What is China’s National Flower?

 OK, so you’re probably wondering why I am taking the time to talk to you about flowers. Well, like I’ve said once or twice before, ESL Job Center wants to send you to your new home with a comprehensive guide to the country. This is why I’ve covered a vast array of subjects, from teaching jobs in Hangzhou and living in Beijing, to China’s National Tree and favorite sport. Is talkin about China’s national flower going too far? Well, maybe. On the otherhand, you might be asked “What is China’s National Flower?” in a pub quiz one day, so read on and find out!

Flowers in China have long been associated with a myriad of meanings and traditions, with some of them even serving as the country’s national symbols. In this article, we’ll explore the the flowers of many provinces of China, discover China’s national flower and other famous flowers in in China, their cultural significance, and their enduring legacy in the country’s rich cultural heritage.

The Peony: China’s National Flower

Peonies are one of China’s most beloved flowers and are widely regarded as the national flower of China. The peony’s cultural significance in China dates back over 2,000 years, and it is considered a symbol of wealth, prosperity, and honor. Known for their beauty, fragrance, and lush blooms, peonies are often referred to as “the king of flowers” in China. The peony’s association with royalty is reflected in its use as a decoration in the imperial palace and other important buildings.

Peonies have a deep cultural significance in China, and they feature prominently in art, literature, and poetry. In ancient times, peonies were often used as a metaphor for female beauty and elegance, and they were associated with romance, love, and marriage. Today, peonies are a popular flower for weddings and other special occasions in China. The city of Luoyang, in Henan Province, is famous for its peony gardens, and the Luoyang Peony Festival is a major event that celebrates the beauty and cultural significance of the flower.

Six lotus flowers on their pads in a pond.

Lotus: The Flower of Enlightenment

The lotus is another iconic flower in China, and it is a symbol of purity, enlightenment, and spiritual awakening. This flower’s cultural significance in China dates back to ancient times. You will even often  see it depicted in Buddhist and Taoist art and literature. Lotus will grow in muddy water, but it rises above the murky depths to bloom in the sunlight, symbolizing the ability to overcome obstacles and achieve enlightenment.

The lotus is widely used in Chinese culture, and it is a popular flower for decorating homes and public spaces. The flower is often used in Chinese New Year celebrations and other important festivals. The lotus’s cultural significance is also reflected in its use as an ingredient in Chinese cuisine. Here it is often used in soups, teas, and other dishes.

Chrysanthemum: The Flower of Longevity

The chrysanthemum is another famous flower in China and is often associated with longevity, health, and happiness. The flower’s cultural significance in China dates back over 2,000 years. The chrysanthemum is a popular flower for decorating homes and public spaces, and it is often used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of ailments.

The chrysanthemum is also a popular flower for festivals and other special occasions in China. The Double Ninth Festival, also known as Chongyang Festival, is a major holiday in China that celebrates longevity and the elderly. During the festival, people often drink chrysanthemum tea and eat chrysanthemum cakes to wish for long life and good health.

Another famous flower in China, the Orchid. This is one purple orchid

Orchid: The Flower of Elegance

The orchid is another famous flower in China and is often associated with elegance, refinement, and beauty. The flower’s cultural significance in China dates back over 3,000 years, and it is regularly found in art, literature, and poetry. The orchid’s delicate beauty and fragrance have made it a popular flower for decoration and gifting.

The orchid is also a popular flower for festivals and other special occasions in China. The Duanwu Festival, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival, is a major holiday in China that celebrates the summer solstice. During the festival, people often display orchids to ward off evil spirits and to bring good luck and fortune.

Plum Blossom: The Flower of Winter

The plum blossom is another famous flower in China and is often associated with winter and perseverance. The flower’s cultural significance in China dates back over 1,000 years, and it is regularlydepicted in art, literature, and poetry. The plum blossom’s delicate beauty and fragrance have made it a popular flower for decoration and gifting.

The plum blossom is unique among Chinese flowers in that it blooms in the winter. This makes it a symbol of perseverance and endurance in the face of adversity. In Chinese culture, the plum blossom is often associated with the Confucian virtues of loyalty, resilience, and moral integrity. These values are highly esteemed in China, and the plum blossom has come to symbolize the strength and resilience of the Chinese people.

The plum blossom is also a popular flower for festivals and other special occasions in China. The flower is often used in traditional Chinese New Year decorations. It is also a popular symbol of winter and the changing of seasons. Plum blossom viewing parties are also held during the winter months. This is where people gather to appreciate the beauty and significance of this unique flower.

In addition to its cultural significance, the plum blossom also has medicinal properties in Chinese medicine. The flower is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and is often used to treat a variety of health conditions.

A white Camellia flower

Camellia: The Flower of Love and Devotion

The camellia is a famous flower in China and is often associated with love, devotion, and passion. The flower’s cultural significance in China dates back over 1,000 years. Such is its significant that it is often depicted in Ancient China’s art, literature, and poetry. The camellia’s lush blooms and vibrant colors have made it a popular flower for decoration and gifting.

The camellia is also a popular flower for weddings and other special occasions in China. In traditional Chinese culture, the camellia symbolizes the love and devotion of a couple. Thanks to this it is often used in wedding ceremonies and other romantic events. The camellia is also a popular flower for tea, and it is often used in Chinese tea ceremonies.

China’s National Flower – Final Thoughts

Flowers have played an important role in Chinese culture for thousands of years. Today they continue to be an integral part of the country’s rich cultural heritage. From the peony, China’s national flower, to the orchid, the flower of elegance, each flower has its unique cultural significance.

Whether decorating homes, public spaces, or used in festivals and special occasions, flowers in China have long been associated with a myriad of meanings and traditions. They have inspired artists, poets, and writers, and have become an integral part of the country’s cultural identity. As the Chinese saying goes, “花开富贵,花落寂寞” (“Flowers bloom in prosperity, and wither in loneliness”). Flowers have come to symbolize the fleeting nature of life and the importance of cherishing each moment.

Tom Bogues

Tom is the Director of ESL Job Center. He has been working in the TEFL industry in one form or another since 2016 and is now using that experience to match quality teachers with quality schools across China.

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