The Hyacinth Flower: It’s Symbolism & Meaning

hyacinth flowers

The hyacinth flower is a lovely cool weather perennial plant formerly considered related to the lily and have now been placed in the family of asparagaceae. Growing wild in parts of Iran and Turkmenistan next to the Caspian Sea, these outstanding garden plants have evolved into a favorite of the spring garden. With many star shaped flowers per plant these flowers make a beautiful effect when planted in swaths and drifts of solid colors.  They are available in the palest pinks to the deepest magenta. There are also some beautiful blues including a soft baby blue and a striking, deep indigo blue. This fragrant spring flower is also available in red, burgundy, orange, white, yellow, purple and lilac.

What Does the Hyacinth Flower Mean

  • Sincerity (blue)
  • Victorian meaning is play or sport or engage in sport
  • Can also mean rashness (as in the behavior of the god Zephyr)
  • Jealousy (yellow)
  • Purple can mean sorrow for a wrong committed

Etymological Meaning of the Hyacinth Flower

Derived from Greek legend about a young beautiful boy named Hyakinthos who was slain by Zephyr, the god of the west wind. Hyacinth is also derived from the word jacinth meaning a blue gemstone.

Symbolism of the Hyacinth Flower

The hyacinth flower name has a most interesting meaning. In Greek mythology, Apollo the sun god and Zephyr the god of the west wind compete for a young boy’s affections. At one point Apollo is teaching Hyakinthos how to throw the discus and Zephyr gets so angry that he blows a gust of wind in Apollo’s direction, which sends the discus hurling back in the direction of Hyakinthos, striking and killing him.  Apollo, brokenhearted, notices that a flower springs up from the blood that was spilled and names the flower hyacinth in honor of the boy. This symbol of the hyacinth flower has remained pretty simple throughout history.

Hyacinth Flower Color Meanings

Color meaning does vary for each separate variety

  • Purple – asking for forgiveness or symbolizes deep regret
  • Yellow – yellow means jealousy in the world of hyacinths
  • White – means loveliness or prayers for someone
  • Red – play time or recreation

hyacinth flowers

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Meaningful Botanical Characteristics of the Hyacinth Flower

  • Fresh hyacinth bulbs are poisonous and irritating to the skin
  • Juice from this plant (wild hyacinth variety) is starchy and was at one time used as a glue 1
  • The dried root can be used as a styptic (stops bleeding) by contracting and closing tissues around a wound
  • Hyacinth juice mixed with lemon juice reduces inflammation of abscesses when applied topically

Hyacinth Flower Interesting Facts

  • Originally from the Mediterranean, Iran and Turkmenistan, now grown mainly in Holland
  • Each flower color has a unique fragrance – used extensively in perfume making
  • Bulbs are poisonous – contain oxalic acid which is so strong it can remove rust
  • Because the juice of the hyacinth plant is so naturally sticky, it was used as a book binding glue hundreds of years ago

Offer the Hyacinth Flower on These Occasions

I would offer the hyacinth flower to welcome spring or to symbolize a fresh start.

  • Offer this flower when you have acted thoughtlessly
  • Offer as a silent prayer of hope

The Hyacinth Flower’s Message Is:

Be happy and make time to play, but do not act rashly, as this can lead to deep regrets.

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hyacinth flowers

hyacinth flowers

hyacinth flowers

hyacinth flowers

Purple and pink wild hyacinths in nature