The word for 'chrysanthemum,' jú (菊), is pronounced similarly to the word jiǔ (久), meaning 'forever.’ This flower blooms in late autumn and through the winter despite the bitter cold, making it an emblem of longevity. The word also sounds like 'nine', jiǔ (九), and therefore is associated with the ninth month, said to be the best time to pick the flowers. A drawing of chrysanthemum and nine quails conveys the sentiment 'may nine generations live under one roof in peace’, jiǔ shì tong jū (九世同居).


Vivien Sung, Five-Fold Happiness: Chinese Concepts of Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness and Wealth, pp.144-145, Chronicle Books, 2002