The Secret Life of Flowers
In the Language of Gods and Godesses, Kings and Commoners
(page 2 of 3)
Sego Lily - Lily Family · Liliaceae
Symbol: Peace, chastity, innocence and virtue, as well as fertility.
Fact: In Roman times, the juice from lily bulbs was said to cure corns, and common belief held that planting lilies in the garden would protect the garden from ghosts and evil spirits. In more recent history, bulbs were ground and made into porridge by Native Americans and “sego” is a Shoshonean word thought to mean “edible bulb.” The Sego Lily was adopted as the Utah state flower in 1911, in part due to its use as an essential food source by Mormon pioneers of 1848-1849, and it is known in California as the Mariposa Lily, which translates to “butterfly” from Spanish.
Legend: Dedicated to the goddess Hera, the wife of Zeus, the lily was formed after Hera flung Hercules from nursing at her breast (Zeus fathered Hercules with the mortal woman Alceme and brought him to Hera’s breast after he had drugged her to sleep). As Hera flung Hercules from her breast, a few drops of her milk spilled across the heavens to form the Milky Way. The drops that fell to earth were said to have formed the first white lilies. In a similar tale, Christian legend tells that the lily sprang from Eve’s tears falling to the ground, when upon being expelled from Eden she learned that she was pregnant.
Left: Camas Lily - Lily Family · Lilaceae ~ Fawn Lily - Lily Family · Lilaceae
Right: Foothill Death Camas - Lily Family · Lilaceae