The Legendary Flowers of Christianity

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The Legendary Flowers of Christianity

Did you know there are over 190 species of plant that have their own legends? Have you ever wondered why certain flowers are displayed for different occasions?

Flowers have played a part in ancient tales across history, and in Christianity alone there are many plants that have traditions and sacred value. I’ve chosen just a few to show you here.

Maybe it will help you chose flowers for your next occasion?



It is believed that lilies were born from the tears of Eve, when she with cried with regret on leaving the garden of Eden. However, it is mostly associated with the Virgin Mary. According to some, originally the white lily was yellow but turned white when touched by Mary. Saint Bede preached that the flower is associated with Mary’s purity: the gold stamen represents her luminous soul and the petals her virginity or flesh. Legend states that when Mary ascended to the heavens her tomb was filled with lilies.

It has also been said that the trumpet shape of the flower represents Gabriel’s trumpet calling for rebirth and new life; and the petals represent life after death. The stamen is said to portray Christ’s kingship.

The white lily went on to represent the saints.



Ever wondered where the catholic rosary got its name? You’ve guessed it: the rose. Roses have been a part of Christian symbology since the 11th century. The red and the white Rose dominate above all other shades. The white rose is synonymous with purity, virginity and devotion; the red rose the embodiment of the blood of Jesus, charity, and resurrection. The blood of Christ is said to have birthed the red rose.

In the middle ages a crown of white roses was worn by virgins, and virgins only, as it illustrated innocence. It was known as the mystic white rose of heaven and was depicted as having no thorns.



The daffodil is acknowledged as the resurrection flower and is seen more than ever around Easter. It declares the path of Christ through death and resurrection. The site of the daffodil would summon people to church.

It is contradictory in nature: both an emblem of death and of life and has been that way since ancient times and been mentioned in several religions and groups.



Portuguese and Spanish missionaries came across the flower in the 16th century on their journeys to the Americas. They were immediately drawn to it and it became associated with Christ’s passion. Each part of the passionflower has been carefully dedicated to a different aspect of Christ.

  • The central flower column: a symbol of the whip that was used on Christ.
  • The top three stigma represent the 3 nails
  • The 10 petals equal the 10 apostles
  • The 5 anthers represent Christ’s wounds; the circle they create: a crown of thorns.
  • The leaves are shaped like the spear that pierced Jesus

There are even further descriptions and diagrams as to how the flower is linked to Jesus.

Do you have a favourite flower? Is there a reason or story behind why you love it? Share your story with us on social media.

Written by Becky Vanden


  • Sacred Connection of Ornamental flowers with religious symbols by Anca Husti and Maria Cantor (online journal)