Believed to have originated from South America, lantana flowers have since spread across the world because of their resilient nature and stunning multi-color blooms.
In ancient times, lantana flowers were used medicinally to treat everything from insect bites to gastrointestinal issues. Today, lantana is typically grown for its aesthetic beauty, prized for its flower clusters of four petals each.
Lantana flowers, native to the tropical climates of the world, are considered free-spirited and fun-loving plants. It comes in a wide variety of colors, including red, orange, yellow, pink, and purple. This flower grows best in full sun and can thrive in just about any garden.
But what is the lantana flower meaning and symbolism? We’ll take a closer look in this post!
What is the Etymological Meaning of Lantana?
The name “lantana” has a complex etymology that has been debated by scholars for many years. Some believe that the name was derived from the Latin word ‘lenta’ which means ‘flexible’ or ‘pliable’. This is because the stems of the plant have a flexible nature that allows them to bend and twist to form different shapes.
Others believe that the name comes from the Latin word ‘lancea’ which means ‘spear’. This is because the leaves of the plant are sharp and pointed, resembling a spearhead.
However, the most widely accepted theory about the etymology of lantana is that it comes from the Italian word ‘lantana’, which means ‘a plant that grows and spreads quickly’.
This makes sense because lantana is known for its rapid growth and its ability to spread quickly. In fact, in some parts of the world, lantana is considered to be an invasive species because of its ability to take over an area and choke out other plants.
Resemblance of Lantana Camara to Viburnum Lantana
A final note on the origin of the names of these flowering plants has to do with its resemblance to Viburnum lantana, also known as the wayfaring tree. The two plants, common lantana and the wayfaring tree, look a lot alike, and grow similarly in well drained soil, but are not actually related.
Interestingly, lantana has many common names in different parts of the world, and some of these names also give us a clue about the plant’s etymology.
In French, lantana is called ‘camara’ (based on lantana camara, the scientific name for common lantana) which also means ‘chamber’, and this is believed to refer to the little chambers that are formed by the plant’s flowers.
In India, West Indian lantana is known as ‘putikaranja’ which means ‘childbirth tree’ because it was believed to help ease the pains of childbirth.
There are many different types of lantana flowers, including popcorn lantana, trailing lantana, common lantana, Lantana involucrata, Lantana montevidensis, and others, all within the same genus. Each of these native species has its own symbolic meaning depending on where it is being grown.
What is the Symbolic Meaning of the Lantana Plant?
The lantana flower, also known as “Spanish Flag” or “Wild Sage,” is native to the Caribbean and tropical regions of Central America and South America. It is now grown in many parts of the world and has become an invasive species in some areas due to its hardiness and ability to adapt to different climates.
The lantana flower grows in clusters of small, tubular flowers that can be pink, orange, yellow, or a combination of these colors.
Common lantana flowers are often used for ornamental purposes in gardens and landscaping because of their striking colors and long-lasting blooms. Lantana flowers attract pollinators in most tropical regions as well.
Each hue of the lantana plant represents a different symbolic meaning – let’s take a closer look.
What Do Yellow Lantana Plants Symbolize?
The yellow lantana plant symbolizes happiness, joy, and warmth. It radiates positivity and is associated with the sun’s energy and the energy of friendship. Yellow lantana flowers are often given as gifts to express congratulations or to bring cheer to a loved one’s day.
They are also known for their ability to attract butterflies, which are considered a symbol of transformation and rebirth.
What Does the Pink Lantana Shrub Represent?
The pink lantana shrub, on the other hand, represents femininity, love, and compassion.
These hues are often associated with beauty, grace, and elegance, and as such, make a suitable gift for a significant other or for a close friend in need of emotional support. In many cultures, pink is also seen as a symbol of innocence and youthfulness, making pink lantanas an excellent choice for a baby shower or child’s birthday party.
What Does an Orange Lantana Bloom Symbolize?
Orange lantana blooms – like those from the popular variety ‘Miss Huff’ – hold a different meaning – they are often associated with passion, excitement, and intensity.
These colors on ‘Miss Huff’ and other varieties represent the energy and enthusiasm of one’s emotions, and even the fire within. It shows that one is not afraid to experience life fully and to indulge in joyful moments.
Orange is often used to reflect sunrises and sunsets, signifying new beginnings and endings. Orange lantanas, therefore, can serve as a gift to someone about to embark on a new journey or chapter in their lives.
What is the Cultural Significance of Lantana?
In many cultures, the common lantana flower is seen as a symbol of change and new beginnings. It is believed that the flower’s vibrant colors represent the different paths that life can take, and that it can inspire us to embrace change and adapt to new situations.
Symbolic Meaning of Lantana by Culture
In some Native American cultures and in the Middle East, lantana flowers are used for its medicinal and fungicidal properties. Its seeds and berries are believed to have healing properties and are used to treat a variety of ailments, from colds and coughs to digestive problems.
In Greek mythology and the Victorian Era, lantana flowers held strong meaning as well. Because they could survive fire with their basal shoots, they were revered as spiritual flowers that symbolize strength.
Religious and Spiritual Symbolic Meaning of Lantana
The lantana flower also has spiritual and religious significance in some cultures. For example, in Hinduism, the flower is associated with the goddess Lakshmi, who is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. The flower is often used in worship and is considered to be a symbol of good luck and fortune.
In some parts of the world, the lantana flower is used in funerary traditions. In Mexico, for example, it is believed that the flower can guide the soul of the deceased to the afterlife.
The flower is often used to decorate altars and graves during the Day of the Dead celebrations. It has been grown ornamentally since Dutch explorers first brought it to the new world!
Toxicity of Lantana Flowers
Is lantana poisonous? The leaves of common lantana, native to tropical regions, are believed to be poisonous to many animal species.
However, despite its invasive and semi-toxic nature, the common lantana flower also has environmental significance. It is a nectar-rich flower that attracts a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies. The plant also provides habitat for native insects and birds, making it an important part of many ecosystems.
What is the Symbolism of a Lantana Tattoo?
Like the flower, a lantana tattoo can represent togetherness and the idea that we are stronger together. It symbolizes that we should embrace our differences and come together as one.
This flower also symbolizes change and transformation. The flower undergoes a changing process from a bud to a beautiful bloom, just like how we go through changes and transformations in life. The lantana tattoo can be a reminder of embracing change and transformation, leading to personal growth.
The vibrant colors of the common lantana flower represent happiness, joy, and positivity. A lantana tattoo can serve as a reminder to always find the bright side of things and to never give up hope in tough times.
In some cultures, the common lantana flower represents appreciation towards someone. A lantana tattoo can represent gratitude for someone who has made a significant impact on your life.
Finally, the common lantana flower has been used in traditional medicine in the American tropics to treat several illnesses and ailments. A lantana tattoo can also be a reminder of taking care of oneself and protecting oneself from harm. (*)
When Should You Give Someone a Lantana?
There is never a wrong time to give someone a lantana. Whether you’re thanking a friend, congratulating a family member, cheering someone up, or helping a loved one decorate their home, many lantana types are an excellent choice.
The best part is that these flowers produce a season-long bloom that will keep its recipient happy and refreshed for months to come, making it an evergreen gift.
Long story short – the common lantana flower is a truly wild and unpredictable plant with a variety of meanings and interpretations.
Whether you see it as a symbol of encouragement, luck, or transformation, there is no denying that this tropical plant is a unique and exciting addition to any garden or bouquet. So, next time you see a lantana flower, take a moment to appreciate its beauty and all the wild meanings it embodies!