies are strikingly beautiful, the two types, known as Oriental and Asiatic lilies, have some distinct differences. Oriental Lilies, such as Stargazer (Lilium orientalis ‘Stargazer') are known for their fragrant perfume. Asiatic lilies have a wider range of colors, no fragrance, and maybe slightly easier to grow.
Lilies have been around for a long time, and so has the folklore about them. In Greek mythology, the lily stands for motherhood and rebirth. It was believed that the lily was created from the mild of Hera, wife of Zeus. In ancient Greece, it was also regarded as a symbol of sexuality. In Roman mythology, similar tales are found, centered around Venus.
Lilies in Religion
Lilies grow in temperate and sub-tropical climates around the world, encompassing many cultures and religions, where they are a part of many religious celebrations and traditions. Here are a few.
In Christianity, the lily is considered by some as a symbol of chastity and purity, The Virgin Mary was believed to be adorned with lilies in her tomb, at which point many of her attributes became associated with the flower.
In Buddhism, tiger lily represents mercy, compassion, and aggressive traits associated with feminine nature.
Other Popular Associations with Lilies:
- The Tiger lily stands for the courage and the belligerent nature of women. It's also known to represent one's balanced and energetic life.
- The Easter lily stands for virtue, hope, and life. Legend has it that these lilies were created from Christ's sweat and celebrate his resurrection three days after he was crucified, hence the name.
- Stargazer lilies symbolize religious zeal and belief in the Almighty. They are also a symbol of the liberation of a person from obstacles and worries.
- Red lilies portray love, ardor, and affection for your loved ones.
- Orange lilies stand for happiness, love, and warmth.
- Pink lilies represent wealth, youth, vigor, and joy.
- White lilies are the symbol of purity, innocence, tranquility, and humility.
- Yellow-colored lilies represent merriment and playfulness.