Magnolias are especially prized in China, where they carry powerful symbolic meaning.
In Chinese culture, the magnolia flower is a traditional symbol of feminine beauty. Historically, the trees from which magnolias blossomed were all deemed the property of the emperor, and if he gave a magnolia tree to one of his subjects as a gift, it was regarded as a sign of great favor. The name for magnolia in Chinese is ‘mulan’, and this gives the plant an association with the famous female warrior from Chinese legend. Popularized by the 1998 Disney movie of the same name, Mulan was a woman who donned armor and went into battle disguised as a man.
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