|Cinnamomum cassia; Guangxi Autonomous Region (abbrev.)|
flower; blossom; to spend
flower; blossom; to spend; fancy pattern
Adaptation of 桂 (guì) to distinguish the osmanthus from the 肉桂 (ròuguì, “cassia; Chinese cinnamon”).
- 木樨 (mùxī)
|Kanji in this term|
- 桂華 (rare)
*/kweːkwa/ → /keːkwa/ → /keːka/
From Middle Chinese compound 桂花 (kueiH xwæ, literally “cassia; osmanthus + flower”). Compare modern Min Nan reading kùi-hoe.
- sweet osmanthus
- the flowers of the sweet osmanthus
The term 桂花 is generally reserved for compounds. The tree and the flowers are usually distinguished within Japan between the white-blossoming 銀木犀 (ginmokusei, “silver osmanthus”) and the orange-blossoming 金木犀 (kinmokusei, “gold osmanthus”), with the latter being more popular.
- 金木犀 (kinmokusei): gold osmanthus
- 銀木犀 (ginmokusei): silver osmanthus
- 木犀 (mokusei): Osmanthus fragrans in general
From a Chinese legend that the phases of the moon were caused by kei trees (桂, general name for Lauraceae and other fragrant trees), which would bud, blossom, then drop their flowers and leaves again as if in accelerated seasons. Literally, “kei flower”, likening the phases of the moon to the budding and blooming of the trees.
- (euphemistic) the moon
- ^ 1988, 国語大辞典（新装版） (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan