Flowers, Fruit, Vegetation, Plants & Nature (A-Z)

Apple

An apple may be perceived from its original Chinese symbol as ‘peace’, due to the the word being pronounced as ping for both apple and peace, even though they are spelt differently.

Apricot

A symbol of success derived from the thought that the imperial examination system within China in ancient times honored their first successful candidates in an apricot grove.

Bamboo

Upright, strong and resilient but with the ability to flex gracefully, this is a plant aligned with Confucian scholars as it shares their attributes. Bamboo also has the ability to protect as, once placed in a fire, the bamboo sounds like firecrackers - enough to scare anyone.

Bran

Symbolising fertility and wealth fu zithis will be found at many Chinese weddings, as when pronounced the word sounds the same as ‘ich son’ thereby wishing the couple children who will become wealthy.

Cabbage

Pronounced the same as oney’ or ealth’ baicaior qingcai , this has come to symbolise wealth.

Calamus

A plant with sword like leaves chang pu , which if hung over doors and gates is believed to protect against disease, misfortune and evil.

Cassia

Beautiful yellow flowers on an evergreen bush gui , representing the desire for many sons who will attain high office or success within the imperial examination system.

Chestnut

An auspicious good luck word liziwhich relates to creating a family.

Chrysanthemum

Being a symbol of the tenth month of the lunar calendar this signifies virtue over adversity ju .

Clouds

The word used for cloud is not dissimilar to that for good luck and therefore has an auspicious meaning xiangyun .

Cypress

The leaves of this tree have traditionally been used at weddings bai .

Date

The date fruit zaoor Chinese Jujube, is pronounced the same as the word for ‘early’ or ‘soon.’ This conveys that something is going to happen soon, because of this dates are often placed on beds of brides. Wood from the date tree was also often used to build beds for children.

Dumplings

Chinese dumplings jiaozican symbolize many different things, for example dumpings stuffed with dates show a hope for the ‘early’ birth of sons. They also resemble a crescent half moon shape and the wish of a year of abundance. The word itself can also be broken down. Jiaozi can have the hidden meaning of the wish for a large family because broken down the word has two meanings jiao"to have sexual intercourse" and zi"son" or "child"

The word dumpling jiaozialso has the same pronunciation of the first paper money jiaoziThis was used during the Song Dynasty in early China.

 

Four Plants of Virtue

Also known as the Four Gentlemen, the Four Plants of Virtue sijunziinclude the orchid, plum, chrysanthemum and bamboo.

The plants each represent one of the seasons. The orchid, spring. The bamboo, summer. The chrysanthemum, autumn and the plum represents winter. Together they represent a year.  The bamboo and the plum together also stand for friendship.

Immortality

Immortality Fungus Lingzhiknown otherwise as the glossy ganoderma, the fungus of immortality grows on trunks and roots of trees. The reason the lingzhi has its name and is associated with longevity is because it does not decay or die like other fungi, instead it becomes woody and can survive for a long time. It was also believed to grow on the "Three Islands of the Immortals".

Longevity Stone

Longevity Stones are odd shaped rocks that are shown next to the Lingzhifungus of immortality on charms. Also, because of their age the convey the meaning of a long life.

Lotus

Buddha is often shown seated on a lotus, the lotus is considered a sacred Buddhist symbol one of Eight Auspicious Symbols It represents detachment from worldly cares 

lianhuaor hehuaare the chinese words for Lotus. Lian also means continuousand he is also the pronunciation for the word harmony"continuous harmony" can also be a meaning for the Lotus.  Shown together A lotus stem & lotus pod symbolize marital harmony and sexual union.  Lotus seeds lianzi   represent a hidden meaning of "continuous birth of children" because the lian sounds like "continuous"  The zi has the same pronunciation as ziwhich is the word for son or child zi . As seen above on this page.

Moon

Often "moon" or "crescent" is a symbol which is found on old Chinese coins. Also according to Chinese mythology, the Three-Legged Toad lives on the moon and according to Daoist legend, the "Moon Hare" "Jade Rabbit" that makes the elixir of immortality lives on the moon.

Mountain

Because of their expanse & height they convey the meaning of limitless. Mountains shanare the places closest to the gods.

Mugwort

Also known as artemisia leaf, Mugwort aiis a member of the Eight Treasures. because of its medicinal properties, It is a symbol for longevity. In ancient china, mugwort was attached to doors and gates, Its aroma is also believed to repel insects and its leaves resemble tiger paws, this was believed to provide protection.

Onion

The onion congsignifies intelligence, it has the same pronunciation as the word for "intelligent" or "clever" congming 

Orange

Because of their gold color, Oranges symbolize good fortune aswell as riches. The chinese character for the orange is juwhich is includes jimeaning "lucky or auspicious" and mu , meaning "tree". These two components of the character imply that the orange is a "good luck" fruit.

Orchid

One of the Four Gentlemen the orchid stands for beauty, humility, refinement and modesty.

Osmanthus

The blossom Osmanthus guican mean "honor" or "precious" It is pronounced the as the word "valuable" or "precious".

Peach

The peach taohas many meanings and symoblizes marriage, justince and specifially Daoist immortality longevity. It also signifies the second month of the lunar calendar.  The peach is one of the Three Plenties Three Abundances.  Peach wood was also used to make many important items such as amulets, arrows and swords in ancient China. This is because the word peach is pronounced the same and the chinese word for ‘run away’ and ‘flee’

Peanut

The peanut huashengsymbolizes the wish for many children it is an opportune symbol, its second character shengmeans to "give birth".

Pearl

The pearl has a resmblance to the moon and is often shown with flames, these signify magic and may represent the wish-granting pearl of buddhism. 

Dragons are often shown chasing a "pearl" or jewel object. It may be seen as a metaphor for enlightenment or perfection.  The dragon and pearl symbolizes an endless cycle of transformation.  As a dragon devours the pearl, it is seen as a waning moon. As a dragon regurgitates the pearl, more and more of the pearl can be seen and the pearl then appears as a waxing moon.  Other meanings can refer to pure intentions and riches, the flaming pearl is also one of the Eight Treasures.

Peony

Firstly a peonyin a vase pinghas the hidden meaning of "wealth and honor" and "peace" pingan.

The tree peony or mudansymbolizes longevity, happiness, eternal beauty and loyalty. It also signifies the 3rd month of the lunar calendar due to it often growing as doubles, the peony appears to the Chinese like strings of cash coins and therefore has come to symbolize prosperity and wealth. Because of this another name for the peony is fuguihuawhich means "flower of wealth and honor". A charm using the peony as a symbol for "wealth and honor" may be seen at Auspicious Inscriptions.

Persimmon

The persimmon shiis opportune because of its orange colour and round shape. The persimmon is as a visual pun rebus as it has the same pronunciation as the word for "matters, affairs or events" shi . Persimmon is also the word for an "official" or "gentleman" shi .

Pine

The pine tree songis a common symbol for longevity. This is because it can endure severw winters and is an evergreen. The pine is also a member of the Three Friends in Winter and represents solitude. Pine can also offer protection when planted near graves, this is due to the mythical creature Wang Xiang , who devours the brains of the dead is afraid of pine.

Plum

The plum meisymbolizes hope and courage, it blossoms first and bravely stands against the dangers of winter before others. The plum also signifies the first month of the lunar calendar and is a member of the ‘Three Friends of Winter’

The plum blossom has five petals and symbolizes the "five blessings" wufu , also known as the "five happinesses" or "five good fortunes". These five blessings refer to virtue , longevity , wealth , healthand to die a natural death in old age.

Pomegranate

The pomegranate shiliuis a member of the Three Abundances Three Plenties. The pomegranate has many seeds and this represents fertility, offspring and descendants. It also signifies the sixth month of the lunar calendar. The pomegranate is an important symbol in Chinese marriages.

The first character shiis pronounced the same as the word for "generations" shiand therefore strengthens the meaning as generations of descendants.

Pumpkin

The pumpkin nangua   symbolizes the wish for sons because it sounds like "boy" nan .

Star

Stars have a relationship with moon, cloud, and dragon symbols. "Stars" or dots are sometimes found on ancient Chinese coins.

Willow

Its branches were and were used in exorcisms and in "sweeping tombs" during the Qingming Festivalor "Festival of the Tombs" The branches are considered magical. During the festival young men wore green willow branches in their hair in the belief that it would prevent them from being changed into a brown dog in a future existence.

Because of similarity in pronunciation to the Chinese word "to part" li , willow branches also represent parting, since they were traditionally given to friends departing for distant lands. The willow is also associated with the life of scholars and poets who drew inspiration while strolling among them.