Jonquil Flower Meaning: Beyond Its Sunny Disposition

With its fragrant, bright yellow blossoms, the jonquil flower (Narcissus jonquilla) has long been a favorite mid-spring bloomer. A native of Spain and Portugal, jonquils — sometimes called narcissus or rush daffodils — are associated with the Greek myth of Narcissus. Here, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Jonquil flower meaning and symbolism, their history and origins, and their cultural significance around the world today. 

Jonquil Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Jonquil Flower Meaning – The Essentials

Jonquils are tied to the Greek myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection. In the Victorian language of flowers, a gift of jonquils symbolizes forgiveness or a desire that affection is returned. The lovely blossoms have other meanings across cultures, such as creativity, inspiration, vitality, forgiveness, success, rebirth, and renewal.

Etymological Meaning

Narcissus comes from the Greek word for “numbness” or narke (also the root of the word “narcotic.”) It’s thought that the flower’s intoxicating scent or the toxic nature of their bulbs and blossoms may be the connection.

Jonquilcomes from the Spanish junquillo, which comes from the Latin for “rush,” or juncus. This refers to the jonquil’s rush-like foliage.

The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Jonquil Flowers

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Jonquil Flowers

These lovely blooms appear in shades of yellow or white, with a few cultivars boasting orange or apricot-hued coronas. Jonquils hold many different meanings across cultures.

Jonquil Flowers in Chinese Folklore

In Chinese folklore, the flowers represent the new year. They may signify rebirth, renewal, and vitality. To the Welch, the flowers are a sign of good fortune, as anyone who spots the first flower in spring will experience success.

Jonquil Flowers in Victorian Times

Other meanings associated with flowers include creativity and inspiration. In the Victorian language of flowers, the jonquil may send a few different messages, from a plea for forgiveness to “I desire a return of affection.”

Jonquil Flowers in Greek Mythology

Of course, the flowers have long been associated with the story of Narcissus. In this Greek myth, young Narcissus was handsome… and he knew it. The young man spurned the advances of the nymph Echo, who pined for him in the forests and valleys until only her voice was left. 

As punishment, the Goddess Nemesis led Narcissus to a pool of water, where he encountered his own reflection. He was so enamored with his own beauty that he stared at his reflection for days. Eventually, he tired, fell in, and drowned, leaving only flowers growing where he once sat. From this myth comes Jonquil’s connection to ego and self-absorption. Some say that the way Jonquil’s stems droop toward the ground represents Narcissus looking into the pool.

Jonquils makes an appearance in art and advertising, such as in paintings by Georgia O’Keefe.

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Jonquil Flowers

With the heady fragrance and cheerful blossoms, jonquil flowers are an ideal gift to celebrate accomplishments, cheer someone up, or in a get-well bouquet. Associations of vitality and renewal make them a good choice for new baby gifts, as well.

Jonquils add a happy touch to birthday bouquets, too. They’re a great choice for any occasion when you want to wish someone success and good fortune or celebrate an accomplishment.


Jonquil Flower FAQs:

Are jonquils perennials?

Jonquils are perennials that can grow for many years. Division is recommended every four years to prevent overcrowding.

What do jonquils symbolize?

Jonquils has long been associated with Narcissus, whose self-absorption caused his demise. The flowers may also stand for creativity, inspiration, rebirth, vitality, and success; in the Victorian language of flowers, they may symbolize forgiveness or send the message that “I desire a return of affection.”

What do Jonquil flowers smell like?

Jonquils have a heady fragrance that some describe as both sweet and musky. Oils from the flowers are used to make perfume.

What do Jonquil’s flowers look like?

Jonquil flowers are usually yellow or white, with flat petals surrounding a central cup-shaped corona. They resemble daffodil flowers but are often smaller and have more flowers per stem, with rush-like, dark green foliage.

Are Jonquil flowers poisonous?

Jonquil flowers contain alkaloids that are poisonous to humans, dogs, cats, and livestock.

Wrap Up

Jonquil flowers are prized for their fragrance and striking blossoms. Long associated with the Greek myth of Narcissus, these lovely flowers don’t just stand for self-absorption but also signify creativity, inspiration, forgiveness, success, renewal, and rebirth. Easy to grow from bulbs, jonquils add fragrance and color to the mid-spring garden.


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