Lily Pad Flower: Meaning, Symbolism, and Colors

A lily pad flower is called a water lily. Water lilies are aquatic plants with large round, waxy leaves called lily pads. Lily pad flowers mostly grow in stagnant ponds, marshes, and lakes with a mucky bottom. They look similar to lotus but are usually smaller and have narrower, waxier, thicker petals. Their elongated petals give them a star-like look. The green leaves float on water attached to long stems rooted to the ground.

The plants have existed for centuries and are known to be cultivated since Assyrian and Babylonian times. The flowering plants have spread rapidly to warmer parts of Europe and North America since the 1800s. They find their mention in different cultures and mythologies.

Due to their beauty and ease of growth in still water environments, lily pad flowers are favorite among modern aquatic landscape enthusiasts. They are often planted in backyard gardens. Lily pads as well as the beautiful flowers in various colors add an element of attractiveness to ornamental aquatic habitats.

The scientific name of water lilies is Nymphaeaceae and so is the family to which they belong. The family of water-dwelling flowering plants is native aquatic herbs of temperate and tropical climates. They are found all around the world in seventy species and five genera.

Lily pad flower meaning is connected to different things in different cultures around the world. They find special significance in Hinduism and Buddhism. As the flowers close at night and open when the sun rises, they are symbolic of resurrection or rebirth. These popular and captivating flowers have found their place globally in art, literature, and religion over centuries.

As the Latin name nymphaea suggests, the scientific name was inspired by the nymphs of Greek and Latin mythology. As the story goes, it is believed that the pretty yet dangerous water spirits or nymphs who protected ponds and creeks often drowned people who visited them.

Not only are these flowers an attractive addition to water bodies. Lily pad flowers are an important part of the freshwater aquatic environment where they grow. They add color to the water surface, provide shelter and food, and attract a plethora of wildlife.

What Do Lily Pad Flower Flowers Symbolize

Lily pad flower meaning differs across cultures. Greek mythology connects lily pad flowers to nymphs who are nature personified. These flowers are thought to be symbolic of femininity, fertility, unity, finding peace and balance.

In some cultures lily pad flowers symbolize chastity and innocence. These flowers are also connected to purity in some religions as it is believed many gods have emerged from a water lily.

The Lily pad flower meaning has a spiritual essence in Buddhism. They are symbolic of rebirth, renewal, and life energy. These flowers live and die in water and embody the cycle of life. They open during the day and close at night, grow, live, bloom, propagate, and die to complete the cycle in the same environment.

In some cultures, the lily pad flower meaning is related to pleasure, hope, wellness, beauty, good fortune, and enlightenment.

The other significant lily pad flower meaning and symbolism include:

  • Ancient Egypt: White lilies found a special place in the ancient Egyptian culture. The mere image of a white water lily flower was considered a source of strength and power. Impressions of lily pad flowers were used widely in artwork, monuments, for adorning ceramics, jewelry, among other things. Remains of water lilies were found in the tomb of Ramesses IIand other pharaoh mummies.

The importance of the flower can be gauged from its connection to the sun god Ra. It was believed he emerged from a water lily. In ancient Egypt, lily pad flowers were cultivated in ponds to offer to the gods.

  • Asia: Water lilies find an important place in Hinduism and Buddhism. The enigmatic Lily pad flower meaning in these religions is tied to many sacred and spiritual elements. The Buddha, and several deities in Hinduism like Brahma, Lakshmi, and Vishnu, are depicted holding lotus flowers. Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and truth sits on a white lotus. That strengthens the connection between divinity, spiritual enlightenment, and the water lily. The flower symbolizes the potential to ‘rise above’ the rest and to attain enlightenment, or moksha.
  • Christianity: The water lily flower or lotus finds its mention in the Old Testament. It is linked to chastity, purity, and love.
  • Mayan culture: One of the major gods worshiped in the Mayan culture was the Water Lily Jaguar. It was connected to royalty and liberation. Images of gods with water lilies are depicted on the vessel that was worshiped.

What Do the Various Colors of the Lily Pad Flower Mean

Being an ancient flower and having been extremely popular in several cultures, the Lily pad flower meaning greatly varies. Lily pad flowers bloom in shades of pink, purple, white, yellow, peach, red, and rare blue. Various colors of lily pad flowers are associated with different emotions and feelings.

White: White lily pad flowers represent rebirth, the revival of the soul, and purity. These stunningly pretty flowers also convey emotions of sympathy, innocence, and grief.

Red: Vibrant, fiery, and romantic red water lilies symbolize the feeling of love, passion, and admiration. Red lily pad flowers are also connected to wealth.

Purple: Purple lily pad flowers are linked to power, accomplishment, royalty, privilege, and pride. They are often seen as a symbol of peace, tranquility, elegance, and dignity.

Blue: Native to the Nile delta, the Egyptian blue water lily or Nymphaea caerulea is among the rarest of their kinds. They represent calmness, gender and sexuality, fertility, wisdom, and recovery. Blue lily pad flowers are also called the flower of love.

Pink: Pink water lilies are the most widely found lily pad flowers. These flowers with a delicate color stand for feminine power, and beauty. They are also associated with feelings of admiration, friendship, youthfulness, joy, and love. Sometimes, the pink Lily pad flower meaning is connected to wisdom and enlightenment.

Yellow: Not so common, yellow lily pad flowers represent gratitude or thankfulness. Found in bright yellow and pale yellow shades, yellow water lilies are seen as symbols of positivity, energy, good health, and new beginnings.

red petaled flower

Orange: Attractive and rare, orange water lilies symbolize warmth, power, success, confidence, and assurance. They stand out in the crowd and represent respect, uniqueness, and confidence. Orange water lily flowers are all about positivity, enthusiasm, joy, and life satisfaction.

Interesting Facts and Characteristics of the Lily Pad Flower

  • As water lilies grow in mud but the lily pads and flowers remain untouched by the muck, its habit of growing in mud, is a well-known metaphor.
  • Images of water lilies blooming in landscape ponds are depicted in Egyptian tomb paintings dating back to 1500 BC.
  • The national flower of Bangladesh is the white water lily.
  • Each lily pad flower blooms for about four days. Thereafter, it sinks to rot under the water.
  • Claude Monet, the famous impressionist painter often used water lilies in his work. More than two hundred pieces of artwork by the painter featured water lilies.

Best Time to Gift Someone a Lily Pad Flower

Lily pad flowers are not common floral gifts as they are not the usual cut flowers that can be added to bouquets or kept in vases. Water lily plants can be gifted to people who have appropriate aquatic environments to grow them.

Water lilies are the official birth flower for people who are born in July. Thus water lilies make a perfect floral gift for them.

Water lily flowers are mesmerizing and mood-lifting. Their deep spiritual and emotional meanings make them even more special.