Lily Meaning in East and West

Day Lily Flower Meaning

The lily family includes flowers with six petals. Day lilies have two layers of three petals each. Day lily flower meaning is forgetting worries.  The Chinese also venerate the day lily as a symbol of filial devotion to one’s mother. In the Victorian language of flowers, lilies mean “flirtatious.” Read more about pink flower color meaning.

Lily Meaning in China

The day lily has many names in China. When it has a cheerful position, the flower is called “Wong Yu,” meaning “Forgetting Worries.” As an omen for expectant mothers who wish for baby boys, the flower is called “I Nan,” meaning “Suited for A Boy.” The lily flower is worn by many mothers.

Lily Meaning in Greek Mythology

In ancient times, the lily was dedicated to Hera, the wife of Zeus. A less then faithful spouse, Zeus fathered his son Hercules by the mortal woman Alceme. Although the mother was mortal, Zeus wanted his son to have divine powers, so he brought the baby to Hera while she slept to allow the baby to nurse and receive divine powers through her milk.

When she awoke, she flung the child from her in wrath. Her milk spewed across the universe, forming the Milky Way. Some drops of her milk fell to earth. These drops became the first lilies.

Day Lily Name Meaning

The day lily is aptly named due to the the fact that their flowers open at sunrise and wither at sunset. Day lilies are popular worldwide, with over 60,000 cultivars. Some species of the day lily are edible and are eaten in dishes in China including soup and stir-fry dishes. Some authorities claim that day lilies have medicinal properties.

Growing Lilies

Day lilies thrive in neglected areas and have spread so widely that they are sometimes considered a native wildflower. Day lilies in the wild are sometimes called Roadside Day Lily, Railroad Day Lily or Outhouse Day Lily. Day lilies have three petals, three sepals and six stamen. Day lilies grow in clumps, have long, flat leaves and are highly adaptable as landscape flowers.

Lily Flower Meaning

Lily Photo Credit Kathleen Karlsen

Kathleen Karlsen Book Author

Kathleen Karlsen

Author of Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine

The information in this article has been excerpted from the book Flower Symbols: The Language of Love by Kathleen Karlsen. This book includes ancient and modern flower meanings and folklore about the world’s most beloved flowers. Buy one for a flower lover in your life. Learn to “say it with flowers” for any occasion! 

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