A member of the Amaryllidaceae family, Spider Lilies as their name suggests are striking flowering plants with long spider like petals on its flowers. The name spider lily is given to a number of different plant species within the Amaryllidaceae family. These belong to the following genera: Lycoris, Nerine, Hymenocallis and Crinum, each growing in tropical to subtropical countries of the world.
Blooming during late summer to fall, these bright, bulbous perennials tend to blossom almost magically as there is no foliage to specify from where they emerged. The leaves of the spider lilies however do not appear along with the flowers- the foliage of leaves tend to appear either before or after the flowers have bloomed. The spidery appearance of these lilies are attributed to its petals that are long and thin, emerging from the ground, blooming on bare stems.
What do Spider Lily flower symbolize?
In East Asia, spider lily flower meaning is often associated with death and ghosts as they were commonly found around graveyards. One reason is that in Ancient Japan, the dead bodies were buried in the ground leading to disturbances from scavenging animals. As a result, most people would plant these flowers which are poisonous to both humans and animals alike, to drive away animals from the graves. This led to the spider lilies being called the corpse flower or the flower of death. Additionally, they were also said to remind people of ghosts when these spidery flowers swayed in the breeze, earning it the name of ghost flower.
Due to its ominous appearance and it being poisonous, spider lily flower meaning was also linked to bad luck. Many are scared of touching these flowers or bringing them to their homes as it was considered a sign of impending doom or death.
While it has several negative meanings, some species of these flowers are believed to bring good health and long life to humans. This could be attributed to its use in healing creams and medicines. They were popularly used to treat stomach ailments and abdomen inflammation, particularly in Japan and China.
The flowers are also mentioned in one of the Buddhist texts, the Lotus Sutra where spider lilies are said to grow along the realm of dead. These bright blooms act as a guide to spirits on their way to reincarnation or enlightenment.
What do the various colors of the Spider Lily flower mean?
Spider lilies come in a variety of pretty colors such as red, white and yellow. The most common and popular variant is the Red Spider Lily also known as Lycoris radiata. They usually grow over the fields of China, Korea and Japan. Throughout East Asia and other regions of the world, different symbolic meanings are assigned to these clusters of spidery blooms.
Red Spider Lily: Due to its poisonous nature, throughout China and Japan, the strikingly bright red spider lilies were planted around cemeteries to ward off animals attracted by smell of blood. This is one of the reasons why Red spider lily flower meaning came to be associated with death, goodbyes and sorrow in several Asian folklore and cultures. Known also as the flower of death, the red spider lily is used in Japan as a decorative flower during funerals. In Buddhism, they are believed to grow across the banks of the mythical sanzu river to guide departing souls in their journey towards afterlife.
White Spider Lily: In a stark contrast to the red variant, the white spider lily flower meaning is linked to aspects like positive nature, new beginnings, good health and rebirth. These flowers have been traditionally used as medicines for its cancer treating as well as healing properties. Because of its ability to withstand and grow incredibly in harsh weather conditions, it also symbolizes rebirth and new beginnings in life.
Pink Spider Lily: The pink spider Lily flowers are thought to be a symbol of feminine love, beauty and passion. Similar to the qualities of the color pink, these spider lilies are favored for their elegant beauty and are usually gifted by men to their ladylove as a declaration of their passionate love.
Yellow Spider Lily: Stunning and lovely, the yellow spider lily flower meaning is associated with attributes such as happiness, light and wisdom. Due to its gold like appearance, it often symbolizes richness and gifting such flowers are said to bring prosperity and abundance of wealth to its recipient. In addition to these qualities, yellow spider lilies also represent gratitude, strength and are considered a symbol of everlasting friendship.
Interesting facts and characteristics of the Spider Lily flower
A favorite among many gardeners and plant lovers, these stunning perennial bulb plants, have several interesting facts surrounding it.
· The spider lily flowers are referred to as ‘naked lilies’ as they bloom on bare stems without any leaves.
· In Japan, these enchanting blossoms are called ‘the flower in heaven’ and are often seen growing around temples and graveyards.
· Although all species of this plant contain poison, many have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for various healing purposes.
· In some Buddhist scriptures, the spider lily flower meaning is associated with holiness and is referred to as ‘Manjushage’ – a divine flower.
· Due to its heavy symbolism in East Asia, the spider lilies are extensively cultivated as ornamental plants in countries like Japan and China.
Best time to gift someone Spider Lily flower
Spider lilies are not only beautiful to look at but are also deeply symbolic and meaningful in nature. The yellow variant of these pretty blooms can be your go-to option when gifting someone close to you as it symbolizes gratitude and wisdom. Yellow spider lilies can be gifted as a gesture of thank you or as a token of appreciation. As white lilies stand for freshness and luck, they too can be gifted to someone starting a new chapter in their lives. Pink spider lilies are also a good option to gift for your significant other as they represent desire and love.