Trees have great significance in the world of Chinese symbolism.
The cinnamon tree is another tree plant that carries strong symbolism. It has smooth leaves and super bright yellow flowers when blooming in season. But it’s nowhere as close in popularity as some others.
Yet it is still a tree that is highly revered in Chinese culture.
The Chinese cinnamon tree is also known as the cassia tree that blooms during the eighth month of the lunar calendar. It has yang properties and fire energy. The mandarin name is 桂皮 pronounced as gui pi. The word 桂 is a homonym for 贵 which means nobility and highly valued.
It is believed to symbolize perpetual personal growth due to folklore.
When depicted with peach blossoms, it represents longevity and personal growth.
When displayed with the date tree, it symbolizes a wish for promotion in government office.
When depicted with seeds, it carries the meaning of being blessed with sons who will do well in a career in civil service. It can sometimes also appear with symbols of fertility to carry the same meaning.
Sprigs of cassia can sometimes be seen in the hands of children in the 100 children painting. This symbolizes the passing of state examinations to attain high positions in government office.
In TCM, it is used as a herbal remedy to treat conditions related to the spleen, bladder and kidneys.
Legend of cinnamon tree
There is a mythical cinnamon tree that is said to have taken root at the garden of the moon palace.
A man names Wu Gang (吳剛) was banished to the moon after offending spirits to cut down the magical cinnamon tree. Once he got there, he got down to work. But to his amazement, the speed at which the tree grows and regenerate made it simply impossible to cut down. Any progress he made would be negated the next day as the tree grew back to it’s original form.
Paired with a hare in artwork, it is meant to be a reference to the moon palace. The hare being a representation of the moon due to it’s association in legend. The furry creature is sometimes seen grinding on the elixir of immortality.
Another legend goes with the story line that the cassia tree which spouts osmanthus flowers on the moon grows constantly that if it’s not cut down every one thousand years, it would put the whole moon in it’s shadows.
The cinnamon twig is also a commonly used item in TCM and Taoist rituals.
Lu Ban (鲁班) who is probably best known today as the creator of the feng shui ruler stated in a manual that embedding a leaf of this tree in the bracket of a house would bring scholastic success to the residents.
As the cinnamon tree symbolizes personal growth, it is best placed in the Sheng Chi and Fu Wei sectors as described in 8 mansions feng shui.
If you are keeping a small one that is easily manageable, then it might also be suitable for a corner space in the meditation room as one of your spiritual plants.