Extra Tiles

Flowers and Seasons

In the popular (and early classical) Mah Jong the tile set is often extended by eight extra tiles: four Flowers and four Seasons (sometimes called just Flowers). In certain rules (especially in China) only the four Flower tiles are used. Often the extra tiles are depicted by four flowers (Plum, Orchid, Chrysanthemum and Bamboo) and four seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), but it is also common that all eight tiles are represented by flowers, or virtually by any picture the engraver or designer of the tile set thought was appropriate.

Flowers and Seasons are not used in tile combinations: when received, they are immediately melded (exposed and put aside though in some rules the tiles are placed on table face down) and replaced with a regular tile. Each extra tile is associated with a wind as follows (the numbers indicate the wind in the order East, South, West and North):

Flowers: "Plum" (East), "Orchid" (South), "Chrysanthemum" (West) and "Bamboo" (North).

Seasons: "Spring" (East), "Summer" (South), "Autumn" (West) and "Winter" (North).

Flowers and Seasons earn extra points, and having a Flower or Season of the player's own wind (and in some rules, a Flower or Season of the prevailing wind) usually doubles the value of the hand. Since receiving of extra tiles is a pure matter of luck, many experienced players exclude them from the game, thus accentuating the role of skill. For more information, see Extra and special tiles – Flowers and Seasons, and Scoring – Bonus for Flowers and Seasons.


In modern American Mah Jong (and occasionally also in modern Asian Mah Jong) jokers are used. As in poker, jokers may normally be used to replace any tile, though in Four Winds you can restrict the use of jokers in several ways. For more information, see Extra and special tiles – Jokers.

Related topics:
Goal of the game
Regular tiles
Regular pace of the game
Declaring a melded Kong
Declaring a concealed Kong
Robbing a Kong
Declaring Ready
Going out
Deal ends in a Draw
Faulty declaration of Out