Myrtle Flower Meaning & Symbolism: Important Facts For 4 Color Varations

The star-shaped petite myrtles are absolutely stunning to look at, but have you ever wanted to know more about myrtle flower meaning?

The myrtle flower in marriage ceremonies reflects devotion. It became synonymous with love and purity. However, it can also represent triumph, honor, and protection, especially in the Greco-Roman legends.

To tackle the meaning of such delicate beauty, we have to go over different interactions according to color and cultural context. Let’s dig in!

White myrtle flowers on a branch

Myrtle Flower Meaning by Color

If you go by common notions, myrtles are white. That’s the image that pops up in most people’s heads whenever someone mentions the plant’s name.

However, these flowers come in way more colors. Each one of those can reflect a slightly different meaning than the other.

So, let’s jump right in with the top five myrtle color variations and what signal they might send!

1. White Myrtles

White myrtles are really versatile in their meaning. They’re open to several interpretations, from love to honor.

That said, you’re most likely to see them at weddings. That doesn’t come as a shock since most white flowers represent bridal beauty and innocence, anyway.

Both the Kiowa and Acoma crape myrtles are suitable options to consider if you want something that fits in a small backyard. Caring for those trees is easier than you expect.

2. Red Myrtles

Things can get a little confusing when you try to pair the fiery passion that red represents with the innocent image of myrtle.

Mostly, the meaning here is going to swing according to the person who’s holding the flowers and what the occasion is. The intensity of the petal colors is also going to play a role.

The brightest cultivars to consider are the Cheyenne, Victor, and the disease-resistant Arapaho myrtles.

Violet color of Queen's crape myrtle flower on white background. (Lagerstroem ia speciosa (L.) Pers.)

3. Pink Myrtles

As is the case with a lot of other flower types, pink usually reflects femininity and delicate tempers. All of those notions go very well with the general theme that myrtles bring about.

They always make for a softer declaration of love than the fiery red ones. They could also reflect motherly love and purity in some cases.

A common and fast-growing option to consider here is the weeping Osage crape myrtle tree. Keep in mind that certain cultivars, like the Biloxi, can shift from a yellow-orange to somewhere between pink and lavender, depending on the season.

4. Purple Myrtles

If you don’t want to settle for lavender-ish hues in your myrtle flower arrangements, you can opt for the Zuni or the Catawba cultivars.

The beauty of going for purple myrtles is that they add a sense of royalty and nobility to the flower. They’ll differently make your home garden stand out from the crowd with a sense of mystery.

Interpreting the Myrtle Flower Meaning Across Cultures

In different cultures and times, the myrtle plant carried various symbolizations, all of which are really interesting for history and mythology buffs.

Let’s take a closer look!

Greco-Roman Femininity, Rebirth, and Purity

The myrtle tree and its bloom have a deep rooting in Greek and Roman legends, especially ones about female sexuality.

For one, it can stand as a symbol for Aphrodite, Venus, Minerva, and even Demeter. It can also represent fertility and rebirth since Adonis was born of myrrh. Of course, myrrh, as an aromatic balm, also influenced the name behind the flower.

Asides from notions of femininity and rebirth, the myrtle flower also has ties to purity. You can see this materializing in the story of the Sabine Women.

In this legend, the myrtle was a cleansing tool by the Cloacina to purify the Sabine Women and bring back peace and harmony between the Sabines and Romans.

You can even see how the Greek view of myrtle as a sign of chastity and purity reflects on Orthodox traditions with the Panagia Myrtidiotissa sanctuary. The name translates to the Lady of Myrtle, in reference to the Virgin Mary.

Picture of crepe myrtle flowers

Royal Family Nuptial Traditions

From Greece and Rome, the notion of myrtle being a sign of virtue is still standing today in many wedding ceremonies.

It all started with Queen Victoria back in 1858 with a subtle Osborne myrtle bridal bouquet. Over the generations, it became a staple for all royal weddings, from Dianna to Meghan Markle—you name it.

The Osborne gardens themselves gained a reputation for being the place to go to see myrtle trees.

The tradition even showed up in other parts of the world. For instance, the Russian Grand Duchess Marie also used myrtle flowers in her wedding ceremony.

So, it’s not surprising how the flower represents love, loyalty, and beauty for brides all over the world.

Symbolization in Literature

When a flower gets a reputation for representing an emotion or concept, you can expect to see them reflected in literature and pop culture.

Although F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a very popular use of myrtles, it’s quite an ironic depiction.

In the novel, Myrtle Wilson breaks the whole notion of fidelity and devoted love. She’s not sincere in her love for her husband (or her lover, for that matter).

This wasn’t the only iconic use of floral symbols in the novel, either. Daisy herself doesn’t exactly fit in the concert of purity that daisies are supposed to represent. However, it all fits in the narrative of the roaring 20s that The Great Gatsby is all about.

Meanwhile, Myrtle Warren from Harry Potter is a representation of innocence and loyalty, albeit a bit weak-spirited one.

Victory and Honor

Although the famous wreath associated with the Olympic games is actually an olive branch, myrtle still has relevance to Greek victory tokens.

In ancient Greece, they used to make crowns and wreaths out of myrtle and wear them for special occasions. That’s probably because the sprig would have been too dainty and fragile for day-to-day use.

Living proof of that is Princess Meda’s golden wreath of myrtle. Not only is it a thing of beauty, but it also tells us how the flowers represented beauty, honor, and protection. It says all that while still showing us the fragility of life.

At the time, it was such a prized possession that they would take it with them to the grave!

From a different perspective, the Roman soldier and leader Aulus Postumius Tubertus celebrated his military victories while wearing a wreath of myrtle.

Crepe myrtle blooms in morning light. Crepe myrtle or Lagerstroemia flowers. Photo shot in Northeast Florida. Letterbox image.

Best Occasions for a Myrtle Flower

Now that you have a better idea about the significance of the myrtle flower in culture, you might be eager to get to use it.

Thankfully, it’s not all that hard to find a suitable occasion to hand out a stunning bouquet of white, pink, or purple myrtles.

Let’s take a look at the best uses for the myrtle flower:

1. Wedding Ceremony

Obviously, one of the most common uses for myrtle flowers in our modern time is weddings. It says that you’re devoted to your partner and looking forward to your lives together.

Despite being so popularized, it’s not a cliche. You’ll also be going by the royal family’s traditions!

2. Baby Shower

Since myrtles can also represent fertility and birth, they make a good gift for someone expecting or a mother who just delivered a healthy baby.

Getting a pot of pink myrtle flowers could be a smart move here!

3. Celebrate an Achievement

Following the footsteps of the Greek and Roman legends, you can always opt for purple myrtles to say congratulations. It tells the person that you find their achievement admirable and noble.

It doesn’t have to be a wreath, though. After all, those can be hard to make, and they’ll most likely break down in a few hours.

Wrap Up On Myrtle Flower Meaning & Symbolism

To sum up all that myrtle flower meaning analysis, we can say that it symbolizes purity and devotion in love.

Yet, it can also be a token of triumph, victory, and honor under the right circumstances.

What occasions do you see yourself picking up some fresh myrtles for?

Back to Petals And Hedges home page  

Read more from our flower meanings category