What’s in a name? Rose?

What’s in a name? That which we call a méi guī (玫瑰) by any other Chinese name would not sound as sweet.

There are more than three Chinese names associated with the general term rose: 

  • 玫瑰 (méi guī)
  • 薔薇 (qiáng wēi)
  • 月季 (yuè jì)

If you type these (玫瑰, 薔薇, 月季) into Google Translate, you’ll get rose, rose, and rose.

Most rose species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwestern Africa. Some experts say Rosa chinensis, commonly known as Chinese rose, is the class of rose upon which modern roses were built. Rosa chinensis is technically 月季 (yuè jì), but many people prefer the name 玫瑰 (méi guī) because it sounds better. 

If one wants to get to the nitty-gritty, there are differences among 玫瑰 (méi guī), 薔薇 (qiáng wēi), and 月季 (yuè jì) roses. But for all general intents and purposes, people just want to call it 玫瑰 (méi guī).


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