The Chinese word chrysanthemum and the word for forever are homonymns. Because the flower blooms in the fall, and often lasts through the winter, chrysanthemums are a symbol of longevity. The pronunciation of the word for 'nine' is also similar to the pronunciation of 'chrysanthemum' -- thus, a depiction of the flower with nine quail conveys the phrase 'May Nine Generations Live Under One Roof in Peace."