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The amaryllis is a popular flower, used in a variety of contexts. The flower can surely brighten a person’s day because of its beauty and sweet scent. Aside from that, it also has hidden meanings and positive symbolism. Here’s what you need to know about amaryllis.
What is the Amaryllis?
Amaryllis is the only genus belonging to the Amaryllidaceae family. This bell-shaped flower originated in Central and South America. However, it can also be found around the world, especially in tropical areas. Aside from that, it also comes in several colors, including deep red, pink, orange, yellow, purple, and white. There are also variegated types wherein one blossom exhibits two or more colors.
Aside from its common name, this bright-colored flower is also known as belladonna lily, naked lily, Amarillo, and Jersey lily. Usually, the flower blooms from spring to summer, so it is also called the March lily.
As mentioned, amaryllis has several varieties. The most popular is the Amaryllis belladonna, which is indigenous to South Africa. The Hippeastrum species, on the other hand, are native to South American countries such as Mexico, Brazil, and Peru.
Stories and Myths about the Amaryllis
In Greek Mythology, the flower was thought to materialize from Amaryllis’ blood. As the story goes, Amaryllis fell in love with Alteo, a handsome shepherd with the strength of Hercules. Unfortunately, her love for him was unrequited, so she hoped to win his heart by giving him a unique flower. Afterward, Amaryllis went to the oracle of Delphi to ask for advice.
Following the oracle’s instructions, Amaryllis went to Alteo’s home for thirty days, and each night she pierced her heart with a golden arrow. On the thirtieth night, Alteo opened his door, and he saw beautiful crimson flowers that stemmed from the blood of Amaryllis’ heart. From there, Alteo was enamored, and Amaryllis’ heart was healed.
Meaning and Symbolism of Amaryllis
The name amaryllis came from the Greek word amarysso, meaning to sparkle. In symbolism, this gorgeous flower is associated with love and romance due to its mythological past. Additionally, it also has other meanings, including the following:
- Unrequited Love – According to Greek mythology, Amaryllis’ love for Alteo was initially one-sided. For this reason, the flower has become a symbol of unrequited love, and some people send this flower to express their pain.
- Attention – Amaryllis is a symbol of attention because it exudes great beauty, which can catch people’s eyes or attention.
- Pride – In the Victorian era, amaryllis was used as a symbol of pride due to its height. It represents people’s vanity and pride.
- Inner Beauty – This gorgeous flower is a symbol of elegance and radiant beauty, and it can also represent the beauty that goes beyond the physical. When given to a woman, the flower will tell her that she is beautiful from the inside and out.
- Strength and Determination – Amaryllis is a symbol of strength and determination due to various reasons. For one, the flower represents Amaryllis’ strength and determination to gain Alteo’s love. The second reason is that the amaryllis plant is sturdy and resilient, especially when grown indoors.
- Success – Amaryllis can also represent success, and it is often given as a token of recognition to express a job well done.
Aside from those interpretations, amaryllis has other meanings, depending on its color.
- Red – Red amaryllis is the most common variety, and it symbolizes love, passion, and attraction. As such, it is the perfect flower you can give to your special someone. In China, red amaryllis signifies good luck, and it is often given to loved ones on special occasions.
- Pink – Pink amaryllis is a symbol of friendship. Despite its feminine color, this charming blossom can be given to your male friends to signify a deep friendship between two people.
- Purple – Typically, purple amaryllis is used as a symbol of nobility and royalty; however, it can also be used to represent the spiritual part of life.
- White – The white amaryllis is often given to a family in mourning to communicate a loving and sympathetic message. Aside from that, it also symbolizes purity, innocence, and femininity.
- Orange – The orange amaryllis represents the positive energy that leads to good health and happiness. As such, this charming flower is often used as a home decor or houseplant to attract positive vibes.
- Yellow – Yellow amaryllis is a symbol of happiness, luck, and good times. For this reason, this variety is usually given as housewarming gifts. Additionally, this flower is also given to people with significant achievements because it symbolizes courage, pride, and victory.
Uses of Amaryllis throughout History
- In Traditional Medicine
In ancient times, some varieties of amaryllis, like the Hippeastrum puniceum, were believed to have therapeutic properties, and were used to treat wounds and swelling.
- In Arts and Literature
The amaryllis has a unique beauty that can catch people’s attention, and it has inspired many artists. For example, Alfred Tennyson, a popular poet in the Victorian era, wrote about the beauty of amaryllis in his poem The Daisy.
The Amaryllis in Use Today
Today, amaryllis is used as a symbol of Huntington’s disease, with the flower being used by international and local organizations and associations to mark their medical breakthroughs and achievements.
In some cultures, bright red amaryllis is used as Christmas décor. The holiday season would be incomplete without it because it adds joy and happiness to the home.
In aromatherapy, amaryllis is used to make essential oils. The reason is that it has energizing and relaxing properties. Lastly, amaryllis is also used in weddings and flower arrangements because it represents love and passion.
When to Give Amaryllis?
Amaryllis has several meanings that make it an excellent present for various occasions, including the following:
- Housewarmings – In China, amaryllis is given to friends and family because it is believed to bring luck, fortune, and good health. As such, you can give orange or red amaryllis to express your well-wishes for the new homeowners.
- Valentine’s Day – Because red amaryllis represents love, attraction, and passion, it can be given to your special someone to show your love and affection for the recipient.
- Graduations – You can give yellow amaryllis to a graduate because it is a symbol of success and victory. By doing this, you are not only congratulating them but recognizing their hard work as well.
- Get Well Gift – As a symbol of good health, an orange amaryllis can be given to family and friends who are feeling unwell. By giving this flower, you are expressing your wishes that the recipient will have a rapid recovery.
- Funerals – White amaryllis is presented to a grieving family because it communicates your sympathies and support.
- Christmas – Like poinsettia, amaryllis is also considered a Christmas flower, and it can be given to your family and friends to show your well-wishes.
Overall, the amaryllis can put a smile on someone’s face because of its beauty and sweet scent. Plus, it also has several positive meanings that can help express your heartfelt emotions.