Humanities › History & Culture Why Is the Chinese Lily Flower so Important? Share Flipboard Email Print Steve Skjold/Getty Images History & Culture Asian History East Asia Basics Figures & Events Southeast Asia South Asia Middle East Central Asia Asian Wars and Battles American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Lauren Mack Journalist M.S., Journalism, Columbia University B.A., Humanities, Florida Atlantic University Lauren Mack is a journalist who covers Chinese culture and history. She studied Mandarin Chinese in Beijing and Taipei and has written for Newsweek International, Elle Girl, and the Chicago Tribune. our editorial process Lauren Mack Updated April 01, 2019 A bouquet of flowers is always a great go-to gift for events big or small or just to brighten up someone's day. A romantic and poetic present, most types of flowers symbolize an idea or theme, such as love, grieving, or congratulations. Like many other flowers in Chinese culture, the lily flower is imbued with meaning. Meaning The lily is often gifted to women on their birthdays or on their wedding day because the flower represents a bringer of sons and, traditionally, Chinese culture favors boys in the family — although that value is changing with every generation. The Chinese lily is also a great present for women on their wedding day and is a good choice for wedding floral arrangements in general. This is because the lily is called 百合 in Chinese, which is pronounced as bǎi hé. Phonetically, these characters are reminiscent of the Chinese proverb, 百年好合 (Bǎinián hǎo hé), which means "happy union for one hundred years." Therefore, the lily, or bǎi hé, is a symbol for a long-lasting and happy marriage. Appearance The Chinese lily flower is a bulb flower that grows up to 4 feet tall. A towering plant, lilies are typically unicolor and have six large petals that taper outward. Uses Besides its metaphorical use, Chinese lilies also have medical use. Dried bulbs can be used in soups to treat intestinal discomfort. When the flower part of the lily is dried, it can be applied to bruises and cuts. Lily flowers are also eaten in the summer to help keep cool and reduce body heat.