Everyone loves the smell of a hyacinth. Their aroma entices and captivates any room. But, were you aware, these amazing flowers also have huge symbolic meanings for many people?
Throughout time, this flower has appeared, in the center of literature and famous poetry, embedded in ancient mythology, and carrying great cultural significance to boot.
Read this useful guide to learn everything about the hyacinth flower’s meaning. Get the must-know facts about this awesome flower. Discover it’s symbolism, cultural significance, benefits, uses, and more. Next, scroll down to read our conclusion, for some added interesting hyacinth knowledge.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
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Flower: The Facts
The history of the hyacinth flower is lengthy. Records of this plant’s use date back several thousand years. A part of the asparagus family, the hyacinth name came to be, after the Greek myth involving a mortal, Hyakinthos (or Hyacinthos)..
Quite remarkable, is the fact that Greek philosopher, Theophrastus, gave recognition to this flower back in 375 BC
The scientific name for the hyacinth is hyacinthaceae. They are referred to officially as hyacinthus orientalis, but are generally just called hyacinth. Hyacinths originally came from the Turkey and Africa, and the Mediterranean. The bulbous springtime perennials bloom.
The hyacinth became a huge hit in the Netherlands, the UK, and parts of Europe. Thanks to Carolus Clusius (the leading Curator at Leiden botanical gardens), Holland was the flagship place to commercially grow the hyacinth bulbs.
Madame de Pompadour’s obsession with the hyacinth led to its soaring popularity in fashion circles. She loved this flower so much, that Louis XV set about ensuring these beautiful flowers’ visibility in all areas of the palace and its gardens.
The hyacinth is a springtime flower. It is recommended to plant the seeds in late fall, to ensure these bloom in time for spring. The resilient perennial features narrow leaves on an extremely straight erect stem. The beautiful flowers are bell-shaped and grow in a cluster around the top third of the stem.
Although these flowers only bloom once every year, if you look after them they will continue to favor you with their presence for many years to come.
Better yet, the flower bloom will last for over two weeks. That’s longer than most.
You will find that the majority of hyacinths bloom in early in springtime. That said, in warmer regions, the awesome flower will occasionally bloom in November, and even December.
Each color of flower produces a different and immensely fragrant, almost intoxicating scent. The beautiful aroma emitted by these flowers make them a much-sought-after choice for decorating homes or venues.
Although each variety produces a different scent, the overall description of its scent is floral, with both sweet and spicy tones with a vegetation vibe.
The color varieties include, red, light blue, royal blue, pink, purple, apricot, and white. These decadent flowers are a popular choice for big beautiful bouquet arrangements, and are easily assembled, due to the simplicity of their stems.
The hyacinthus orientalis refers to the hyacinth species used particularly in gardens, and has many cultivars. These are grown with specific colors and scents in mind. They feature:
- Blue jacket: The appearance of these are average stems, with richly colored green leaves that make way for the beautifully dark blue colored blossom.
- Pink Pearl: The exquisite floral scent of this gorgeous pink flowers make them a must-have indoor potted flower.
- Woodstock: This hyacinth variety is deep red, and known to grow very early in springtime.
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What Is The Meaning Of The Flower?
There is a lot more to the hyacinth than its aesthetic beauty. Look past the display of rich color and evocative scent, you will find much more meaning of this flower.
Let’s delve into all the meanings the hyacinth flower represents.
Etymological Meaning Of The Flower
Thousands of years ago, it was linked to a cherished gem, which was apparently red or blue. Much speculation has continued about which gem the hyacinth associated.. However, there is still no definitive answer to this ongoing mystery.
The hyacinth’s meaning has deep links to Greek mythology. Let’s take a closer look at what place it had in the hearts of the ancient Greeks, and how this came to be.
Greek Mythology And Symbolism
As we already discussed, the peoples of ancient Greece gave the hyacinth its name after the mortal, Hyakinthos. The legend goes like this:
Two gods called Apollo and Zephyr were showing a mortal named Hyakinthos (also spelled Hyacinthos) how to throw a discus.
Hyacinthos took to throwing the discus with ease. Zephyr (who was already jealous of the love between Apollo and Hyacinthos) noticed Hyacinthos’ ability to throw the discus. His jealousy and anger grew.
Zephyr was the god of West wind. He used this to his advantage. When Hyacinthos threw the discuss, Zephyr sent it flying with extreme force. Straight towards poor Hyacinthos’ head. The discus hit him hard, killing him outright. Hyacinthos was Apollo’s lover.
Upon seeing his lover Hyacinthos die, he turned him into a flower, rather than allowing Hades to take away his soul. Apollo named the flower hyacinth.
This is how the hyacinth became known as the flower of the sun god, Apollo. It symbolizes beauty, peace, and great power.
Color Meanings Of The Hyacinth
The hyacinth flower has come to mean so much to people. When designing the perfect garden, or choosing the perfect flowers for a bouquet gift, flower symbolism continues to play a huge part.
No matter what color of hyacinth you pick, you can guarantee it denotes huge positivity and optimism in life.
Let’s explore the different color meanings connected to the hyacinth flower.
Represents feelings of utter calm and serenity. Gifting the light blue hyacinth is a positive symbol, promoting happy new beginnings.
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This color has a tone of upper class associated with it. The royal blue color of the hyacinth and many other flowers in this shade is symbolic or high regard, great respect, and a true elegant nature.
The color white often links to purity, cleansing, and healing. This is the same for the white hyacinth flower. Its symbolizes the ability to heal, and a sincere, pure spirit. They are regularly used in conjunction with praying, and asking for healing or guidance.
The oh-so pretty pink hyacinth is frequently a gift to symbolize fun, happiness, good relationships (both friendships and intimate ties), and fresh new beginnings.
Like the royal blue, the purple hyacinth also has symbolic links to royalty. However, it also represents a strong, committed and never-ending love. Another meaning given to the purple hyacinth is to ask forgiveness from someone.
These represent hobbies, sport, and fun.
The main symbolic interpretation of this hyacinth variety is jealousy. This is a direct link back to the Greek myth concerning Hyacinthos and Zephyr.
We can see there are many color varieties of this incredible flower. However, there are also several key types, of which we should be aware. These include single hyacinths, as well as double and multi-flora types.
These are the most common types found, and have the well-known appearance described above.
The double hyacinth, easily distinguishable by its longer stem and displaying many full, and almost fluffy-looking flowers. The hollyhock is a double hyacinth.
Typically, these refer to bulbs that each sprout several stems. However, the flowers grown from these are not as full-bodied and there aren’t as many flowers on each stem as other types.
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Cultural Significance Of The Flower
The hyacinth offers an array of symbolic significance across many cultures.
In countries of practiced Christianity, displays of hyacinth flowers decorate churches. It is a symbol of beauty, peace, joy, and calm.
Also, it is the Persian go-to flower for celebrating the new year.
Victorians made great use of the hyacinth’s beauty and sweet smell. Gardens typically had great rows of the flower, to promote ultimate beauty and captivating scents. Furthermore, they saw the red hyacinth as a perfect symbol of sport, and so it was used to celebrate such events.
Hyacinth And Literature
The hyacinth flower held great symbolic significance to writers, in particular poets. The famous T.S Elliot wrote a spell-binding and well-known poem, titled, The Waste Land.
In this, featured ‘the ‘Hyacinth Girl’. But who is this person, and how does it possibly relate to the flower, you ask? We shall tell you…
There are several interpretations to T.S Elliot’s poem and of his intention behind including the Hyacinth Girl’. Some academics conclude this to be a direct nod to the Greek legend of Hyakinthos.
However, many academics read it as the poet’s desire to strengthen the imagery and emotions of true love, or first love.
He draws up memorable pictures in the mind through intoxicating scents and beauty of the flower. The descriptive imagery perfectly intertwines with high emotions of being in love. Together, this becomes a symbol of ethereal beauty and love to be etched forever in the reader’s heart.
Benefits And Uses
People claim the hyacinth flower offers a multitude of health benefits. Let’s explore what exactly this majestic plant can do for our health.
- Eczema: Some herbalists claim the hyacinth is great for alleviating eczema. The hyacinth flowers get mixed with turmeric and rice to make a paste. This is applied topically to problematic skin. Some claim it diminishes symptoms or appearance of the skin rash.
- Cholera: Others hail the hyacinth as a great treatment for the symptoms of cholera.
- Sore Throats: Some believe that fluid removed from hyacinth pods provide anti-inflammatory properties to aid sore throats.
- Lactation: Some think that boiling and eating the hyacinth seed can enhance better lactation.
- Snake Bites: Some use the hyacinth to treat certain snake bites.
Anyone considering using the hyacinth for medicinal purposes should remember they are slightly toxic. Therefore, thoroughly cooking the seed is essential.
Also crucial, is double-checking with your healthcare provider before attempting to ingest this or any kind of plant.
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The Hyacinth As A Gift
The stunning hyacinth in all types and colors (apart from yellow) is widely regarded as a symbol of positivity and happiness. As such, it makes an ideal gift for anyone. In particular, the hyacinth would make an amazing gift for a newlywed couple, to celebrate an anniversary, a new job or home.
The purple hyacinth makes a perfect gift when you need to apologize for something you regret.
On the other hand, this color of hyacinth would be a truly special Valentine’s Day gift to tell someone how much you love them. However, make sure you let them know which symbol you are trying to convey, or you might instigate some serious suspicion.
Gift the white hyacinth to the family of a sick loved one to show they are in your prayers. It often features as the leading flower of choice for a funeral, memorial, or when visiting the grave of a loved one.
Potted hyacinths are one of the main flower choices for people who are making a fresh start after a relationship breakup. Also, new homeowners typically receive a beautiful potted hyacinth as a welcoming plant.
The hyacinth is a truly amazing flower that is loved for its aesthetic and symbolic values. This flower holds great positive significance. It is symbolic of better times ahead, fresh new beginnings, and an optimistic approach to life.
Apart from the jealous factor associated with yellow hyacinths, there is nothing negative about this wonderful flower.
Have fun and decorate your house and gardens with a variety of colored hyacinths for an immediate mood boost, and to enhance wellbeing. Just remember to wear gloves when handling the bulbs (or you may end up reaching for the antihistamine and cursing the flower instead).
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