Like Violet, Lavender and Lilac, Ianthe is a purple flower name. Chosen by the poet Shelley for his daughter, Ianthe has a poetic, romantic, almost ethereal quality. In the ancient myth, she was the daughter of Oceanus, supreme ruler of the sea, and also a Cretan woman so beautiful that when she died the Gods made purple flowers grow around her grave.
Iantha is also used.
Ianthe was a favorite of the pastoral poets of the seventeenth century and then again in the early nineteenth. She appears in the works of Shelley, Barbara Pym and Georgette Heyer. Writer Richard Brautigan named his daughter Ianthe.