The Lilac bush has a very short bloom season but a long history with art and culture. The Lilac also boasts being a favorite flower of the two U. S. presidents Washington and Jefferson. The Lilac meaning is deeply rooted in Greek mythology, as are many of today’s flowers.
The Lilac is one of the oldest flowers around today. Native to Europe and temperate areas of Asia, it’s believed the Lilac didn’t make it to the United States until the Colonial period. The bush was planted around 1750 at Governor Wentworth’s estate in New Hampshire.
The Lilac’s beauty has inspired artists and poets throughout time. Both Impressionist painters Van Gogh and Monet created works that depicted the flower. American poet Walt Whitman wrote a poem titled “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”.
Lilac Symbolism in Greek Mythology
As is common with many flower species, the Lilac has an association with Greek mythology. As the myth goes, Pan, the god of forests and fields, was deeply in love with a nymph named Syringa. On one occasion, Pan was chasing Syringa through the forest. Afraid of Pan’s advances, Syringa transformed herself into a Lilac bush. Pan did not discover Syringa’s disguise, but he did find the bush. As Lilac branches are actually hollow reeds Pan cut a reed and created his first Pan Pipe. The scientific name for the Lilac is Syringa vulgaris, a derivative of the Greek word syrinks which means pipe.
Modern Uses for Lilacs
Lilacs appear in multiple places in today’s culture from state flowers to aromatherapy. The Lilac is the state flower of New Hampshire. The Lilac symbolism for the state is meant to be a nod to the residents’ hardiness. Lilacs are also the official flower of the 8th wedding anniversary.
Not surprisingly, the flower’s intoxicating fragrance has made its way into the cosmetics and fragrance industry. Lilac essential oil also has medicinal properties and is used to aid in skin disorders and to reduce fever. In aromatherapy Lilac oil is used to decrease depression and improve relaxation.
Lilac Flower Meaning
The Primary Lilac meaning is love and romance. Due to the flower’s early spring bloom time, Lilacs also symbolize renewal and spring itself, making the flower an excellent choice for Easter bouquets either on their own or paired with tulips.
Aside from the primary Lilac symbolism, there are secondary meanings that are specific to different cultures.
The Celtics: In the celtic culture it was believed lilacs held magical powers because of their captivating fragrance.
Victorian Era: In this time period the Lilac symbolized the reminder of an old love. It was common for widows to wear this flower to honor their deceased husband.
Russia: Lilac symbolism is connected to wisdom in Russia. It was tradition to hold a Lilac bloom over a newborn’s head to impart the wisdom within the flower.
United States: The Lilac is a traditional flower given to graduates as a celebration of their achievements and new beginning.
Lilac Flower Meaning By Color
In the language of flowers, giving the color of the specific flower adds a depth to the sentiment. Below are the associated meanings with each flower color.
White Lilac: A white Lilac symbolizes purity and innocence making it a great choice for weddings or baby showers.
Violet Lilac: The deep purple Lilac symbolizes spirituality. Choose this flower for Easter or other religious celebrations.
Blue Lilac: Happiness and tranquility are the sentiments conveyed with the blue Lilac making them a great choice for just about any occasion where a celebration is warranted.
Magenta Lilac: Magenta is the red version of the Lilac language and represents love and passion. Give a bouquet of these flowers to a romantic interest for a beautiful and fragrant flower arrangement.
Lilac Lilacs: The signature color for which the flower was named, this traditional hue represents first love. Give this gift to your loved one on Valentine’s Day or an anniversary.
The Lilac is one of the most well-known and loved flowers. The flower’s distinctive fragrance makes it a popular choice for the garden and is often used as a cut flower to bring into the home. The Lilac meaning primarily focuses on love, though the flower also makes a great spring bouquet for any friend or family.
Lilac Meaning FAQ
No, not only is Lilac not toxic, it is considered a tasty and edible flower.
There are well over 1000 different Lilac varieties to enjoy.
A well-cared-for Lilac bush will easily live for 100 years or more.
The Lilac is from the Oleaceae genus, the same as the olive.
A Lilac tree will grow to a height of around 25 feet tall.