The Narcissus flower symbolizes rebirth, hope, joy, creativity, and inspiration. Also known as the daffodil, the Narcissus is usually among the first flowers to bloom after winter in early spring, so they have become a symbol of springtime and new beginnings.
So, what is a brief history of the narcissus flower? What does a narcissus flower symbolize, and what is it used for? Why is the Narcissus the flower of December? Finally, what do the different Narcissus flower colors mean and represent?
Here is the complete breakdown of what a narcissus flower means.
A Brief History of the Narcissus Flower
Narcissus flowers are said to have grown millions of years ago in the Iberian peninsula, and there are at least 50 varieties of narcissus flowers in the genus Narcissus.
According to Greek mythology, Narcissus, the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope, was a handsome, vain, and cruel man. In Ovid’s version of Narcissus’ story, the mountain nymph Echo spied Narcissus walking in the woods and was instantly taken by his beauty. Narcissus sensed someone following him and asked, “who’s there?” to which Echo could only respond with the exact words.
Eventually, Echo mustered enough courage to reveal herself and attempted to embrace Narcissus, who rejected her. Upon hearing of Echo’s heartbreak, Nemesis, the God of revenge, punished Narcissus by drawing him to look into his reflection in the stream. Falling in love with his reflection, Narcissus eventually lost his energy, fell into the stream, and drowned. The narcissus flower’s bent posture is said to reflect that of the character’s, gazing obsessively into the stream, and thus the flower was given the name narcissus.
What Does a Narcissus Flower Symbolize?
The Narcissus flower symbolizes new beginnings, joy, creativity, and inspiration. However, in tradition with the myth of Narcissus, the narcissus flower can also symbolize rejection and unrequited love.
In the UK, narcissus flowers are referred to by their nickname, “lent lilies,” because their blooms can be seen between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
The Narcissus flower symbolizes wealth and good fortune in both Welsh and Chinese cultures. According to the Welsh, if you are the first to see the narcissus flower at the start of spring, you gain good luck for a whole year. These spring flowers are also the national flower of Wales.
You can give a bouquet of narcissus flowers to a partner to tell them they are the only one in your life to whom you are passionately devoted.
What are Daffodil Flowers used For?
Part of the amaryllis family, daffodil flowers are used for various medicinal purposes, including treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and possibly even cancer. Over time, scientists have discovered how to use the alkaloids in the narcissus plant to produce an emetic and cathartic.
The Greek botanist Theophrastus discovered the daffodil and studied the plant extensively. He noticed how the substance on the plant caused mild irritation to the skin and concluded that the plant should not be ingested as it could result in irritation or even death.
When not used for medicinal purposes, the narcissus flower makes a perfect spring bouquet you can give to loved ones to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions. Narcissus plants are also used for their beautiful fragrance to make perfumes.
Why is the Narcissus the Flower of December?
While narcissus flowers typically bloom in spring, a variety of the Narcissus, known as the paperwhite narcissus, blooms in winter, making it an excellent choice as the December birth flower. The soft white petals evoke the image of gentle snow. The paperwhite narcissus is also referred to by its scientific name, Narcissus papyraceus.
You can express your respect and admiration for a loved one born in December by gifting them a beautiful bouquet of Narcissus flowers. The Narcissus can also symbolize your desire for a loved one to experience good fortune on their birthday.
What Does a White Narcissus Mean?
In contrast with their origin myth, the white Narcissus symbolizes purity and the desire to change and become selfless and humble. White is typically associated with innocence and spiritual enlightenment.
The white Narcissus is the perfect flower to decorate for religious occasions such as Easter, Ash Wednesday, and Christmas. Weddings and religious ceremonies are great occasions to decorate with white Narcissus.
What Does an Orange Narcissus Mean?
Orange Narcissus flowers symbolize optimism, health, and vitality. The orange narcissus’ fiery, bright hue evokes energy and vigor.
Orange narcissus flowers are perfect for sending to loved ones struggling with their health or facing an obstacle. These beautiful flowers are the ideal way to encourage someone to keep moving forward and tap into their inner strength.
Softer than the vivid orange Narcissus, the peach-colored Narcissus symbolizes a nurturing and gentle spirit. You can give these flowers to loved ones who need comfort during a difficult time.
What Does a Pink Narcissus Mean?
Pink narcissus flowers can symbolize various ideas depending on the shade. Softer shades of pink narcissus flowers represent platonic and romantic love, grace, and gentleness. You can use light pink narcissus flowers to decorate a wedding or as a gift for whom you have affection.
Pink narcissus flowers are the most uncommon of the three naturally grown colors. For this reason, pink narcissus flowers can represent uniqueness and pride.
Deeper shades of pink evoke more passionate and energetic feelings. You can choose a darker shade of pink narcissus flowers to give to a partner for Valentine’s Day or a wedding anniversary.
What Does a Red Narcissus Mean?
Created by hybridization and cultivation, the red narcissus flower symbolizes romantic love, creativity, and passion. The red Narcissus can also symbolize creative expression.
Red narcissus flowers are perfect for a Valentine’s Day or bridal bouquet. You can also give red narcissus flowers to your partner on an anniversary or birthday.
These are also great flowers to give someone after an artistic performance or other special occasion.
Conclusion: What Does a Narcissus Flower Mean?
In summary, narcissus flowers symbolize rebirth, hope, and joy. The Narcissus can also represent vanity, selfishness, and narcissism as they get their name from the character Narcissus who falls in love with himself and drowns as a result. The narcissus flower and vanity can also symbolize rejection and unrequited love.
Depending on its color, the narcissus flower can mean various things, from purity and innocence to passion and creative expression. They also serve as the birth flower of December as the paperwhite narcissus blooms in winter.
Alkaloids from the narcissus flower have been used to create a medicine to treat Alzheimer’s and relieve indigestion. However, these flowers are toxic and can lead to death when ingested.