Plum Flower: Meaning, Symbolism, and Colors:

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Plum flowers are beautiful, pale pinkish flowers that are found in the Asian continent. Plum flowers or Plum blossoms are flowers of the Prunus mume tree species. These blossoms are common in the East Asian countries of China, Japan, and Korea as well as the Southeast Asian country of Vietnam. As a result, these flowers are also known as Chinese Plum, Japanese Plum, and Japanese Apricot. Plum Blossoms are an integral part of the cultures of these countries. They are often subjects of art and literature. Plum blossoms are also part of traditional cuisine and medicine.

The Prunus mume species originated on the banks of the Yangtze River in China over three thousand years ago and has been part of Chinese culture for centuries. From China, they were later introduced to countries of Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. The plum flowers start to bloom during the mid-winter months and are seen till the early spring months, typically till late February. Plum flowers have a strong fragrance. They come in a variety of shades of white, pink, and red color. These flowers are known by different names in these countries. In China, they are called Meihua while in Japan, they are called Ume, and in Korea as Maesil.

The scientific name of Prunus mume was given by German botanist Philipp Franz von Siebold in 1828. He brought the species from Japan to Holland in 1841 and later brought it to The United States of America in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. In the 1920s, Walter Bosworth Clarke, a Californian nursery owner who specialized in ornamental trees and shrubs, introduced several varieties of these blossoms to the United States of America. Today Prunus mume has over 300 varieties out of which most are Chinese varieties and some are Japanese varieties. The Chinese varieties include Zhizhimei Lei, Jiangmei Xing, Gongfen Xing, etc., and the Japanese varieties include yabai, hibai, and bungo types. These varieties are identified based on the form and color of the flowers.

What Do Plum Flowers Symbolize?

Plum Flowers are beautiful, ornamental flowers that are part of the gardens of east Asian countries. These flowers that bloom during the bleak, snowy winter months are like a ray of hope reminding us that spring is coming soon.

Plum Flower’s meaning and symbolism are mainly derived from the flowers’ blooming habitat. Plum flowers bloom during the late winter months and early spring months. They are part of two seasons. Therefore, plum flowers’ meaning is closely related to perseverance and hope.

Plum flowers meaning is deeply rooted in Chinese and Japanese cultural history. Since they proclaim the coming of spring and the flowers bloom beautifully in the winter months, they are symbols of perseverance. The plum flowers also mean hope as the flowers provide us with hope for a new year. On the same note, plum flowers’ meaning is also related to wealth, joy, health, purity, and renewal.

In Chinese culture, plum blossoms are very important. For them, the five petals of the plum flowers mean the Five Blessings of old age, wealth, health, love of virtue, and natural death. In Japanese culture, plum flowers are considered to ward off evil. So they are planted in every household to prevent evil from entering the houses. In Japan, plum flowers meaning is associated with vitality, hope, and renewal.

What do the Various Colors of Plum Flowers Mean?

Plum flowers come in colors of white, yellow, and shades of pink and red. Each plum flower color has its own meaning associated with it. The meanings associated with the varieties of plum flower colors are given as follows:


Plum Blossom, Flowers, Bee, Insect

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White plum flowers are a common plum flower variety found in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. The white plum flowers meaning is associated with purity.


Cherry Blossoms, Sakura, Pink Flowers

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The pink plum flower variety is the most common variety of plum flowers found in these regions. The color pink has a meaning that is related to that of love and attraction. Therefore, the pink plum flowers’ meaning is closely related to that of affection and love.


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Yellow-colored varieties of plum blossom flowers are less common compared to the pink and white-colored plum flowers. Yellow flowers symbolize joy and yellow-colored plum flowers’ meaning is that of joy.


Japanese Quince, Plum, Blooms, Blossom

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The red-colored plum flowers are mostly flowers with a dark pinkish to red color. The red color in Chinese culture is a symbol of prosperity and wealth. The red-colored plum flowers’ meaning is closely associated with wealth and prosperity.

Interesting Facts and Characteristics of Plum Flowers:

  • Plum blossom flower is the national flower of the People’s Republic of China.
  • The oldest plum tree that still flowers is found in the Huangmei county in Hubei province. The tree is 1,600-year-old that dates back to the Jin Dynasty.
  • Plum blossom flowers are edible and are used in East Asian cuisines. In Korea, plum flowers are used to make tea.
  • Plum flowers as well as their fruits were used in ancient Chinese medicine.
  • In China, the plum flowers were most popular during the Tang dynasty.
  • In ancient China, women used forehead markings in the shape of plum flowers as part of their makeup.
  • In Chinese culture, the plum flowers are considered part of the four noble plants, along with orchid, bamboo, and chrysanthemum.

Plum trees are ornamental trees that are grown in most households. Their beauty has inspired many great works of art including paintings and poems. The view of plum flowers in full bloom during the harsh winter months is calming to the minds and souls of people. Therefore, many people in East Asian countries spend time watching plum blossoms and having picnics under the trees. They also bring hope and joy to the people as the plum flowers’ meaning is associated with that purity, revival, hope, vitality, and perseverance. Plum trees require less maintenance once they are planted and have a long lifetime, making them a great addition to your garden.