Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Vocabulary: Chinese New Year Flowers and Plants

Wondering what flowers to buy for the Chinese New Year? I guess you have much better idea than I do. But do you know the names of these flowers in English? Remember to remind curious at all time and you will learn more!

Here is a list of names which might be useful to you:

Fresh, aqueous and sweet fragrant flower that symbolises prosperity, wealth and good fortune[1,2]. Often sold in pots with water, or simply bulbs. Apply warm water to the bulb and blossoms will bloom.
Image from made-in-china
Flowers of Chinese plum, ume or Japanese apricot. Each flower has five petals with colours ranging from white to rose to deep red. It symbolises luck.[1]
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Peach Flowers
The fruit symbolises longevity[4], but the flower symbolises chances of love and good relationships. The flower looks very much like plum blossom, but the stigmas (tip of the style) are smaller than those of plum blossoms and the petals are overlapping each other in this case.
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Orchid being a common term, Phalaenopsis or simply Phal is the most welcomed type of orchid in the Hong Kong local markets, and of course, in Thailand. They like moist and hate direct sunshine. Most are epiphyte (grow on another tree but non-parasitic), a few are lithophyte (grow in or on rocks).[5]
Image from

Symbolises prosperity due to its name in Chinese. Fruits can be preserved in salt or sugar and it is commonly believed to be a remedy of sore throat as it helps to fight infections in the throat and dissolve phlegm.[6]
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Not only are they the symbol of respect to the ancestors, they also have a wide variety of medicinal properties, including anti-HIV-1, antibacterial and antimycotic (antifungal).[7 ] In Chinese medicine, they are also good for the eyes -- "clear the eyes".
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bulb -- a round root of some plants from which the plant grows
bloom -- When a flower blooms, it opens or is open, and when a plant or tree blooms it produces flowers
longevity -- living for a long time
epiphyte -- (of plants) grow on another tree but non-parasitic
lithophyte --(of plants) grow in or on rocks
parasitic -- caused by or connected with a parasite, which is an animal or plant that lives on or in another animal or plant of a different type and feeds from it
phlegm -- a thick substance in your nose and throat that is produced especially when you have a cold
antimycotic -- antifungal