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July 27 2011 4 27 /07 /July /2011 08:20

Chinese flower symbolism grows out of China's cultural traditions of Buddhism and Taoism, the lotus being the best expression of this religious element. The rationale behind flower symbolism is that as the flowers bloom, the qualities that they represents bloom in their recipient's life too. Flowers have a variety of meanings, but are often linked with luck and fertility.

Cultural roots


Flowers have a magical quality in Chinese thought. If you receive them and take them into your home, as they bloom, their qualities blossom in you and your home. Gifts of flowers are therefore selected to suit the recipient, and their life. However, the symbolism of Chinese flowers is linked to the religions of Buddhism and Taoism in some instances.


Buddhist influence is present in lotus symbolism. Just as the lotus arises clear and untainted from its muddy roots in pools, so it represents purity and perfection as the Buddhist mind rises above human mediocrity. As Buddha's representative flower, it stands for self-emptying and outward splendour, the true nature of reality.

Hydrangea stands for enlightenment, a key Buddhist concept, along with love and gratitude. You can get lost in your thoughts contemplating hydrangea, so it suggests meditation and higher thinking. You should give hydrangea to the unsung hero in your life as a symbol of his/her versatility and talent.


Taists believe that Yin and Yang permeate all things, which differ only in their degree of each. Chrsysanthemum represents Yang, the feminine principle, corresponding to Yin, the masculine principle. Its feminine side means that it stands for good luck in the home and a life of ease. For the Chinese, luck is important. Other plants are associated with it, such as citron which stands for luck and happiness. For Taoists, peach blossom represents immortality.

Other flowers

Chinese weddings

Several flowers are redolent of femiinity and so are used as wedding flowers. Flowers for weddings include chrysanthemum, and they also include peony, which represents female beauty and fertility. Orchids of any kind represent the flowering of exotic beauty. Other flowers with feminine symbolism include carnation, which is symbolic of marriage and cherry blossom, whose pink, feminine qualities suggest female fertility. The lily is suggestive of innocence. Magnolia suggests a beautiful woman.

Other symbolism

Some of the flowers mentioned above have other meanings. Despite standing for female beauty, peony is said to be the king of flowers and represents nobility and high value. Orchids are also associated with prosperity, while lily is representative of devotion to your mother. Jujube and Kumquat represent prosperity. Narcissus represents hidden talents which blossom through hard work and study, and thus prosperity. Apple blossom suggests positive thoughts.

Lotus Flower at The Getty Villa 051410Fmagnolia

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