When you think about the name lilac, you would first think of the beautiful lilac color – somewhat like a lighter shade of purple. It has the same name as the color but it doesn’t make it less of a floral beauty.
But did you know that lilacs are not just pretty flowers? They have this amazing sweet scent and come in various floral colors. Aside from its fragrance, you have to be in on knowing what’s behind the lilac flower meaning and symbolism.
Lilacs can be used as an ornament, form of tea, and in folkloric medicine. Each color it comes in has a special meaning. For example, a red and magenta lilac means genuine love. A white, pink, and yellow lilac symbolizes innocence, gentleness, and friendship. Lastly, blue and purple lilac represents pride and grief.
History of the Lilac Plant
The lilac shrub was first brought to Europe in the 16th century by Puritans traveling from Persia. They were first botanically described around 1625. Lilac tree or shrub is a plant with charming and colorful flowers composed of large panicles and a fragrant scent. It is an elegant springtime flowering shrub or tree native to Eastern Europe and in some regions of temperate Asia.
The flowers belong to the Syringa genus of the Oleaceae family or Olive family. It comes from the same family as olives and is often mistaken for an olive tree. The genus name comes from the Greek word syrinx which means pipe or tube. The lilac’s scientific name is in reference with how the stems are hollow on the inside.
There are only about 25 species of these simple yet delicate flowers with a hardy nature! A few of these wonderful species include the common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris), the Persian Lilac (Syringa persica), and the Daphne Lilac (Syringa pubescens).
Have you ever read about a flower whose common name comes from numerous cultural meanings? It arises from several foreign words such as the French word lilas, Arabic word līlak, the Persian word nīlak, or the Sanskrit nīl. With these diverse words in translation, the lilac still beholds one true meaning – lilac means a dark blue.
With that, other popularly associated names with the lilac include Laylock and Blow-pipe Tree. Lilacs bloom in early or late spring and have one of the earliest bloom times among other flowers. Lilacs grow best under direct sunlight and well draining soils. Lilacs last for some seasons hence why both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had a love for lilac trees.
Symbolism of Lilac Blossoms
The lilacs were symbolic of many beliefs. For instance, a white lilac embodies feminine purity and virginity. It can also symbolize confidence. Lilacs symbolize spring too because it is one of the earliest flowers to bloom in the year.
It was believed that the lilac symbolism stood for the attribute of being one of a kind – a flower like no other is what the folk say. It brought to life the bravery of going against the status quo by encouraging emotional expressions.
In England, these blossoms are also symbolic of a woman’s fertility. The people of New Hampshire honor the purple lilacs as their official state flower for how it symbolizes the hardy character of the men and most specifically, the women. They often called it the state flower of New Hampshire.
Lilacs also symbolize mystical entities. The zodiac Libra and Roman goddess of love and beauty – Venus, are said to be embodied by the grace of these blooms. It is the official flower that represents an 8th wedding anniversary showing a couple’s happiness and tranquility.
Meaning of Lilac Flowers
Lilac have many meanings. The secret behind lilac meanings are beautiful and intriguing. In the language of flowers, this beautiful flower is a messenger spreading happiness and glee. They are also meant as floral memoirs of your first love. It can have different meanings. What can mean a sweet memoir can also be an aching past because these flowers also mean a beautiful yet tragic love that is lost.
Lilacs also have another symbolic meaning. Another different meaning it stands for is floral good luck when gifting to women symbolizing their timeless beauty and sweetness.
What does a White Lilac Flower Mean?
White lilacs will mean your untinged innocence. Surprisingly, it is also a floral embodiment of the memoir of a first love. It can also stand for purity and innocence – a youthful innocence.
What does a Red Lilac Blossom Symbolize?
Red lilac flowers symbolize love and not just any kind of love! It specifically symbolizes a platonic kind of love with absolutely no romance! Just genuine love. Cherish this because this flower can also mean mourning over the loss of this love!
What does a Magenta Lilac Flower Represent?
A magenta lilac is sometimes often mistaken for a red one. Although, its meaning is quite different. Magenta lilacs symbolize love and romance or love and passion!
What does a Blue Lilac Floret Indicate?
Blue lilacs are the glory of the Syringa genus. These bluish purple flowers indicate pride and independence.
What does a Pink Lilac Bloom Represent?
The power of eternal youth dances gracefully with the awe of a pink lilac! Not only that, but pink lilacs also represent gentleness and serenity.
What does a Purple Lilac Flower Symbolize?
Sometimes this color is often a dark or light purple. Oddly enough, purple lilacs symbolize someone’s grief and optimism. It is often also associated with the question: “do you still love me?” towards a romantic interest.
What does a Yellow Blossom Mean?
A never-ending bond of friendship is what is meant by yellow Laylocks. If you’re ever in a small quarrel with a dear friend, offer them this flower and remind them of the special bond you have!
What is the Cultural Significance of Lilac Flowers?
The lilacs are culturally diverse flowers bearing with them a few wholesome traditions and customs from different cultures. During the Victorian era, sprigs from lilacs were traditionally sent over to fiancés who wished to have their engagements broken off. The Victorian age also believed it was a symbolism of a lost love and an old love.
In Japan, the Ainu used stem poles from lilacs as protection from evil. The tradition instructs that the poles be placed specifically on the eastern side of the lodge during death ceremonies along with where the bear feasts were held.
Russian culture believes that holding a sprig of lilac above a newborn baby was said to bring wisdom. Ancient cultures of Celtics regarded the flower as magical because of its enchanting fragrance. However, ancient Celts also believe this fragrance was intoxicating.
In a deeply rooted Mediterranean culture, lilacs were said to have originated from southeastern Europe and are associated with the Eastern season. The world of arts also gives importance to the lilacs.
A poem, written by American poet Walt Whitman, titled When Lilacs Last in the Door Yard Bloom’d was written to honor the death of President Abraham Lincoln. Other arts such as Lilacs in the Sun were painted by Claude Monet in 1872 that used an Impressionism style to honor the flowers.
Meanwhile, Lilac Bush by Vincent van Gogh created beautiful painting during his stay in Saint-Rémy.
What is the Spiritual Influence of Lilac Blooms?
The floral essence of Lilacs indulges in promoting intuition and aligning positive chakra. This fully promotes the light within the soul. The flowers are also said to open doorways of light between the physical and mystical world. It shows different perspectives and aspects of true life.
This essence can also guide the flowing energy of the body. It raises the frequency of the energy flow tuning into a more positive and energetic body vibration.
What is the Biblical Meaning of Lilac Florets?
Christian faith believes these flowers represent Spring and the rebirth of Christ. Its fresh blooms hint at the reconciliation preached by this religion. The divine truth lies within each petal of each flower symbolizing the ultimate unity of all things.
What are the Folktales Associated with Lilac Blossoms?
Many urban stories tell about the mystical and magical powers of the lilacs. In one short tale, old folks used to say that the flowers were only planted to drive away evil! Fresh Laylock flowers were planted near or in the lawns of haunted houses to clear evil vibrations.
So, if you see a lilac anywhere near a house or building, better steer clear from that or you might just get your pants spooked! Another folklore about lilacs is that if you wore lilacs, you will meet and marry a partner who is pure of kindness and has a good heart.
In Greek mythology, lilacs were an important part of the story of Pan the god of forests and fields. The story goes that Pan fell in love with a nymph named Syringa. The nymph Syringa was trying to avoid Pan’s advances by turning herself into a lilac. Upon seeing the shrub, he turned the hollow reeds into the first pan pipe.
What does a Lilac Flower Tattoo Symbolize?
Take a look at these flowers and try to guess what a tattoo of this could mean. If it isn’t in plain sight yet, a tattoo of these blossoms celebrates youthfulness, solitude, and beauty. Hinting at the beauty of each flower, a tattoo of this will also symbolize your confidence and pride!
Uses of Lilac Plants
Lilacs are a great choice as an ornamental to plant in many outdoor gardens and potted containers. Its flowers bloom between 10-14 days which small birds and insects are attracted to!
In ancient China, lilacs or Sung lo cha are used as a tea substitute and essential oil. The flowers surprisingly add a lemony and pungent floral scent and taste to food. For the Iroquois, the petals were a popular additive to delicacies and sweets like marzipan, ice cream, and yogurt.
Early Europeans took the liking of traditionally using the stems for pipe manufacture. The plant stems were dried and then burned to obtain the sweet fragrance of the flower!
These plants also have a few folkloric medical uses. Iroquois people practiced chewing on the bark or leaves to relieve sore mouths. It was also known as a fever reducer. It was said to help reduce fever caused by skin disorders. A word of warning that it’s a must to always consult a medical professional before using this plant or any part of it for medical purposes.
~ image source: depositphotos/studiograndouest