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Symbolic Meaning of Stargazer Lilies

By Maureen Katemopoulos ; Updated September 21, 2017
The stargazer lily was introduced in 1978.
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Powi) (Per Ola Wiberg

When an independent American lily grower and breeder named Leslie Woodruff introduced his creation, the stargazer lily in 1978, he could not have foreseen what a sensation he would cause. His creation was welcomed like royalty, in America and throughout the world. His spectacular flower is perhaps the perfect hybrid lily. From its unlikely history to its lyrical name, the stargazer lily has brought new meaning to the world of flowers.


First and foremost, the stargazer lily is a symbol of perfection. It is a combination of the finest features of the Oriental and Asiatic lilies from which it is derived, a pleasing result that enfolds the best of both worlds in the hybrid. The stargazer lily can also be called heaven scent for its fragrance, and heaven sent for the qualities of elegance and versatility that have placed it ahead of many other flowers with a much longer history and a more sophisticated pedigree.

What's in a Name

Woodruff selected the name, “stargazer” because of the way the blooms of this lily pointed toward the sky. The name itself sends a symbolic message of high hopes, optimism and limitless possibilities.


Because Woodruff reportedly did not keep precise records of the flowers he used in his cross-breeding experiments, the actual parentage of the stargazer lily was not documented for posterity. For this reason, it can be said that the stargazer lily is a symbol of mystery, though without any doubt an enchanting mystery to ponder, one which simply adds to the allure of this lovely flower.


The white stargazer lily is associated with innocence and purity, in keeping with the traditional image of the lily family of flowers. It is also considered an appropriate flower with which to express sympathy or to say “I’m sorry.” The pink stargazer lily symbolizes prosperity and abundance and conveys a message of honor.

Symbols of Celebration

Stargazer lilies make beautiful arrangements.
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of robbie jim

Stargazer lilies are popular choices for birthday bouquets and floral arrangements, particularly during the month of May for which the lily is the birth flower. They are also an ideal choice for a bridal bouquet or to celebrate a wedding anniversary. The lily is the flower traditionally associated with the 30th wedding anniversary. Many gardeners choose the stargazer lily as a centerpiece for their gardens, just because it is very much the star of any garden and the subject of many an admiring gaze, true to its name.


Perhaps most important of all, the stargazer lily symbolizes the fulfillment of a dream. It will always represent the passion, commitment, determination and ultimately, the enormous success of its creator, who worked tirelessly to achieve his goal of the ideal lily, the stargazer.



About the Author


Based in Northern California, Maureen Katemopoulos has been a freelance writer for more than 25 years. Her articles on travel, the arts, cuisine and history have appeared in publications such as "Stanislaus Magazine," "Orientations," "The Asia Magazine" and "The Peninsula Group Magazine." She holds a Baccalaureate degree in journalism from Stanford University.