Lily of the Nile flower: Meaning, Symbolism, and Colors

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Flowers have always formed an integral part of our culture, be it at a wedding, a funeral, or a baby shower. They are a representation of beauty, love, celebration and wealth. With elegant umbels perched atop tall scapes, the fragrant Lily of the Nile posed to be a great source of inspiration for the painter Monet. Lily of the Nile, also called the African Lily is a perennial flowering plant originally native to South Africa. Ironically, the Lily of the Nile is seen not in North Africa, where the river Nile is, but in the South. Although it is called the Lily of the Nile, the flower is not a lily. It also goes by the name of African hyacinth.

Scientifically known as Agapanthus, the name arises from Greek, agapē meaning “love” and anthos meaning “flower”. The plant has a confusing and long taxonomic history. It was initially classified under Lilliaceae, then into same genus as onions, and finally its current genus of Agapanthaceae. There are six species of this plant, with Agapanthus africanus being the most popular species. The flowers bloom between June and September. They usually grow in groups and look wonderful when planted in landscapes. They are also perfectly good looking in a pot. Agapanthus is native to South Africa, mainly Western and Eastern Cape, though it has become naturalised in parts of California and Florida in the United States. It is also found in the Isles of Scilly in the United Kingdom and the Portuguese island of Madeira. It wasn’t until the sixteenth century that the plant was brought to Europe.

Popularly, it is an ornamental flower. It is seen in clusters and held above the foliage. Rounded umbels of blue, blue-purple or white tubular flowers with a darker stripe down the center of each petal best describes the flower. It is a sight for sore eyes at events.

What do Lily of The Nile flowers symbolize?

Nothing is a better symbolic representation than a flower. For millennia, they have been an important part of human culture – be it an expression of undying love, of prosperity or fertility. You can woo their lover or mourn the dead with the aid of flowers. The Agapanthus plant is a mix of both magic and medicine. It stands as a symbol of love and has been associated with love for hundreds of years, with its roots in the Victorian Era. It is also a symbol of fertility and prosperity.

With its rich history of medicinal use, Agapanthus was used as a cure for various illnesses including coughs, colds, and paralysis. The South African tribes use the plant for treating ailments of the heart and to treat fevers. It is widely used for antenatal care and to induce contractions during difficult births. It is also believed that using the flower during pregnancy ensures the birth of healthy babies. Although some parts of the plant are known to be toxic to humans and cause dermatitis, they possess immuno-regulatory properties. The leaves are used as a bandage, owing to the anti-inflammatory chemicals present in the plant. As a symbol of fertility, the roots of the plant were boiled and processed into a necklace when they were married by the Xhosa women.

The plant itself is a symbol of strength and power, owing to its hardy nature. It is full of tenacity and verve. As a symbol of beautiful retirement, it is often found at funerals as wreaths. The bright colors of the flower, be it blue, white, or purple make it the perfect flower to symbolize happiness. In some parts of the world, Agapanthus is a symbol of protection.

What do the various colors of Lily of The Nile mean?

Nature has blessed us with three color variants of the flower – blue, purple/lilac, and white.

White Agapanthus: White is everything pure, calm, serene, and spiritual. The white flower of Agapanthus rightfully signifies purity, fertility, and spirituality. It is the perfect flower for a wedding, a baby shower, or a ritual. It signifies a fresh start, a clean slate, and new beginnings.

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Blue Agapanthus:The blue flower is usually associated with emotions of love and that of beauty. It is the flower of choice to serenade your love, man or woman. The opulence and brilliance of the flower’s blue color can only be experienced, not explained. It also symbolises truth, honesty, and sincerity.

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Purple Agapanthus: Purple denotes royalty and wealth. The colour catches one’s attention like no other and charms the wits out of them. Its attractiveness can be proven by the popular demand this particular color has. It poses as the perfect flower to give to someone special.

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Interesting facts and characteristics of the Lily of The Nile:

Agapanthus is an evergreen, deciduous plant that is low on maintenance. The plant has a long history of taxonomic confusion. It was originally thought to be a lily and belonged to the Liliaceae family, then finally moved to its current family of Agapanthaceae.

-Interestingly, these flowers have been worn as protection during thunderstorms since time immemorial.

-A known aphrodisiac in Africa, it is often donned by women to charm men. Shockingly, the cut flowers last up to 10 days in a vase of water, looking as fresh as they did the first day!

Best time to gift someone the Agapanthus flower

Agapanthus is given to people on a multitude of occasions. However, it does help to know Lily of The Nile flower meaning while gifting the flower. You can easily pair these with other flowers to make the perfect bouquet for a wedding, which is a celebration of love. Every so often, a wreath made of these flowers kept on the coffin as a symbol of peace, respect, and love is kept. You can profess their undying love with the blue lily of the Nile. It is the perfect flower to mark new beginnings like baby showers and naming ceremonies. They are widely used during spiritual rituals. All in all, it is a flower finding its way into every occasion of yours.

With a legacy as rich as this flower’s and a beauty unmatched, it is one of the most elegant and versatile flowers to have existed. If you were wondering about the Lily of The Nile flower meaning, we hope we have answered your questions.