Meaning, symbolism and uses of the asphodel flower (2023)

With bright, star-shaped flowers clustered on a tall stalk, it's no surprise that asphodel has attracted attention and captured the imagination for millennia. These plants were first used symbolically in ancient Greece, but they are still part of today's floral bouquets and arrangements, conveying a powerful message. Discover the deeper meaning behind Asphodel's beautiful bloom before using it in your next floral arrangement or landscaping project.

Meaning, symbolism and uses of the asphodel flower (1)

Table of contents:


  • About the asphodel flowers
    • Asphodel: family, genus and taxonomy
    • Botanical properties, colors, scents
    • Popular species, types and varieties of asphodel
    • etymological meaning
    • Which regions are asphodel flowers native to?
    • When are asphodel flowers in season?
  • Uses and Benefits of Asphodel Flowers
  • The cultural significance of asphodel flowers
    • Mythology in Ancient Greece
    • Victorian language of flowers
    • food symbolism
    • memory of home
    • Use in art and literature
  • Gift occasions suitable for asphodel flowers
  • How to care for freshly cut asphodel flowers at home
  • To involve
  • Frequently asked questions about aspodilla flower

Asphodel flower meaning and symbolism: the essentials

The main symbolic meaning of the asphodel flower is peace after death and life after death. This meaning was attributed to the flower from ancient Greece. The symbolism remains constant to this day, making asphodel a commonly used flower to commemorate the anniversary of a loss or a funeral.

About the asphodel flowers

Meaning, symbolism and uses of the asphodel flower (2)

There's more to this group of eye-catching flowers than meets the eye. Explore what lies beneath the surface with the history and botany of the asphodel.

Asphodel: family, genus and taxonomy

Asphodel itself is an entire genus, comprising 16 different species, all of which have flowers. These flowers were formerly considered species of lilies, but are now in a separate family known as liliesAsphodelaceae. This family also includesday lilyGenderHemerocallidoideae, which is not considered part of the truthlilies.

Botanical properties, colors, scents

All members of the Asphodel genus share some common traits. All have attractive star-shaped flowers, tall central stems, and tufted leaves that give the plants a distinctive look.

The flowers tend toBrancoor with red streaks but no perceptible odor. Most plants are perennials that develop large established roots, but some species only return by self-seeding.

History and Origin of Ragweed Flowers

Asphodels have been cultivated since ancient Greece but remain relatively unimproved for most varieties.Karl Linneohe was the first to officially describe the complex in 1753.

Popular species, types and varieties of asphodel

Asphodel is not specifically grown, but some species are grown from wildflower seed as cut flowers.Sommer asphodelIt is one of the most cultivated species, also known as summer asphodel.Asphodelus albus, Öcommon white asphodel, is the species most commonly used as a cut flower.

etymological meaning

The name Asphodelus comes from Greek times. The name refers to its lily-like appearance and spear-shaped leaves.

Which regions are asphodel flowers native to?

Asphodel may only have 16 different species in the genus, but these plants are widespread around the world. Some species are native to temperate Europe, while others are concentrated in the Mediterranean and North Africa.

Some species only occur in Asia, India or the Balkans. After the plants spread far and wide like introduced wildflowers, wild populations also exist in the US, Australia, and Central America.

When are asphodel flowers in season?

Some of the most commonly grown garden asphodel cultivars, including the common white asphodel, flower in late spring from May to June.

Other strains only start flowering when the August heat hits and disappear when temperatures cool a month or two later.

Regardless of the specific species or flowering window, these flowers tend to bloom for a relatively short period of time.

Uses and Benefits of Asphodel Flowers

Meaning, symbolism and uses of the asphodel flower (4)

The different species of asphodel are not directly edible as the leaves and roots contain alkaloids that damage organs over time. However, they are used indirectly in making traditional burrata in Italy. Asphodel leaves are wrapped around each finished cheese ball. Since creamy cream cheese can only be kept for a few days, the quickly wilting leaves show its age.

The leaves and flowers can be irritating to pets and children, so keep them under control. It is primarily an ornamental plant, but the large white flowers are attractive to bees and other pollinators.

The meaning and symbolism of the aspodilla flower

Meaning, symbolism and uses of the asphodel flower (5)

Municipality ASpatulaFlower colors and their meaning and symbolism

Almost all asphodel flowers are pure white to light gray in color. This gives them a secondary meaning of purity, peace, healing, grace, humility and recovery.

Some asphodels have a single red band down the center of each petal. This can add an extra layer of meaning in the form of love, devotion, or passion.

The cultural significance of asphodel flowers

Meaning, symbolism and uses of the asphodel flower (6)

Asphodel can only have one important spiritual meaning, dating back to its value in Greek mythology. However, this does not prevent it from having multiple significant cultural meanings in different parts of the world.

Mythology in Ancient Greece

The main symbolism of asphodel comes from ancient Greek culture. For the Greeks, the flower was a powerful symbol of death, the afterlife and the hope of everlasting peace. A huge field of flowering asphodels was considered part of the underworld. In particular, it was a neutral area where people who weren't particularly good or bad went. goddesspersonalShe wore a wreath as she traveled between the underworld and the world of the living with the changing seasons.

Victorian language of flowers

With the advent of the Victorian era, the flower was again valued for more than its white buds. As in previous centuries, people using the language of flowers also used this flower to commemorate the dead.

The specific meaning of asphodel was something like "remembrance of the one who died". Another possibility was "happiness and peace after death".

food symbolism

Meaning, symbolism and uses of the asphodel flower (7)

The use of asphodel leaves in making fresh burrata also gives the plant another cultural significance.

In this usage, it becomes a symbol of freshness, fragility, and the rapid passage of time. As the leaves wither and dry insidethree to four daysOnce harvested, it is a clear indicator that the burrata was freshly made.

memory of home

EmGreece and Corsica, there is a common saying that pertains to asphodels. The saying goes "He forgot Asphodel". It's a way of referring to someone who has moved and forgotten their home country.

Use in art and literature

Due to its timeless association with death and the afterlife, numerous poets from ancient times to the present have used asphodel as a symbol. Everyone from Ezra Pound to Edgar Allen Poe and Oscar Wilde has conjured up flowers.

Even record labels, fashion lines and perfume companies have been inspired by the symbolic meaning of the asphodel flower.

Gift occasions suitable for asphodel flowers

Meaning, symbolism and uses of the asphodel flower (8)

Because of their long history as symbols of death and the afterlife, asphodel flowers are most commonly used in funeral arrangements. They are ideal for giving to someone who has recently lost a loved one or is about to celebrate a death anniversary.

How to care for freshly cut asphodel flowers at home

Asphodel flowers only last a few days once added to a bouquet. Store them in a cool box or refrigerator until it's time to display them.

Check out our complete guide to for more informationfresh flower care.

To involve

Few other flowers have such a concentrated symbolic meaning as Asphodel. These lacy flowers attract attention when they are part of the landscape or bouquet, but they also have a deeper meaning.

Frequently asked questions about aspodilla flower

These flowers prefer full sun to partial shade but cannot tolerate high heat or humidity. Stick to areas with well-drained, even sandy, soil.

It is a powerful symbol of the afterlife and preparing for the inevitability of death. For some, it also represents rebirth and the potential for the afterlife.

Asphodel flowers are white, may have a red band on the petal, and often have a distinctive star shape.

Despite their attractive flowers, most Asphodel species do not have a specific smell. The leaves and stems can have a slight medicinal-green odor when crushed or used in burrata production.

Although asphodel is used in making foods like burrata, it is not edible. It was once widely consumed by Greek and North African cultures, but modern testing has shown these species to be unsafe to eat.

Andres Gaumond

Editor-in-Chief | full biography |+ publications

Andrew is the editorial director of Petal Republic. She has a degree in Plant Sciences and has professional training at leading florist schools in London and Paris. Andrew leads a global editorial team and is a content creator with a passion for all things floral, floral design, gardening and houseplants.

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