Chinese Plants and Flowers: Types and Meanings
by: Wong Yee Lee
Plum flowers are fragrant and beautiful. They were once the national flower. On the Chinese 50 cents coins you can see plum flowers on the side.
Chrysanthemum flowers symbolizes a strong life. It is good to give old people chrysanthemum flowers because it means strong life. However, only red ones would be good because white and light yellow ones are used only at funerals. Lovers do not give chrysanthemum to their loved ones.
Narcissus, lotus flowers and orchid are flowers which represent high virtues and elegance.
Orchid blossoms in spring and it brings an air of high class respectfulness.
Narcissus blossoms in winter. White flowers of five pedals and yellow stamen grow in pure water. It represents a sense of purity.
Lotus flowers grow in pond water. Its roots are edible. Its flowers blossom in summer and are either red or white. The seeds are also edible and are often used as medicine. Almost every part of a lotus plant is useful though it grows in muddy pond water. That is also why it is compared to people who manage to achieve successfully in life though come from a less prestige background.
Azalea flowers represents elegance and wealth. You can find azalea on the Chinese one cent coins.
Peach flowers blossom in spring. It represents beautiful girls. In Chinese tradition at Chinese New Year, people who want to find love will usually buy a whole plant and put it home because this will bring them luck in finding love in the coming year.
Pomegranate gives very beautiful flowers. Its fruit is sour but contains a lot of seeds inside. In Chinese tradition, people put this fruit on the bed of the newly weds so as to help the newly weds to make many babies.
Maple trees in China represents old people who don't admit that they are old because these trees blossoms in autumn which is near the end of a year.
Lilac in China represents modesty, which is one of the virtues that Chinese people value
Other than the above, there are some flowers which have medicinal values. Plum flowers can cure heat, cough and diarrhea; chrysanthemum can cure cold; orchid can cure lung disease and coughs; lotus flowers can cure sunstroke, insomnia and blood vomiting; azalea can regulate female menstruation; narcissus and Chinese rose can remove bruises; laurel can remove bruises and dissolve phlegm.
What about giving presents?
When birthdays or opening a business, red Chinese rose or pomegranate flowers would be good because this represents prosperous future.
For old people, plum flowers or tuberose would be appropriate.
For patients, orchid, you can buy China pink bamboo.
For moving houses, you can buy asparagus fern.
For wedding, you can buy lily because in China it represents hundred years of love. Lily is also good for friends which means unity.
However there are also plants which carry derogative meanings.
Poplar flowers can be easily blown broken. It represents a woman who is not faithful.
Broad-leave epiphyllum flowers are pretty but they open just for one night. It can be easily understood that they represent shortness.
Duckweed floats on the surface of water. It has no roots and floats anywhere. Since the Chinese nation values family and its unity, things which do not have roots would be pitiful.
Thistles and thorns bring people pain. They represent difficulties.
Now you know what to bring your date next time you take her out!
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