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Adonis Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Adonis Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Adonis flowers do best to remember a loved one that passed unexpectedly. However, they can also mean sorrowful remembrance. 

Most known for being the namesake of the Greek lover of Aphrodite – Adonis – this unique flower blooms in red, orange, and yellow shades with bold purple accents. As part of the buttercup family, the Adonis flower can also mean beauty, uniqueness, and determination. Learn more about the Adonis Pheasant’s Eye flower below.

The Adonis Flower 

Adonis (Adonis aestivalis) is an annual flower that belongs to the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family. In Latin, Aestivalis means “of the summer.” 

The nickname Pheasant’s Eye comes from the flower’s bold red color, which resembles the eyes of a pheasant. These plants produce feathery, soft green ferny leaves, branched, erect, columnar stems reaching 8″ to 24″ tall and 6″ to 12″ wide. 

Flowers can have five to 30 petals, blooming in spring and fall when planted 5″ to 12″ apart. In September, these plants go dormant. For outdoor perennials, the plants need a layer of mulch. 

Of the many different species of flowers within the Adonis genus, most are rare to find because they have become endangered. The slow growth and multiple years to maturity (6 to 7 years when cultivated or 40 to 50 years when wild). 

Because these plants can take so long to grow from a seed into viable flowering plants, it’s more often than people choose these plants already started. For this reason, most wild cultivated species have been largely decimated in many countries, potentially causing this invasive plant to be an endangered species.

Common Names

Other than the common name of Adonis, the Adonis aestivalis is also Summer Pheasant’s Eye, blood drops, red Morocco, rose-a-ruby, red chamomile, soldiers-in-the-green, Pheasant’s Eye, Summer Adonis, and Poison Hemlock. 

Brief History and Origin 

Pheasant’s Eye flowers are native to western Asia and the Mediterranean Basin. Greek myths say that Aphrodite’s young lover – Adonis – died from a wild boar. As his blood spilled on the ground, red flowers bloomed.  

This flower came to the US, where it became an invasive species in the western parts of the US. Originally, it was meant as a horticultural plant, but it did not do well with cultivation. 

How to Grow and Care for Adonis Flower 

Adonis plants require at least six hours of direct sunlight, although they can tolerate as little as two to six hours of partial shade. 

They do best in well-draining, moist, sandy soil, shallow rocks, clay, or loamy silt with a neutral to alkaline pH of less than 8. 

Adonis Flower Uses

Medicinally, parts of the Adonis flower contain multiple biologically active compounds that can be good for the heart, like cardioactive glycosides.

Drying the tops and leaves of the Adonis plant can make tinctures or extracts that can regulate your heartbeat. But internal use of adonis can result in heart paralysis.

The main use of Adonis flowers of all variations is typically ornamental, grown for their amazing beauty and deep, symbolic meanings.

Adonis Flower Symbolism and Meaning 

The Greek myth of how this flower got its name means sorrowful remembrances. Use this flower to represent someone you loved deeply who passed away quickly and without warning. 


Like most flowers, the Pheasants eye flower has multiple meanings, which revolve around sad recollections of a deceased loved one. You can use this flower to represent memories not worth remembering or as a reminder not to stress about such events.

One common meaning for the Adonis flower is death and bad occasions. And because this plant is also poisonous, it’s frequently a sign that events may not have a good ending. 

Adonis flowers also mean determination and say, “I can’t forget you.” Use it to send an unsaid message of trust and love between two people and that you’ll always have that special person in your life. 

And the Pheasant’s eye flower also symbolizes beauty and uniqueness because of the flower’s unique and gorgeous appearance.  

Cultural Significance

Adonis flowers have significance in Greece, where they represent the death of Adonis. For this reason, they are flowers of remembrance and sorrowful memories of a loved one who passed unexpectedly. 

And in Christianity, Adonis flowers became red as the blood of Christ dripped onto the flowers while he was on the cross. 

Different Colors of the Adonis Flower

Flowers form in a semblance of small buttercups in red-purple, orange, scarlet red, or yellow colors. In addition, all flowers feature a purple-centered blotch, purple stamens, and dark purple anthers. 

Red Adonis flowers represent remembrance of a deceased loved one. And yellow flowers are symbolic of determination and attraction. Adonis flowers in the gold mean beauty, orange means uniqueness, and white symbolizes sadness.

Adonis Flower Frequently Asked Questions

Take a few seconds to learn more about the Adonis flower with these frequently asked questions.

Is the Adonis Flower Poisonous?

All parts of the Adonis flower are mildly poisonous if ingested. Toxicity symptoms include nausea or vomiting. Therefore, humans, pets, or horses should eat nothing from an Adonis plant. 

Is the Adonis Flower a Perennial?

In most places, Adonis flowers grow as annuals. However, there are a few places where the plants can survive as perennials. 

What Is the Adonis Flower Myth?

The myth says that the Adonis flower grew from the blood spilled by Adonis, a beautiful man loved by the goddess Aphrodite. Another legend says that Adonis was loved by both Aphrodite – goddess of love – and Persephone – queen of the underworld.

Final Thoughts 

The Adonis plant makes an attractive and unique flower for sorrowful memories and the remembrance of someone close to you who passed away unexpectedly. But, these flowers can also represent beauty, uniqueness, and I can’t forget you.