The beautiful Amaryllis is often associated with the winter holiday season. Beyond that, the Amaryllis meaning in flower language is heavily influenced by Greek mythology. While the red and white varieties of the flower are the most popular, the Amaryllis is available in an array of colors, each with its own secondary meaning.
The Amaryllis genus is native to Africa. The name Amaryllis is often used as a common name for the genus Hippeastrum, a closely related genus native to South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico. The two genuses separated in the 19th century but are still remarkably similar.
There are approximately 90 species of Amaryllis with an additional 600 hybrids and cultivars. The Amaryllis has made its way around the globe. The flower first made its way to Europe in the 1700s, but it was the Dutch that were responsible for the vast variety of hybrids. The Dutch were the first commercial breeders of the Amaryllis, obtaining their parent species from Mexico and South America. Once they had bred the flower extensively, the breeds were distributed to several countries.
The beauty of the Amaryllis gained the flower acknowledgment in culture, including the poem “The Daisy” by Victorian poet Alfred Tennyson.
Amaryllis Symbolism in Greek Mythology
The name Amaryllis is a Greek female name meaning “to sparkle”. The word Hippeastrum translates to “Horseman’s star” which is a nod to the star-shaped blooms.
According to Greek mythology, a maiden named Amaryllis fell in love with a shepard named Alteo but he did not return her affections. Knowing Alteo had a passion for flowers, Amaryllis sought the advice of the Oracle of Delpi. The Oracle told her to stand outside Alteo’s home for 30 nights, piercing her heart with a golden arrow. Finally, on the 30th night, a beautiful flower grew from her blood. The flower caught Alteo’s attention and Amaryllis won his love. This myth explains why love and beauty are both a part of the Amaryllis meaning.
Modern Uses for the Amaryllis
While the Amaryllis is steeped in history, it has its place in modern times as well. A modified image of the Amaryllis is used as a symbol for Huntington’s disease. The flower shape represents the head and upper torso to signify how the disease affects both mental and physical ability.
Some Hippeastrum species are high in alkaloids, which are beneficial in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and seizures.
The primary Amaryllis flower meanings are determination, beauty, love, and pride. A secondary symbolism for the flower is success, which is what makes this an excellent addition to a flower arrangement celebrating hard work and achievement.
The Amaryllis is often given at Christmas because the flower represents love, as well as ethereal beauty. These flowers make a great gift for a loved one and are a popular houseplant because the bulbs easily bloom indoors.
Amaryllis Flower Meaning By Color
In the language of flowers and flower giving, the specific color of the flower represents additional meanings to the primary flower symbolism. Below are the various meanings associated with each bloom color.
Red Amaryllis: The color red represents passion, love, attraction, and beauty. This is the perfect flower to give a romantic interest, especially when a more tropical vibe is wanted than the traditional rose can give.
Yellow Amaryllis: Happiness and joy are symbolized by the yellow Amaryllis. Give these flowers for any happy occasion from birthdays to baby showers.
Orange Amaryllis: Give the gift of happiness, good luck, and positive energy with orange Amaryllis. Choose these flowers for occasions such as promotions, graduations, or as a housewarming gift.
Purple Amaryllis: The color purple symbolizes nobility, spirituality, and royalty. While you may not be visiting royalty, this Amaryllis flower meaning is a good choice for any religious occasion or a wedding if purple suits the color scheme.
The Amaryllis flower is a tropical beauty that looks incredible by itself or in a flower arrangement. Unlike cut flowers, giving a planted Amaryllis allows your floral gift to last for years to come. The Amaryllis meaning is steeped in history and is a wonderfully exotic choice to express your love or support of that special someone.
Amaryllis Meaning FAQ
Yes, the Amaryllis is toxic to pets and should be kept away from them.
Yes, the Amaryllis will rebloom each year if the bulb is cared for. Once the current bloom dies off, cut the stems down to one inch above the soil.
Each bloom will last between two to three weeks. As the plant will produce between three to six flowers, you can enjoy up to eight weeks of Amaryllis beauty.
The Amaryllis fragrance is described as a floral scent with citrus undernotes similar to a cross between a rose and a nectarine.
Some of the most-loved varieties of Amaryllis are Amadeus Candy, Dancing Queen, Double Dragon, and Double Dream.