lily flower meaning

Lily Flowers: Different Color Meaning and Symbolism

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Lily flowers were first discovered in 1580 B.C., and since then, they have captivated people all over the world with their beauty and mystique.

There are many kinds of lilies you will find, lots of which grow wild in various parts of the globe. From pure white lilies that symbolize chastity to stargazer lilies, which represent sympathy, you won’t find a more versatile flower.

The true lily, or Lilium, is one of the wildest-looking – and most beautiful – lily varieties you will find. It is also entrenched in powerful symbolism. 

What Does Lily (or “Lilium”) Mean?

Lilies are all part of the flower genus Lilium, the group of “true lilies.” Not all flowers that we refer to as lilies are actually true lilies.

Many use the word “lily” in their common name, but are actually part of other genuses. Examples might include daylilies, calla lilies, Peruvian lilies, Lilium longiflorum (Easter lilies), and water lilies. 

A Linnaen name, the word Lillium is a Latin name derived from the Greek leirion

Lily Symbolism & Colors

Lily flowers of all colors are often meant to symbolize purity and devotion. However, depending on the color, that meaning can vary slightly. 

What Does a White Lily Mean?

white lily flower

The white lily, often known as the Madonna lily, is frequently featured in Catholic art as a symbol of the Virgin Mary. These delicate blooms are usually meant to symbolize purity and virtue. 

What Does an Orange Tiger Lily Symbolize?

common tiger lily
Common Tiger Lily by Bernell | Pixabay

Tiger lilies, or orange lilies, usually represent confidence, wealth, and pride. These lilies are found growing wild in many parts of the country, so they can also symbolize tenacity and strong will. They can also call to mind joy and happiness with their bright orange and pink colors.

What Does a Yellow Lily Mean?

yellow lily

A yellow lily typically symbolizes happiness, joy, and positivity. It is often associated with feelings of friendship and new beginnings, making it a popular choice for various celebratory occasions. The bright and cheerful color of yellow lilies conveys a sense of optimism and warmth, making it a thoughtful and uplifting gift.

What Does Pink Lilies Mean?

pink lily

Pink lilies, with their delicate hue, symbolize admiration, gentleness, and compassion. Lighter shades convey heartfelt sentiments, while deeper pinks may represent appreciation and add an element of sophistication to floral displays. Overall, pink lilies are versatile flowers that beautifully express a spectrum of positive emotions.

What do red lilies mean?

Red lilies are often associated with deep and passionate emotions, symbolizing love, desire, and romance. Their vibrant and bold color makes them a striking choice to convey intense feelings of affection and admiration. Red lilies are classified into two types: Asiatic lilies and Oriental lilies.

What do purple lilies mean?

The purple lily flower represents magic, mystery, and monarchy. Purple lilies are a clever option to communicate respect and appreciation for someone unique since the rich and royal hue signifies adoration, nobility, and elegance. Purple lilies bring refinement and appeal to flower arrangements, whether showing appreciation or acknowledging someone’s accomplishments.

What is the Cultural Significance of Lily?

Lilies, like most flowers, have taken on more particular meaning throughout time.

The lily is often associated with the classic story of Zeus and Hera. According to this myth, Zeus wanted Hercules, as a baby, to drink the milk of Zeus’ wife, Hera. Hercules was born to another woman, so Hera disagreed. 

Despite her wishes, Zeus brought Hercules to Hera while she was asleep – she woke and pushed him away. The drops of milk that fell as a result then blossomed into lilies.

In China, lilies are often used in weddings. They are believed to bring with them 100 years of love and good luck. In more ancient times, Babylonians and Assyrians associated lilies with the goddess of fertility. 

Some Christian cultures view lilies, but most Madonna lilies, as representative of the Virgin Mary. 

What is the Symbolism of a Lily Tattoo?

Lilies are often considered flowers of spirituality, so you may select a lily tattoo if you are a new mother or want to symbolize some kind of union or partnership that you want to last (like a marriage).

When Should You Give Someone a Lily?

A summer-blooming flower, the lily is the ideal flower to give someone at the height of the summer solstice. It will be at its most vibrant and most beautiful at this time. 

However, this show-stopping flower makes a great gift no matter what time of year it might be. It is recognized as the 30th-anniversary flower, making it a good option for people celebrating this milestone. It can also be given in a congratulatory bouquet, as it symbolizes pride, wealth, and confidence.

No matter when you choose to give someone a lily, you’re sure to make a powerful impact. 


What emotions do lilies represent?

Lilies are versatile flowers that symbolize a range of emotions, including purity, renewal, and the restored innocence of the soul. They are often associated with expressions of love, compassion, and the conveyance of heartfelt sentiments, making lilies a popular choice for various occasions and celebrations.

What does the lily flower mean in a relationship?

In a relationship, the lily flower is often associated with qualities such as love, commitment, and the purity of emotions. It symbolizes the deep affection and devotion between partners, making it a meaningful and romantic choice to express love and strengthen the emotional bond.

*Photo by ekina1/depositphotos

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