Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of several chiefly Mediterranean plants of the genera Asphodeline and Asphodelus, having linear leaves and elongate clusters of white, pink, or yellow flowers.
  • noun Any of several other plants, such as the bog asphodel.
  • noun In Greek poetry and mythology, the flowers of Hades and the dead, sacred to Persephone.
  • noun In early English and French poetry, the daffodil.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A name of various species of Asphodelus, a genus of plants, natural order Liliaceæ, natives of southern Europe.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) A general name for a plant of the genus Asphodelus. The asphodels are hardy perennial plants, several species of which are cultivated for the beauty of their flowers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun botany Flowering plants of the Asphodelaceae family, especially Asphodelus ramosus and Asphodelus albus; the flowers of these plants.
  • noun mythology The flower said to carpet Hades, and a favorite food of the dead.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun any of various chiefly Mediterranean plants of the genera Asphodeline and Asphodelus having linear leaves and racemes of white or pink or yellow flowers

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin asphodelus, from Greek asphodelos.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek ἀσφόδελος (asphodelos).

Examples

  • How do we appraise an illuminated manuscript from a 15th-century book of hours, the translucent skin of a lady's portrait from 1610 on a three-inch oval of vellum, the stems of an asphodel curling across the page in a botanical illustration from 1747 that dimly presages the all-over aesthetic of action painting?

    Medium is message at Tate Britain 'Watercolour' show

  • Two green hairstreak butterflies, gracefully viridescent, dance past on a soft wind that sifts through reeds, sets waving the tall golden flower stems of bog asphodel, and silky white plumes of cottongrass that has colonised the old peat-diggings.

    Country diary: Tregaron, Ceredigon

  • Where I come from almost nothing grows—except asphodel.

    PERSEPHONE THE PHONY

  • After a while the mist cleared and the group came upon fields of asphodel.

    PERSEPHONE THE PHONY

  • So what if asphodel was the only flower that bloomed here?

    PERSEPHONE THE PHONY

  • After a while the mist cleared and the group came upon fields of asphodel.

    PERSEPHONE THE PHONY

  • This harks back to my aptly named post Death and daffodils where I explored a possible native etymology of ἀσφοδελός 'the netherworld asphodel meadow' effectively meaning 'the meadow (ἕλος) not (ἀ-) reduced to ashes (σποδός) or 'unashen meadow'.

    Thoughts on the etymology of Greek ἀκακαλίς

  • Where I come from almost nothing grows—except asphodel.

    PERSEPHONE THE PHONY

  • The margins of the loch were a riot of colour – the bright yellow of the bog asphodel contrasting with the red, greens and yellows of the sphagnum mosses.

    Country diary: Loch Bran

  • So what if asphodel was the only flower that bloomed here?

    PERSEPHONE THE PHONY

Comments

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  • Honeysuckle! And now

    there comes the buzzing of a bee!

    and a whole flood

    of sister memories!

    Only give me time,

    time to recall them

    before I shall speak out.

    Give me time,

    time.

    When I was a boy

    I kept a book

    to which, from time

    to time,

    I added pressed flowers

    until, after a time,

    I had a good collection.

    The asphodel,

    forebodingly,

    among them.

    I bring you,

    reawakened,

    a memory of those flowers.

    They were sweet

    when I pressed them

    and retained

    something of their sweetness

    a long time.

    From "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower" by William Carlos Williams

    June 26, 2011

  • This word was used in the first Harry Potter movie.

    June 12, 2012