Some hints on how to select

Considerations based on availability level of formality, balance room and tokonoma style of chaji occasion toriawase kaiseki season (ro: fuyu, haru= tree flowers; furo: natsu, aki= grass flowers) ignore all the above and just put in what you can find sasa, susuki, hime uri

In contrast to all other man-made utensils, the flowers bring into the tearoom a feeling of naturalness = essence of Nature freshness of dew even essence of life; beauty of “only now”
seperation from outside world; deep mountain / forest fastness the teishu’s heart/mind/answer to koan. Zengo leaves a big impression “Hana wa ashi de ikeru= chabana should be put in with the feet”- Grow or search for your own, within legal limits strong / weak flowers; should last a day but only a day or seem delicate not too rare nor weeds that grow just anywhere natural species or ancient variants not showy hybrids cut only what you will use as gift- give more; be sure they are not too open arrange in mind (without planning how it must look) first in hand, then vase the flowers actually “arrange” themselves reflect your emotions / feelings of the moment “Hana wa no ni aru yo ni==Flowers should be as they are in the field.” This does not mean dirty, broken, or old bug-eaten leaves ok this does not mean that if it is blooming, it is “in season” esp. at ro/furo season change; karui-zaki- “Insane blooming” not pleasant-ok only at nagori the hana represents the essence of all hana, all Nature at that moment, SO should be pure, natural, and spare like the Noh- shite (main actor) and waki (support + maybe ai-kyogen)

In summer the flowers are more numerous in varieties and small, petite, open spaces suggest coolness in Winter, a single camillia (with live, budding branch), suggest future and freshness
flowers should lean forward, to welcome guests; or as if guests are the sun buds about to open, during chaji ok; potential

exceptions- mukuge, fuyo, morning glories, etc. completely open balanced with leaves
“always” has own leaves never use just leaves or different leaves in summer, exc susuki; teriha or even bare branch in winter ok in combination with tsubaki must balance in vase, not flip over; fronts to guests small flowers-better balance usually few 1-2-3-5; in late summer, up to 11
in different states of bloom and bud; never dead, exc lotus for memorial, Butsu-ji and branch for paeony odd numbers of flowers, buds, leaves long enough stem seeming single point of exit; from point of view right side up, facing front, not bottom of tree, dipping branch can be problem

color combinations:

avoid yellow /white except for funeral or memorial
except natural, long time ok-ed, eg-suisen,
too close shades and tones- pink/pink
white/white ok at night
if red and white, white should be on top, bud over open

Things to avoid generally:

bending, pruning, cutting, wiring, rubber bands, sticks in mouth of vase
stiff, formal or unnatural appearance
great clumsiness and skillfullness
bad names- bad image-kohone (river bones)
worldly reference-gold coins
showy hybrids-
strong colors
strong smell-exc. ume, suisen [if you must, after 20 years of experience; don’t use ko]
bad smell- skunk cabbage
flowers used for garden, backdrop, mass blooming, landscape, etc. eg.ÅF sakura, momiji, tsutsuji, sasanka; exc. yanagi, susuki
poison- exc torikabuto
fruit, food potential-exc. ume, peach; exc medicinal
seeds, exc. at nagori
fruit, exc. nagori-akebi,
(hidden) thorns, exc. hamanasu, azami
crowded buds and flowers; thin skillfully SO one of each phase
fours in leaves, flowers, except when that is the natural number-eg. suisen, futari shizuka
seasonless flowers
too common, weedish


8. Concerning flowers that should not be used in arrangements for chanoyu, there are the doggerel verses:

hanaire ni irezaru hana wa chinchoge 沈丁花 miyama shikimi太山樒

keitou no hana 鶏頭

Among flowers banned from the flower vase are sweet daphne (D. odora), mountain anise (Illicium religiosum), and cockscomb ( ).

ominaeshi 女郎花 zakuro 柘榴 kobone 河骨 kinsenka 金盞花 senreika 仙藜花  o mo kirau narikeri

Patrina (P. scabiosafolia), pomegranate ( ), candock (Nuphar japonicum), marigold (Calendula arvensis), and balsam ( ) are likewise rejected.



kiku 菊
tsubaki 椿 (camillia)- shiratama 白玉, akebono 曙, yabu 藪, wabisuke 侘介, ad infinit / or /out eda 枝 (branch)- teriha 照葉; mansaku 万作, hashibami 榛, mizuki 水木, etc.
kan botan 寒牡丹 (peony) used with “dead” branch
ume 梅 (plum)- hakubai 白梅, kobai 紅梅; robai 蝋梅; Jan, Feb
yanagi 柳 (willow)- unryu 雲竜, neko 猫,
suisen 水仙 (narcissus)- from Nov-Dec; first flowers below leaves then slowly flowers get longer; after snow, can bend leaves.
momo 桃 (peach)- March
nanohana 菜の花 (canola)- Tenjin and Rikyu, Feb, March
grass flowers- baimo 貝母, shunran 春蘭

botan 牡丹 (peony); shakuyaku 芍薬 (herbaceous)
tessen 鉄線 (clematis)
ran (orchid)- Kumagai-SO 熊谷草, shiran 紫蘭; ebine 海老根蘭
(iris) shobu 菖蒲, ayame 菖蒲, kakitsubata 杜若
yuri 百合 (lily) –

ajisai 紫陽花 (hydrangea)-
tora no o
late summer:

mukuge 木槿 (althea)-Sotan, Gion-mamori,
asagao 朝顔 (morning glory)
fuyou 芙蓉 (rose mallow)
mizuhiki 水引 (smart weed)-

hototogisu 杜鵑 (toad lily)-purple, blue, yellow, white
kiku 菊 (chrysanthemum)-Kibune-giku, shuumei-giku (JPN anemone)
seven grasses- susuki 薄/芒 (miscanthus), kikyo 桔梗 (bell flower), ominaeshi 女郎花 (patrinia), kuzu 葛 (kudzu), nadeshiko 撫子 (fringed pink), hagi 萩 (bush clover),

Traditional / symbolic use

Shogatsu(1/1-15)-musubi yanagi, akebono tsubaki, uguisu kagura 鶯神楽; ha-botan 葉牡丹, kan botan 寒牡丹
momo no sekku (3/3)- peach
Urasenke Rikyu-ki (3/28) – nanohana
tango no sekku(5/5)- shobu, Kumagai-so
tanabata (7/7)-kajinoha 梶の葉,
Joyo(9/9)- kiku
robiraki (11/1)- shira tama tsubaki
seki biraki- only white, NO red
weddings, congratulatory- white and red (tsubaki, )
funeral, close memorial- yellow, yellow and white; dried lotus flowers, leaves, seed pod
shuchu no meigetsu = tsukimi- susuki, kibunegiku 貴船菊, shumeigiku 秋明菊
Purities of chabana Pure (washed) flowers and leaves; pure vase, cut bamboo ; pure water in it; pure heart to put them in; pure dew to referesh them

TSUYU 露 dew sprinkled on flowers to give a live and fresh feeling. May be applied with chasen splashed on, dipping flowers in water before placing them in vase or by spraying with kirifuki 霧吹. Wetting wall ok if its your house and real tsuchi-kabe; otherwise, avoid In summer it suggests coolness; in winter it suggests freshness

By kirifuki or chasen or dip; flowers, vase, basket; wall (depending on construction) lacquer board may be left sprayed if nice pattern (fine) kiji board should be soaked / wrapped in wet towel for several minutes before displaying


Historically speaking chabana came in part from Zen altar settings featuring 3-5 image(s) on scrolls, flower vases on left and right outer flanks, candle sticks on the inner flanks, centered on an incense burner with its kogo incense container in front, like thisÅF {{

3-5 images on scrolls
flower incense burner flower candle kogo/ dogu candle
on altar table

By gradually decreasing the paraphanelia-windows for light, putting the kogo into sumitori, and the ko directly into sumi (furo = koro) fire and seperating scroll and flower, we have the scroll representing the Buddha as an intellectual concept and the single vase of flowers left in the middle also representing Buddha as a natural. This is one reason we avoid unpleasantly strong smells, poisonous flowers, or thorns and emphasize the evanescence of life by using flowers which only last a day.

Kokoro no fumi, “Otazune no Koto”ÅF by Murata Juko- “Arrange flowers as befits the room, with an air of lightness… The utensils used should be appropriate to the person’s age- to old and young respectively.”

Namporoku, Tachibana Jitsuzan “recreating” Rikyu: 7. Concerning the flowers for a small room, it is always best to arrange one or two stems of a single variety, with lightness of touch. Of course, it is alSO permissible to arrange them SO that they have a soft fullness, depending on the flower. In its fundamental intent, however, chanoyu rejects favoring solely the spectacle of flowers. When the room size increases to four-and -a half mats, two varieties may be used, depending on what they are.

9. It had been a long maintained custom to shun the display of flowers in the night gathering, but Joo and Rikyu, upon close consideration, decided it permissible, depending upon the flower. Colorful flowers are on the whole unusable, but white flowers are not unpleasant. A wide variety of flowers may be adopted…In using flowers for celebrative gatherings, one must give this matter special attention.

28. For the flower container in a small room, a length of bamboo, basket or gourd is best. A metal vase is generally most appropriate for the four-and-a-half mat room; depending upon the circumstances, one may also be used in a small room. Rikyu’s flowers (from Tennojiya, Sokyu, Kamiya; (by way of Mori Tomio, Shosetsu Chabana Zufu)+Matsuya kaiki): Winter:

tsubaki-173+75; Tsu-173

willow-30+12; Tsu-30
ume-143+51; Tsu-147
suisen-57+37; Tsu-57
momo-13+3ÅF T
kaido (aronia-malus)-6+2

kakitsubata-6 (shobu-2)+iris-6
sekichiku (nadeshiko)-24+2

kiku-71+36 (winter & spring); Tsu-71
+asaji (cogon grass)-7
Rikyu flower stories: utensils

Tsuru no hitokoe (issei)- water only
mimi; Jo-o knock off one ear
Shoan said, no board for basket?

Hideyoshi’s “test” ÅF plums in basin
Rikyu’s “test” ÅF asagao- removed all from garden
hime uri- nothing else available
karatachi-thorns; “leave for china= win in china”
as guest, hana in chiriana
” “, recognized Ikenobo Senko’s flowers
hana shomo-Hideyoshi