Athemion is an ancient Egyptian design originally based on a stylized depiction of the papyrus or lotus, adopted by ancient Greeks who frequently depicted stylized or abstracted palm fronds.
Athemion is also referred to as palmette. However, the two designs differ in the curve of the petals or fronds in the design. The word Athemion is based on the Greek word for flower, therefore, the petals turn inward like a lotus blossom.
On the other hand, palmette is inspired by palm fronds which turn outward.
Athemion motifs can be found in Greek ornamental architecture. One particular variation is referred to as a "flame palmette" where the leaves gently curve out before the tips curl back tightly giving it the appearance of a flame. These designs can be found in repeating patterns on columns and friezes or as singular pieces at the roof apexes and corners of buildings.