late 14c., from Latin asphodelus, from Greek asphodelos, also sphodelos, spodelos, "asphodel, king's spear, plant of the lily kind," which is of unknown origin; "A substrate word, as is shown by the variants" [Beekes]. Compare daffodil. It was the peculiar plant of the dead; and in Greek mythology and English poetic use it overspreads the Elysian meadows.
To embathe In nectared lavers strewed with asphodel. [Milton, "Comus," 1634]