White Narcissus Flower Meaning

The white narcissus is one of the oldest flowers in the narcissus genus. Commonly known as the daffodil or paperwhite, the flower is quite popular as a gift. If you received it from a loved one, you might wonder about the white narcissus flower’s meaning and interpretation.

White narcissus flowers signify positivity, joy, transformation, and an appreciation for life. They could also mean forgiveness and inner reflection. However, some cultures believe the flower to be a symbol of selfishness and self-centeredness.

Today, we’ll discuss the mythology and symbolism behind this flower and discover why it’s not all sunshine and roses when it comes to the white narcissus.

White Narcissus Mythology

In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a handsome man who rejected many admirers. One of those admirers prayed to Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, and asked her to show Narcissus the pain of heartbreak.

After another incident where he rejected a nymph named Echo, the goddess decided that it was time to punish him.

As Narcissus was drinking water from a pool of water, she cursed him to fall in love with his reflection. Narcissus became so fixated on himself that he refused to leave the spot. He spent his days without eating and eventually withered away.

After his death, the gods took pity on Narcissus and turned him into a cluster of flowers. This is why the white narcissus grows well beside bodies of water, where it would bend toward its reflection.

An Omen of Death?

Because of the myth, a drooping narcissus flower became the symbol of death, misfortune, and unrequited love in the Victorian Era.

In ancient Egypt, the narcissus flower commonly grew along graves. Archaeologists even found a bulb under the hand of a mummy. Presumably, the Egyptians placed it there for its healing properties.

During this time, people believed that if you gave this flower space in your home, it would bring domestic disagreement. However, in some cases, the flower could mean loyalty.

Some cultures still consider the flower to be unlucky today. On the other hand, many now believe that the white narcissus is a sign of rebirth, self-love, positivity, and appreciation of life.

White Narcissus Flowers

White Narcissus Meaning in America

After the events of 9/11, Dutch flower broker Hans van Waardenburg gave over a million bulbs of narcissus flowers to New York City’s garden designer.

He came up with the idea as a way for ordinary citizens to commemorate those who died in the attack. Volunteers planted the bulbs across libraries, parks, highways, and public facilities.

The narcissus became a symbol of remembrance, rebirth, and renewal. Within 20 years, the flowers multiplied, and now there are 8 million bulbs all over New York.

Many cancer charities even use narcissus flowers in their logos as a sign of hope.

Also Check: The Symbolic Meaning of Wildflowers

White Narcissus Meaning in Other Parts of the World

In China, white narcissi, or Chinese sacred lilies, are like water fairies. The flowers are akin to Daoist water deities, which are the bringers of happiness.

Moreover, the flower became associated with the lunar new year since it blooms around this time. Because of this, the flower now symbolizes good fortune, wealth, and prosperity in the country.

In Kurdish culture, narcissus flowers are associated with spring. These flowers are an essential part of their new year celebrations.

Another interesting fact is that the narcissus is the national flower of Wales. Though the exact reason for this is unknown, many think that it’s because the narcissus’s name translates to Peter’s Leek in the local language. It seems that leeks are a big deal in Welsh culture.

Other Interpretations of White Narcissus

The white narcissus plant may also mean different things depending on the time of the year.

White Narcissus as a December Birth Flower

White narcissus is the birth flower for those born in December. In this case, the white narcissus symbolizes purity, simplicity, and sweetness.

A white narcissus flower bouquet is a thoughtful gift to celebrate a newly born December baby.

White Narcissus During the Holidays

As one of the few plants that bloom in winter, having narcissus as decor is another way to express the holiday spirit.

During this time, the flower may mean purity, faithfulness, and respect.

Read more: Camia Flower: Symbolism, Origins, and Uses

What Does It Mean When Someone Gives You White Narcissus Flowers?

There could be several reasons for someone to give you white narcissus flowers as a gift. Here are some of the possible interpretations:

1.   Unconditional Love

We believe that this one stems from the myth of Narcissus. He drew a lot of attention, and many professed their undying faithfulness and love to him, but it was never reciprocated.

Unconditional love means that no matter what, you’ll love the other person without expecting anything in return.

2.   New Beginnings

White narcissi could also mean forgiveness, rebirth, and renewal. This is most likely derived from the flowers that volunteers planted around New York to remember the events of 9/11.

If you receive this flower, it might mean that the other person wants to set differences aside and start anew.

3.   Prosperity

If you receive narcissus flowers sometime around Chinese New Year, it could mean that the gifter wishes for you to have wealth, happiness, and great fortune for the coming year.

White Narcissus Close up

The Downside of White Narcissus as a Present

If you’re planning to give someone a white narcissus as a present, you should inform them to keep it out of reach from children.

White narcissus flowers produce lycorine, which is harmful to people and pets. It can even be toxic to other plants.

If you put narcissus flowers together with tulips or roses in the same vase, the other flowers will turn yellow and wilt.

Nevertheless, the white narcissus is a great gift if you know how to manage it!

To Sum It Up

White narcissi are flowers that people previously saw as bad omens. Yet, they have transformed into symbols of rebirth, love, and prosperity.

Hopefully, you learned something new about the white narcissus flower meaning!