The Azalea flower meaning derives from its symbolic meaning and rich folklore.
Azalea comes from the Greek word Azaleos which translates to dry. This was due to it growing in dry soil.
The Azalea belongs to the Rhododendron genus and also known as Anthodendron which is a subgenera of the Ericaceae family.
In this blog lets explore the symbolic meaning of the Azalea flower. We will also discover its rich Asian folklore and also the Feng Shui meaning.
Finally we will get into the different varieties and origins of the flower.
What does the Azalea flower symbolises?
The Azalea flower symbolic meaning are fragile, modest, patient, romance, take care, temperance, womanhood. The plant known to be fragile and difficult to grow is where it gets one of its meaning. Roots of the plant are usually shallow and does not tolerate over watering and it is where it get it temperance meaning from.
Azalea flower origin
The Azalea flower has its origins in Asia, Europe and America.
The Asian varieties namely those that come from China, Japan and Korea are called Azalea Indica. They feature in window garden and terraces.
We can at least find the earlier mentions of the Azalea flower in a Japanese poem.
Furthermore, the Japanese might have been the first to hybridise the plant with Rhododendrons.
The poem dates back to 759 CE and ever since they have been a favourite flower for Japanese gardeners.
This hybridised variety of Azalea flower might have spread with Buddhist monks from Japan to China and even to other parts of Asia.
It was also believed that other varieties of Azalea were also native to China and Korea. Then they spread to Japan and this might have been the introduction of a new hybridised variety.
Azalea flowers that grow in Asia minor are known as Azalea Pontica. They would become famous in Europe due to the Belgians adoption of the flower. It would also lead to new varieties being created.
The Azalea Pontica in the Mediterranean region is a poisonous shrub infact of parts of the plant is poisonous. Xenophon, a greek philosopher narrates in ‘Retreat of the Ten Thousand’ that after the death of Cyrus his soldiers became temporarily stupefied and delirious.
They had been intoxicated after they ate the honey of Trebizond on the Black Sea. This particular honey was collected by bees from the poisonous Azalea Pontica.
Those native to America are called Viscosa, Nudiflora, Calendulacea and Arborescens.
Red Azalea symbolism
A mother had two boys one was her biological son and the other one her step son. She displayed more tenderness and affection towards the biological son.
The step-son on the other hand was treated with cruelty. She hated her step son so much that she devised a plan to get rid of him/
She handed both of her sons a bag of seeds and informed them that if all of them didn’t sprout then to not come back home.
The woman’s biological son was well aware of his mother’s cruelty towards his step brother. In order to compensate for her behaviour he would often give him food or his possessions.
This time the biological son exchanged his seeds with his step brother. The seeds he had given to his step brother began to grow while his didn’t.
The biological son decided to not return. When the step-son returned the woman was enraged. She angrily warned the step-son that if he didn’t find her son it would be the last spring he ever sees.
The step-son searched for his brother in vain. He was pitied by the gods who transformed him into a cuckoo. As a cuckoo he would be perched on a branch and weep tears of blood until he died.
The tears of blood that fell on the ground became Red Azalea an important symbol in China.
The Azalea was a reminiscence of the beauty of mankind however it was also a symbol of reincarnation as portrayed by the protagonist of the story.
Azalea flower meaning Korean folklore
In Korean folklore, the story of the Azalea links to a childless couple and the Yin-Yang spring.
A long time ago there lived a childless couple named Yeonjin and Hoya. They lived in Daeseong Gyegok or the Great Sage Scenic Valley located in Mount Jiri.
The couple had long yearned for child and one day a bear approached Yeonjin and revealed to her a the secret of the magical Yin-Yang spring that helps couple to have children.
Yeonjin became so excited by this revelation that she set to visit the spring a once without even consulting her husband.
Unfortunately a tiger was nearby and overheard her conversation with the bear. Since he was the rival of the bear he promptly reported the conversation to San-Shin (mountain spirit)of Mount Jiri.
The Goddess of Mount Jiri became angry that this secret was revealed. She imprisoned the bear in a cave while tiger was made king of the jungle as a reward.
She also punished Yeojin for stealing water from the spring. Yeojin’s penance was to cultivate Azalea flowers on Seseok-pyeong-jeon or the rocky plateau for the rest of her life.
Yeonjin took her punishment seriously despite the difficulty of growing flowers on a rocky plateau.
She worked until her body was completely worn out and it was believed that blood that fell from her body helped the Azalea flowers to grow but also that they held her soul.
Azalea flower Feng Shui
The flower is also called “tiger flower” in China.
One of its use in Feng Shui is to grow the flower in the garden since it was considered as a benefit to sexual potency and beauty.
This use of the plant in Feng Shui might be where the Azalea flower gets its meaning of womanhood from.
Another use to the plant would be around a satellite dish and prefer acidic soil.
It is believed that the frequencies rebounded by the dish would be absorbed by the soil and making it acidic.
However, the Azalea when placed in the house or workplace it tends to repel luck.
If you liked this blog then don’t miss out on our other Spring Flower blogs.
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