Five Famous Flowers’ in Chinese Culture

Spring is here! Flowers are blooming all around us. In celebration of Earth Day, here are five flowers and their meanings in Chinese culture.


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In China, flowers have immense cultural significance. The Chinese have numerous poems, paintings, clothing and other artifacts that incorporate flowers. 

Flower viewing (观花 Guān huā) and other flower-appreciating activities have become extremely popular, especially in high-class society. The five flowers listed below are culturally recognized as the most famous flowers in China.

  1. 1 Chrysanthemum (菊花 Jú huā)

    Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemums are exceptionally well-liked by Chinese people. They symbolize nobility and elegance and bloom in late fall. 

    Thus, this flower is the perfect inspiration for many ancient scholars. 

    Chrysanthemums are also associated with longevity and perseverance since they can withstand the cold. Because of their bright color, they often attract positive energy into people’s lives. 

    Chrysanthemum Tea
    Chrysanthemums can also be dried and boiled to make tea. They are perfect for digestion and calm the stomach after eating spicy or greasy foods. 

    Now does it make sense why every dim sum place serves chrysanthemum tea? Jay Chou also has a song called “Chrysanthemum Terrace” (“菊花台” Jú huā tái).

  2. 2 Peony (牡丹 Mǔ dān)

    Pink Peonies

    In China, peonies are known as the “king of flowers” (花中之王 Huā zhōng zhī wáng). They are known as the unofficial national flower of China

    This flower’s big petals are connected to prosperity and happiness. Peonies can also symbolize love and romance. They were often the flower of choice at weddings in ancient China

    Because peonies are considered the “king of flowers,” in imperial China only imperial family members could have them sewn on their clothes. Commoners could not wear anything with peonies sewn on them. This crime was punishable by death. 

  3. 3 Lotus (荷花 Hé huā)

    A Lotus Flower

    The lotus flower is one of the most important flowers in China. It grows in murky ponds and lakes, yet it grows beautifully and gracefully. 

    Although it grows from the mud, it remains unstained and pure. Thus, it has always been the symbol of purity, nobility, intelligence and wisdom. The lotus also has a strong association with Buddhism

    The lotus flower is often recognized as nature’s perfect creation. The root is in the ground, the stem is in the water, and the leaves and flower are facing the sun. 

    It illustrates the unity of all the elements. 

  4. 4 Plum blossom (梅花 Méi huā)

    Plum Blossoms

    In Chinese culture, the plum blossom is known as the “friend of winter” because it blooms in the winter. Because it blooms in the bitter cold, it symbolizes perseverance, strength, endurance and an unbounded spirit. 


    Painting of plum blossomsPlum blossoms are native to China. They are a popular flower in Chinese art.


  5. 5 Orchid (兰花 Lán huā)


    Orchids

    Chinese people have been cultivating the orchid flower for almost 2000 years. Therefore, it has been loved by the Chinese people since ancient times. 

    Orchids symbolize love and marriage. Their simple yet elegant look gives artists and poets lots of room to express their creativity.


    Painting of orchids

    But these are just five of hundreds of flowers! What is your favorite flower and why? Which one would you send to your loved ones? Let us know below!



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Amie Lin

Amie Lin is currently attending Hunter College double majoring in Mandarin and Media Studies. She is such a foodie and loves Chinese dramas.

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