Hyacinth is a member of the genus Hyacinthus and the family Asparagaceae (the family was also known as Hyacinthaceae previously). It is a relatively small genus of bulbous and herbaceous plants. Hyacinths originated in the Mediterranean area and the tropical regions of Africa. These are fragrant flowering plants used in gardens all over the world. The wild species of hyacinth can contain as few as two to three flowers in clusters. However, the ornamental species bred for gardens often have densely clustered flowers.
The following guide describes all about hyacinth flower meaning and symbolism. Read on to know more interesting facts about the flower.
The name hyacinth originated from Greek mythology. Greek legends describe how Apollo (the God of Sun) gave the name. The flower grew from the blood of Hyakinthos, Apollo’s follower who was killed by Zephyr, the god of the west wind. The Greek term was Huakinthos. As a result of Latin and French influence, Huakinthos became Jacintus (Latin) and Hyacinthe (Jacinte, Old French). Later “hyacinth” became the prevalent term in English.
Hyacinth plants feature about four to six narrow leaves that appear from the bulbs which are underground. It is important to note that these bulbs are inedible and toxic. Hyacinth flowers usually bloom in blue. However, the flowers can also be of pink, white, and other colors. The plants bear the flowers in clusters. These clusters are usually located at the top of the leafless stems. The stalk of each of the flowers also has a small bract (green leaf-like structure) below it.
There are quite a few varieties of Hyacinth. These have different names, such as:
- Anna Marie hyacinths that are of salmon-pink color
- Splendid Cornelia has flowers of a soft pink color
- Carnegie hyacinth that has white flowers
- Delft blue hyacinth that has blue flowers
These are the most common colors of hyacinths. However, there are some unusual ones such as navy blue, deep purple, yellow, red, and orange. Each of these colors conveys a unique hyacinth flower meaning, which is all discussed later in this article.
The genus Hyacinthus contains three species as follows:
- Hyacinthus Litwinowii
- Hyacinthus Orientalis (this is the most common type, used as the garden hyacinth)
- Hyacinthus Transcaspicus
What does the hyacinth flower symbolize?
Hyacinth flowers are vibrant and attractive, yet they symbolize a lot more than positivity. The complicated history and symbolism of Hyacinth have their roots in classic Greek mythology. The hyacinth is a flower related to the sun god Apollo and his follower. It is considered a symbol of magnificence, peacefulness, and assurance. Churches are often adorned with Hyacinths as a symbol of love, peace, and happiness.
However, the hyacinth flower meaning can also symbolize rashness and lust for power or acceptance. This symbolism also tracks back to the same Greek legend that gave the flower its name. The legend states that Zephyr was jealous of Apollo and killed Hyakinthos because he was a devoted follower of Apollo. Apollo was teaching Hyakinthos the manner in which to throw a discus. Zephyr was angry and sent a strong wind which would hurl the discus back at the young man. The discus wounded Hyakinthos fatally and he was killed.
However, the Hyacinth flower can also be used to symbolize sorrow or grief at the passing of a close family member. It is considered a suitable choice for use in funeral arrangements.
In Victorian-era England, the Hyacinth was also considered a symbol of victory in sports. These flowers can also be used in celebratory bouquets awarded at sporting events.
What do the various colors of the hyacinth flower mean?
Every color of hyacinth conveys a different hyacinth flower meaning. Whether you gift hyacinths of a specific color or use them in your garden, it says something special. To choose the right flower color for your requirement, it is important that you understand the message you would be conveying with the flower.
Some different colors of hyacinth and their symbolic meanings are described below:
Blue hyacinth flowers represent constancy, commitment, and sincerity to a person or a relationship. The blue hyacinth normally achieves peak blooming from March to April. These can be gifted to your partner as a token of loyalty.
White hyacinths are mostly considered symbols of innocence and pureness. However, a white hyacinth has a religious meaning as well. It conveys that you are praying for someone’s health and prosperity. This gorgeous white flower is a sign that you are sending your prayers to someone. White hyacinths are also used in wedding bouquets as they symbolize purity.
Purple hyacinth flowers have a layered symbolism, to say the least. These flowers are connected with royalty and elegance. They can also denote devotion, spirituality, and innocent love. The purple hyacinth flower is also considered a symbol of mourning, regret, and sometimes (quite oddly!) forgiveness. This flower can be gifted to someone you know quite well. However, before using this flower as a gift do consider the context and relationship you share with the person.
Red in hyacinths is often considered a symbol of recreation. The color signifies passionate love and romance. You can convey this romantic feeling as well. These red flowers can also be a perfect gift on general occasions. The message doesn’t need to be limited to romantic feelings.
This is tricky! Somehow, people interpret yellow hyacinths as a symbol of jealousy or envy! It is better to avoid this flower as a gifting option. You may risk being misread even by a close friend or family member. These flowers are best used in gardens or interior decoration.
Interesting facts and characteristics of the hyacinth flower
Now that we have discussed hyacinth flower meaning in detail, here are a few interesting details about hyacinths.
- Each color variety of hyacinth also has its unique fragrance. These flowers were historically used to make perfumes as well.
- The “bulbs” of hyacinths are toxic. They contain Oxalic acid, which may induce skin rashes.
- The sap of the hyacinth’s plant is quite sticky. Documented instances of the sap being used as a binding glue, do exist.