Amaryllis flowers in bloom are spectacular additions to any garden or bouquet. Originally from tropical lands like the Caribbean, South Africa or islands in the South Seas, amaryllis can be found all over the world, except for Antarctica.
Grown from bulbs, each plant produces from two to five flowers which stay in bloom an average of a remarkable six weeks.
What Does the Amaryllis Flower Mean?
Since the plants are so large, they seem to call attention to themselves by towering over other nearby flowers. They first came to the attention of European gardeners in the 1800s. They seemed awfully grand to the Victorians, so they became associated with pride. However, calling someone “full of pride” was often a compliment in Victorian times. Prideful women were often thought to be beautiful.
Etymological Meaning of the Amaryllis Flower
The Greeks called these beautiful flowers Amarullis, which means “splendor” or “sparkling.” The word seems to come from a character in a popular poem by Virgil. The nymph Amaryllis had a dramatic way of declaring her love for a gardener named Alteo. She pierced her heart with a golden arrow at his door every day for one month. That’s why amaryillis flowers are often a deep red. Unfortunately, the gardener was unimpressed with Amaryillis’s bloodlettings and ignored her.
The Romans, who often spoke Greek for informal occasions, borrowed the Greek word and turned into the Latin Amaryllis. Modern English just picks up where Latin left off.
Meaningful Botanical Characteristics of the Amaryllis Flower
Unlike many other decorative flowers, there is no tradition of medicinal cures attributed to amaryllis flowers or any products made with amaryllis bulbs or plants. Flowers are used to make essential oils for perfumes and aromatherapy products. The scent is thought to both relax and energize.
Unfortunately, the flowers, leaves and bulbs are poisonous not only to people but to dogs and cats. Keep these plants away from the inquisitive mouths of children and pets.