Blessed with rich soil and good climate, China is home to a multitude of flower varieties. Many flowers have been existed since ancient times and continue to be cultivated until the present days.
The Chinese culture also believes that some particular flowers convey different messages and symbolism that can be associated with everyday’s lives.
20 Chinese flowers with its traditional meaning are listed in the following.
Table of Contents
Narcissus is one of the flowers native to China which grows largely in many regions. This flower is mainly cultivated in Fujian, Zhejiang, and several other regions. The Chinese name of narcissus is translated as “water goddess”. According to Chinese culture and legend, Narcissus is believed to have some magical power that can expel evil spirits.
For centuries, Chinese has favored lotus as a valued flower. There is even the term called “Lotus culture” which refers to the high appreciation of lotus flowers. Chinese sees lotus as a symbol of purity and long life. This flower is also valued for its humble and honorable quality.
In China, the leaves and leaf buds of camellia are usually used to make tea. Meanwhile, the plant can be grown in the garden or the flower pots. Camellia is largely found in Yunnan Province and some watercourse areas, such as Yangtze and Pearl River Basin.
Orchid is often associated with the ancient Chinese philosopher, Confucius. In the book of Chinese flower meanings, this flower is believed to symbolize nobility, integrity, and friendship. All of them represent the quality of cultured scholars and gentlemen.
Although it is not officially declared, most people in China see peony as the national flower. The flower symbolizes honor, wealth, and prosperity—which are highly valued by Chinese culture. Every year, between April and May, a peony festival is always held in Luoyang region.
Blooming in the winter, plum blossom symbolizes strength and endurance. A Chinese poem even describes plum blossom fragrance as “the flower that comes from coldness and bitterness”. This flower inspires Chinese people always to have determined spirit and inner strength.
In the past, Magnolia was considered the most precious flower. This flower can only be owned by Chinese emperors and the royal family. Although the flower is not as exclusive as it was back then, Magnolia is still used to symbolize beauty and high value.
Chrysanthemum is one of the most popular Asian flowers which come from China. Blooming in the late fall, this flower represents elegance and nobility. The qualities and natural beauty of chrysanthemum have been depicted in numerous poems and paintings since ancient times.
In Chinese culture, Hibiscus is popularly known as the symbol of fame, glory, and splendor. This flower is considered a universal gift for everyone. Those who receive a bouquet of hibiscus flowers are wished to have personal glory and admiration.
Lily belongs to the ceremonial Chinese flowers as it is used in many celebrations, including wedding, birthday, and anniversary. According to Chinese culture, lily is considered a good luck charm that can bring sons to the new family.
Azalea is a native flower of Anhui, Guizhou, and Jiangxi Provinces. Due to its colorful blossoms, the azalea is seen as a symbol of happiness and prosperity that can spark one’s life passion. The flower usually blooms in spring, but its blooming petals only last several weeks.
Osmanthus is one of many Chinese flowers used in herbal or flower tea. It is often combined with black or green tea leaves to create a scented tea of gui hua cha. The flower gives the tea a strong flavor and makes it more delicious.
Daffodil flowers in Chinese culture represent reunion. For that reason, this flower is usually used as a decoration during the Chinese New Year. The soft white petals and bright yellow center of daffodil are an invitation to bring back a family together.
Beijing and about 50 other cities in China claim Chinese rose as their city flower. For this reason, Chinese rose, or Rosa chinensis is often regarded as “the queen of flowers”. The flower blooms all year round and comes in various colors, including white, red, and yellow.
The water lily is one of the most honored flowers in China. The flowers of this aquatic plant are often used for ornaments or home decorations. The popular Chinese flower, lotus, is a member of the water lily family.
Another Chinese flower that can be used for the ornamental purpose in rhododendron. This evergreen flowering plant has showy, bell-shaped blossoms which grow in clusters. The leathery leaves of rhododendron are also used as additional decorations.
Gardenia is one of the Chinese flowers which are valued for its fragrance. The flower has large petals in white or yellow shades. Meanwhile, its fragrance smells soft and pleasant. Gardenia grows in small trees or shrubs and can be easily planted in the garden.
Chinese jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) grows in sprawling vines or shrubs with glossy green leaves and shiny white blossoms. This flower is usually planted in the border or entryway to welcome visitors with its elegant scent. In Asian cultures, jasmine is often regarded as the symbol of purity.
Native to the land of the divine, Trichosanthes kirilowi is largely found in Shanxi, Hebei, Henan, and Shandong. This flowering plant is used in some traditional Chinese medicines. It is also listed as one of the fundamental herbs in China. Chinese people believe that the chemical components of Trichosanthes kirilowi can expel body toxins.
Another pretty blossom on the list of Chinese flowers is annual aster (Callistephus chinensis). This flower is also known as China aster or aster peony. As the name suggests, annual aster blooms annually from early summer to fall. It belongs to the large flowering plant that can reach up to the height of 12 to 36 inches.