21 Mar 2011


‘Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him
I love.’
Walt Whitman, When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d

While the lilac describes the soft purple that is usually associated with this flowering plant, lilac blossoms also occur in white and pink, and each colour comes with a different underlying message.

Purple is the one to choose to tell someone you are feeling the first pangs of love. Later on in the relationship, it can also be given to ask, ‘Do you still love me?’ White lilacs are a symbol for youthful innocence, purity and modesty, and are highly appropriate as gifts for young girls or for the bouquet of a blushing bride. The regal blooms are also a sign of majesty, which can be presented to someone you think has that special poise and queenly presence.

Another symbol of youth is the pink lilac, though this variation can also be a way to say ‘I accept.’ But lovers beware, a lilac can also mean an absence of passion, so unless you want a platonic relationship, you’d better make your amorous intentions clear! But young or old, innocent or exalted, just friends or paramours, everyone will be delighted by the lilac’s sweet fragrance.

v     Absence of passion
v     Acceptance (Pink)
v     Majesty
v     Modest (White)
v     Youth (Pink)
v     ‘Do you still love me?’ (Purple)
v     ‘You’re my first love.’ (Purple)
v     ‘You’re so pure and innocent.’ (White)

Origin: Europe and Asia.

Season: When the lilac tree is in bloom and its fragrance hangs in the air, it is a sure sign that spring has arrived.

Colour: Purple, pink and white.   

Author: Alethea Dean

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