The Enchanting Story of Korea’s National Flower: Mugunghwa

Today, we set off on a delightful journey into the heart of South Korea, exploring the enchanting tale behind the nation’s cherished emblem – Mugunghwa, also known as the Rose of Sharon.

So, grab your virtual passports, and let’s dive into the blooming beauty that graces the landscapes of the Korean Peninsula!

Linguasia The Enchanting Story of Korea's National Flower Mugunghwa

Quick Summary

  • Mugunghwa (Hibiscus syriacus) is Korea’s national flower.
  • Mugunghwa translates to eternal blossom or forever flowering.

What is the national flower of South Korea?

Korea’s national flower is Mugunghwa, a vibrant and resilient flower that has captured the hearts of Koreans for centuries.

Known scientifically as Hibiscus syriacus, this national treasure earned its title due to its symbolic significance and breathtaking aesthetic appeal.

Native to East Asia, Mugunghwa has flourished in the Korean climate, standing tall as a testament to the country’s enduring spirit.

Mugunghwa couldn’t become the national symbol of Korea until after the Japanese colonization era (1910-1945). The suppression of freedom of expression under Japanese rule, hindered the adoption of mugunghwa as a national emblem.

In defiance of their oppression, Koreans planted numerous flowers, symbolizing their desire for independence. It was only after Korean Independence that mugunghwa was officially designated as the national flower.

What does Mugunghwa symbolize?

The Proclamation of Korean Independence
The Proclamation of Korean Independence with Mugunghwa design

Much like a captivating K-drama plot, Mugunghwa comes laden with symbolism.

The name “Mugunghwa” translates to “eternal blossom” or “forever flowering,” reflecting the enduring nature of the Korean people.

In times of adversity, this national flower serves as a reminder of the nation’s resilience and unwavering spirit, blossoming even in the harshest conditions.

What are cultural references containing Mugunghwa?

Once you step into any Korean art gallery or flip through the pages of traditional literature, you’re likely to see Mugunghwa as a recurring motif.

This resilient flower has entrenched itself in Korean culture, symbolizing longevity, purity, and the beauty of the Korean spirit.

It was recognized as a symbol dating back to the Gojoseon Era (Unknown – 108BC), when it held early significance as “a blossom from heaven.” During this period, King Dangun, born from the union of the supreme deity Hwanin and Ungnyeo, a bear transformed into a woman, prominently featured mugunghwa in depictions, emphasizing its celestial importance.

Its presence continued throughout Korean history, notably in the Silla Kingdom (57BC – 935AD), known as the Country of Mugunghwa, and the Goryeo Dynasty (918AD-1392AD), where outstanding civil servants were honored with paper replicas of the flower.

It has also found its way onto various artifacts, including traditional hanbok attire and decorative art pieces, adding a touch of floral elegance to everyday life.

You can even hear it mentioned in a verse in Korea’s national anthem.

What does Mugunghwa look like?

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the sheer beauty of Mugunghwa.

With its large, trumpet-shaped blossoms in shades ranging from delicate pink to deep purple, this flower captivates onlookers and pollinators alike.

Its vibrant hues add a splash of color to the Korean landscape, turning ordinary fields into breathtaking canvases of natural art.

Is there a Mugunghwa festival?

To celebrate the floral marvel of Mugunghwa, Suwon city hosts annual festivals dedicated to this national symbol.

These events showcase the flower’s cultural significance through art exhibitions, traditional performances, photo zones, and, of course, a spectacular display of blooming Mugunghwa in their natural habitat.

It’s a sight to behold, attracting locals and tourists alike to revel in the splendor of this floral spectacle.


As we conclude our journey into the realm of Korea’s National Flower, Mugunghwa, this floral gem is more than just a symbol – it’s a living testament to the resilience, beauty, and enduring spirit of the Korean people.

So, the next time you spot a Mugunghwa in full bloom, take a moment to appreciate the rich cultural tapestry it represents and the natural beauty it adds to the world.


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