Macao and the Nobly, Elegant Lotus

National/State Flower Series – East Asia 7 – Macau Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China – Nelumbo Nucifera

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“Nelumbo nucifera, known by a number of names including Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, or simply lotus, is one of two species of aquatic plant in the family Nelumbonaceae. ……… This plant is an aquatic perennial. Under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in North Eastern China. (Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelumbo_nucifera)”

Nelumbo Nucifera is  the “state flower” for Macao Special Administrative Regions of People’s Republic of China. Beside Macao, India and Vietnam are also using this flower as national flower. But that should not be confused with Bangladesh’s national flower, water lily (睡莲)which belong to the family of Nymphaea.

Species Information

Scientific name:

Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn

Family: Nelumbonaceae
Common name(s): Lotus
Chinese name: 古莲,莲花,荷花, 芙蓉

Lotus is a perennial aquatic plants with a long history and apparently is a leader in the midsummer seasonal flowers. In the heat of summer waves, pools were full of green lotus leaves that waved slowly and its flowers were emitting a fragrance resembling fragrance from the bathing beauties. Hence, In Chinese,  lotus were also called “gentlemen flowers 花中君子” or “flowers of beautiful ladies 花中美人”

  Pic courtesy of www.micefinder.com

Macau and lotus

  • A dike north of Macau which connects to Zhua Hai and Lianfeng San was said to look like a lotus stem. Therefore, in ancient times, Macau was described as a lotus that floats in the open sea and at times being called a lotus island. Due to its unique shapes, Macao people believed that Macau was the reincarnation of a lotus flower and called Macau as the land of the treasure lotus (“莲花宝地“)。
  • Macao people loves lotus as they believed that lotus symbolizes good fortune, peace and holiness. Macau’s literature, myths, proverbs, dramas and couplets etc. often uses lotus as an avenue to express their feelings. Macao peoples daily lives, thoughts and feelings are closely associated with lotus and a bond have been established. People generally planted lotus as a hobby. There are many cultures that have elements of lotus such as lotus wordings in their door couplets.
  • Macau’s also has a lot of streets, villages and buildings that have the name associated with lotus, such as Lotus Hill(莲花山), Lin Fong Temple (莲峰庙), Lotus Stream Temple (莲溪庙), Lotus Bridge (莲花大桥), and so on.

Macao Lotus Bridge stamp(Pic Courtesy: http://gulfmannmaxicard.blogspot.sg

  • Lotus Bridge  is Macao’s third bridge with a  length of 1.3 km connecting the islands of Taipa Macau and Zhuhai Hengqin Bridge. The bridge greatly facilitated people entering to Macau International Airport and Ka Ho Container Port and Oil Terminal from mainland China. This had brought  prosperity and developments to Macao  as a whole.
  • Lotus is also the official flower emblem of Macao and appeared in Macao’s flags. It is also a common item in Macao’s stamps and currency.

                   

File:Macau SAR Regional Emblem.svg

  • The Lotus Square or Golden Lotus Square (Chinese: 金蓮花廣場; Portuguese: A Praça Flor de Lodão) is an open area of Macau Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. The area features the large bronze sculpture Lotus Flower In Full Bloom (Chinese: 盛世蓮花) and is somewhat akin to the Golden Bauhinia of neighboring Hong Kong.  (PLEASE REFER HONG KONG’S STATE FLOWER HERE). The lotus flower in full bloom symbolizes the everlasting prosperity of Macau. The sculpture was presented by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China in 1999 to mark the Macau sovereignty transfer from Portugal to the PRC. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Square)

Finally, I have finished my national flowers for East Asia and a summary will be compiled for your reference soon. Hope you enjoy the post.

 

Thank for reading.

 

The Beautiful Hong Kong Orchid Trees …..

National Flower Series – East Asia 6 – Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China – Bauhinia Blakeana

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Bauhinia blakeana or Hong Kong Orchid Tree is an orchid tree of the genus Bauhinia with large thick leaves and striking purplish red flowers. It is a native species discovered in Hong Kong was chosen as the logo of the Urban Council in 1965, it was later incorporated in the flag and emblem of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China after the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floral_emblem#Hong_Kong)

Species Information

Scientific name: Bauhinia blakeana
Family: Leguminosae
Common name(s): Hong Kong Orchid-Tree, Hong Kong Bauhinia, Butterfly Tree
Chinese name: 红花羊蹄甲 洋艳紫荊, 香港兰

Bauhinia Blakeana is a garden legume which is a close relative to garden peas and can grow until 20 to 40 feet in height. The leaves are large twin lobes, with grayish green color and can be as large as 6 to 8 inch in diameter.

Source: www.public.asu.edu

The large, orchid-like flowers are rich magenta purple with paler veins, and the uppermost petal is darker towards the base.

Source: www.gardenweb.com

The Hong Kong orchid tree is now widely planted as an ornamental within the Special Administrative Regions and many other tropical countries. Flowering seasons usually begins around December and closes in March each year.

A distinct species or A cultivar……?

Though the flower has been Hong Kong’s emblem since 1965, however, there are still debates if the trees is a true species by its own or a hybrid between Bauhinia Purpurea or Bauhinia Variegata.  In in the American Journal of Botany article published in November 2004, “Hybrid origin of “Bauhinia blakeana” (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae), inferred using morphological, reproductive, and molecular data” , it was written :

“…………..It is therefore evident that although B. blakeana is a hybrid that has resulted from a cross (probably natural) between B. purpurea and B. Variegate, it has only been perpetuated genetically by artificial horticultural practices: it is not capable of reproducing itself independently. It is therefore inappropriate to regard it as a distinct species and is better referred to as an artificially maintained cultivar. A new cultivar name is accordingly formally published here, replacing the previous specific binomial published by Dunn (1908):  Bauhinia purpurea × variegata ‘Blakeana’, cv. nov. “ (Source:http://www.amjbot.org/content/92/3/525.full)

However, it was written in Wikipedia that:

“….A 2008 research was able to identify the female parent as Bauhinia purpurea, but it could not differentiate the male parent as Bauhinia variegata var. variegata or Bauhinia variegata var. candida. This is not unexpected, as Bauhinia variegata var. Candida is a white-flowered form of Bauhinia variegata var. variegata, and not a separate specie or sub-specie. Interestingly, the 2005 research suggested Bauhinia blakeana is genetically closer to Bauhinia variegata, while the 2008 research indicated it is closer to Bauhinia purpurea instead.”

Bauhinia purpurea Bauhinia variegata var. candida

Source: kumarpati.wordpress.com

Source: www.tropicamente.it

Bauhinia Blakeana is very similar to Bauhinia Purpurea. One way of differentiating them is the number of stigmas/ Bauhinia Blakeana have 5-6 stamens whereas Bauhinia Purpurea have 3-4 stamens.

Another distinct differentiation is Bauhinia Blakeana can only be perpetuated by horticultural practices (e.g. Grafting) and seed pods are seldom noted. Whereas in Bauhinia Purpurea, being a parent plant, long seedpods are always being produced for future reproductions. In the above Bauhinia purpurea picture, take note of a brownish seed pod next to the flower.

 Source: www.efloras.org

Hong Kong and Bauhinia Blakeana

  • Hong Kong people call the leaf “clever leaf” (聰明葉/聪明叶), and regard it as a symbol of cleverness. Some people use the leaves to make bookmarks in the hope that the bookmarks will bring them good luck in their studies.
  • It is the official flower emblem of Hong Kong and appeared in Hong Kong’s state flag. Besides, it also appeared in coins, stamps of Hong Kong.

  Source:www.kakei.us

  • In North Wan Chai, outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, there is an open area with a 6 meter high giant statute of a golden Bauhinia Blakeana. This area is called The Golden Bauhinia Square (Chinese: 金紫荊廣場) and it is the place where the ceremonies for the handover of Hong Kong and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was held in July 1997. The major part is composed of a bauhinia on a base of red grantite pillar on a pyramid. It became a tourist attraction and a flag-raising ceremony is held every day at 8:00am.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Bauhinia_Square

Additional Notes:

  • The Genus “Bauhinia” is named after the 16th Swiss botanists and brothers, John and Caspar Bauhin and the twin lobe leaves were said to represent the two brothers.
  • Bauhinia Blakeana blooms can be used as cut flowers and in flower arrangements.

NOTES:

Theoretically, I have already finished the East Asia series of National Flowers after my post on Taiwan’s national flowers here, but I have decided to include two Special Administrative Regions of People’s Republic of China namely Hong Kong and Macau. Too bad, Mongolia does not have national flowers.

Rest be assured that this series (national flower series) will be continued and I am aiming to complete the series in one years’ time.

Thank for reading.

 

National Flower Series–Southern Europe 1– Kingdom of Spain – Dianthus Caryophyllus (Carnation)

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Carnation is Spain’s national flower (or clavel in Spanish or 康乃馨 in Chinese) and widely grown in the Aragon region of Spain. Also called Dianthus Caryophyllus , carnation is a favorite flower of choice and revered for centuries. It’s Latin Name basically translated into flower of god or love. Carnation in Spain is very much influenced by South Spain or Andalusia’s Spanish folklore and commonly associated to distinction, love and fascination.

Spieces information

  • Scientific name:         Dianthus Caryophyllus 
  • Family:                              Caryophyllaceae
  • Common name:          Carnation, clavel (in Spanish), 康乃馨(in Chinese)

In Spain, carnation is associated with a symbol of affection between lovers and  a religious symbol related to Jesus’s passion representing Crown of Thorns. It is also  related to the seedy side of Spain like gipsy’s lapels  thrown into the bullring ruedos.        

Clavel Sevillano

Spieces information

  • Scientific name:         Dianthus Caryophyllus 
  • Family:                           Caryophyllaceae
  • Common name:         Carnation, clavel (in Spanish), 康乃馨(in Chinese)

Carnation is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 80 cm tall. The leaves are glaucous greyish green to blue-green, slender, up to 15 cm long. The flowers are produced singly or up to five together in a cyme; they are 3–5 cm diameter, and sweetly scented; the original natural flower color is bright pinkish-purple, but cultivars of other colors, including red, white, yellow and green, have been developed. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnation)

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Source: http://www.wholeblossoms.com

Additional notes:

Carnations are traditionally flowers used to express feelings since olden days. Like roses, colors of carnations carry different meanings and it is wise to find out the meanings for each color before you present the flower to them. In addition, different colors  are used for different occasion. The following table summarizes the common colors, its meanings and occasions to wear them.

Color

Meanings

Occasions to wear

Light red Admiration  
Red Symbol of love; symbol of Portuguese Carnation Revolution; symbol of socialism and labor movements Wear on Mother’s day if mother is alive, Parents day for Korea; May day as a symbol of socialism and labor movement for Austria, Italy and former Yugoslavia ; Final examination of University of Oxford
Dark red Symbolic of deep love or admiration, depending on the depth of the red  
White Purity and luck Wear on Mother’s day is mother is dead; 1st examination of University of Oxford;
Pink Sign of gratitude, symbolizes mother’s love MOTHERS DAY, weddings, Parent’s day for Korea;
Examinations between first and final examination of University of Oxford
Purple Indicates capriciousness, In France, a traditional funeral flower, given in condolence for the death of a loved one.  
Striped Regret or refusal  
Yellow Dejection  
Green Symbol of homosexuality in the early 20th century St Patrick’s day;

Happy Mother’s Day and enjoy reading.

NOTES:

I have yet to complete my National Flower Series – East Asia. As tomorrow is Mother’s day, I thought it would be nice to put up something on carnation and therefore, I have written this post about the national flower of Spain.   The series on East Asia will resume in my next post on National Flower Series.

National Flower Series–East Asia 5–Taiwan Republic of China– Prunus Mume

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梅花 (Plum Blossom)

梅花梅花滿天下 愈冷它愈開花

 梅花堅忍象徵我們 巍巍的大中華

看啊遍地開了梅花 有土地就有它

 冰雪風雨它都不怕 它是我的國花

看啊遍地開了梅花 有土地就有它

 冰雪風雨它都不怕 它是我的國花

梅花梅花滿天下 愈冷它愈開花

 梅花堅忍象徵我們 巍巍的大中華

梅花 唱:劉家昌 詞:劉家昌 曲:劉家昌

 

Most Chinese  will not be unfamiliar with the above patriotic song which was written for the Taiwanese film “Victory” (梅花) (1976) by its director Liu Chia Chang (劉家昌) and that basically summed up the characteristics of Prunus Mume and the importance of this flower in Taiwan. If you are do not understand Chinese language, you may want to refer here for its Chinese Pronunciations and English translations.

General information

Plum blossom is highly appreciated and admired for its early (January to March in central and southern China) blossoms, Prunus mume has enjoyed great popularity in China and Japan for centuries. It is popular as a bonsai and a ‘must’ in every Japanese-style garden. The world famous Kairaku-en garden in Japan, for example, boasts 3,000 specimens including 100 different cultivars, which create a feast for the eye during the ‘plum blossom’ season in late February/early March. Due to its long history of cultivation and cultural significance, there are more than 300 known cultivars in China, which differ mainly in the color of their flowers (which can be white, pink, red, purple or light green).

National Symbol

The plum blossom, Prunus mei, was officially designated by the ROC Executive Yuan (legislative council) to be the national flower on July 21, 1964. The plum blossom, which has shades of pink and white and gives off a delicate fragrance, has great symbolic value for the Chinese people because of its resilience during the harsh winter. (Source: www.kew.org)

The triple grouping of stamens (one long and two short) represents Sun Yat-sen’s Three Principles of the People (namely nationalism, democracy and socialism (民族主義, 民權主義 and 民生主義)), while the five petals symbolize the five branches of the ROC government.  (Source: Taiwan President’s Office’s website) namely Executive Yuan, Legislative Yuan, Judicial Yuan, Examination Yuan and Control Yuan.

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Species information

  • Scientific name                    : Prunus mume Siebold
  • Common name(s)                 : mume, ume, mei flower, Chinese plum, Japanese apricot.
  • Chinese name                      : 梅

Additional notes

  • Plum blossom tree is related to both the plum and apricot trees. Although generally referred to as a plum in English, it is more closely related to the apricot.
  • The fruit ripens in early summer, around June and July in East Asia, and coincides with the rainy season of East Asia, the “meiyu“ (梅雨季节, literally “plum rain”). Those who live in East Asia will knew that during this season, the whole area will become very damp and mold will appear in household items from kitchen condiments to leather jackets etc..

  • The fruit of the tree is used in Chinese, Japanese and Korean cooking in juices, as a flavoring for alcohol, as a pickle and in sauces. It is also used in traditional medicine. 
  • Ume vinegar is a traditional digestive aid produced from Prunus Mume. Its sour and salty taste stimulates the production of saliva and stomach acids, which in turn help the body to break down and assimilate the nutrients in the food. Try it as a condiment on soups, stews, vegetable and grain dishes to absorb more nutrition and eliminate indigestion. You can read further: here.
  • Plum blossom is a flower not only important in Taiwan ROC but also have a huge cultural impact on Japanese and other Chinese communities. In fact, it is also another prime candidate considered for the national flower of People’s Republic of China. You can read my earlier post: National Flower of People’s Republic of China where the peony is deemed to be the unofficial national flower.
  • In Chinese, plum blossom it is one of the flower representatives associated with the four seasons namely orchid for spring (春蘭)、bamboo for summer(夏竹)、chrysanthemum for autumn (秋菊)、plum blossom for winter(冬梅).
  • The combination for these four flowers, collectively called “four flowers gentlemen”, also a Chinese painting favorite, denotes four characters that a gentleman should possess. Plum blossom signifies ability to withstand hardship as it blooms in the cold winter: orchids symbolize modesty, beauty, joy and purity; chrysanthemum reminds us that it is possible to triumph when the going gets tough and to be brave when faced with adversity and lastly bamboo represents upright and continual growth (梅寒盛放,蘭花清秀,菊花淡香、竹子節節上升).

Picture from: www.nicpic.com

  • Lastly, ever wonder what is the difference between plum blossoms as in this post and the cherry blossoms which is famous in Japan? Well, they looked very similar and most people can’t tell and I have found one article which state the differences as follows:
  Plum Blossoms (梅花) Cherry Blossoms(樱花)
 
Flower Plum blossoms don’t have any split at the end of the petals. Cherry blossoms have a small split at the end of each petals.
Bark The bark on a plum tree is darker and does not have distinctive horizontal line on it. The bark of the cherry tree often have small horizontal lines on it.
Flower Bud There is only one plum blossom coming out of the bud. More than one cherry will come out of a cherry bud.
Leaves Plum blossoms have small purple leaves that are unrolling although some species do have leaves that are green The leaves of cherry trees are green and unfolding.

You can refer to this website if you are interested to have a visual differentiations between plum and cherry blossoms. How about taking up another challenges to differentiate these two blossoms with the third blossom, i.e. peach blossoms (桃花)?

Hope you enjoy the post. Cheers

National Flower Series–East Asia 4–Republic of Korea (South Korea)–Hibiscus Syriacus

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Hibiscus Syriacus (木槿 (mu jin) in Mandarin or 무궁화 , 无穷花 (Mugunghwa) in Korean) is a hardy deciduous shrub belonging to the species of flowering plant in the family Malvaceae, native to much of Asia.  Other common name include Roses of Sharon which is called in the United States.

The shrub is upright and vase-shaped, reaching 2–4 m (7–13 ft) in height, bearing large trumpet-shaped dark pink flowers with prominent yellow-tipped white stamens.    Shoots make interesting indoor vase cuttings, as they stay green for a long time. In the vase some new flowers may open from the more mature buds. The species have naturalized very well in many suburban areas, and might even be termed slightly invasive, so often does it seed around. The flower language is delicate beauty.

There are many cultivars or sub-species of Hibiscus Syriacus with beautiful names such as the name Diana (one of goddesses) and marketable names liked ‘Lady Stanley’, ‘Ardens’, ‘Lucy’, and ‘Blushing Bride’ were being used. Colors can range from white, pink, lavender, or purple large and red. Some of the cultivars were as follows: 

  • ‘Bredon Springs(rose-pink with red centre)      
  • ‘Cicola’ (double white with maroon centre)
  • ‘Diana’ (single, pure white)
  • ‘Hamabo’ (pale pink with deep red centre)
  • Lavender Chiffon ‘Notwoodone’ (pale lilac)

The South Korean Context of Hibiscus Syriacus L.

  • There are about 100 cultivars of Mugunghwa indigenous to Korea but it is understood that the correct cultivar should be the Tashim sub-species, single pink blossom with the red-centre as the national flower.
 
 
  • The name “mugungwha” was first used by the poet Lee Gyu-bo (이규보,1168 – 1241) of Goryeo Dynasty
 
    • Korean is passionate with this flower as shown from Korean literature 1400 years ago. It is the national emblem of South Korea that appears on many official documents and is also written into the National Anthem as follows:

    A thousand miles of splendid rivers and mountains, filled with mugunghwa—
    Great Korean People, stay true to the Great Korean way.

     
    •  
       
      The Mugunghwa is known to survive harsh environments,  and spreads out from its origin. This reflects Korean history and reflects Korean people’s survival through times of trials and sufferings; and this is embodied in Korea as an independent nation with a long history. In addition, its tenacity characteristics were reflected in both the tenets of  ITF (International Taekwon-do Federation) and WTF (World Taekwondo Federation). Besides, for its toughness and respectability, mugunghwa is a name bestowed on Korean high-speed trains and even football teams. 

    DO YOU KNOW:

    • These beautiful flowers are edible. The tea is popular as a natural diuretic; it contains vitamin C and minerals, and is used traditionally as a mild medicine. A 2008 USDA study shows consuming hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure in a group of pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. In Indian and Chinese traditional medicine, hibiscus is considered as herbs that have medicinal values.
     
    • Hibiscus are also national flowers of  Malaysia – Hibiscus Rosa Sinesis and Haiti (Species unsure and may be still unofficial)
     
      • A mythological fiction, Xuanzhongji (Hanja:玄中記), written in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (Hanja:東晉) of China mentions, “The Land of Wisemen is spread for 1,000 li where mugungwha flowers bloom plentifully.”(君子之國,地方千里,多木槿之華) .
       
       
      • Hibiscus Syriacus L. are also called Roses of Sharon but Roses of Sharon not only refers to Hibiscus Syriacus L. but also Hypericum calycinum (picture below), another evergreen flowering shrub native to southeast Europe and southwest Asia

       Hypericum calycinum

      Source:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_syriacus;
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_of_sharon;
      http://www.matthewsata.com/songahm-tradition/korean-tradition 
      http://www.exploringkorea.com/national-flower-of-south-korea
      http://www.visitkorea.or.kr/ena/AK/AK_EN_1_4_1.jsp

        

      National Flower Series–East Asia 3–North Korea (Magnolia Siboldii)

       

      IMG_1982

       

      Magnolia sieboldii also called “Mongnan” or “Mokran” (목란; 木蘭) is the national flower of North Korea. It is usually grown as an ornamental tree in gardens. This species, Magnolia Sieboldii is one of the hardiest magnolias that can thrive in difficult environment and can be found  as far north as the Arboretum in Finland.

      It  is a large shrub or consider as small tree 5–10 m tall. The stalks, young leaves, young twigs and young buds are downy. The leaves are elliptical to ovate-oblong, 9-16 cm (rarely 25 cm) long and 4-10 cm (rarely 12 cm) broad. The flowers, unlike the better-known spring flowering  species of  Magnolias, blossoming primarily only in early summer and continue intermittently until late summer. The flowers are pendulous, cup-shaped, 7-10 cm diameter, and have 6-12 petals with the outer three smaller tepals and the remaining larger white petals.  The carpels are greenish and the stamens can be reddish-purple or greenish-white.The magnolia also produces a reddish-brown cone-like fruit in the center of the flower, which contains the seeds.  The fruit is a source of food for birds.

      Interesting to note

    • Magnolia fossils dating back millions years ago have been found confirming that magnolia are one of the most ancient flowing plants;
    • Ylang ylang and nutmegs are actually species of the magnolia family;
    • Magnolia trees can grow as old as 100 years.
    • In Chinese, if you twist around 木兰花,it will become 花木兰,a female legendary  figure in the Ballad of Mulan who disguised as a guy and joined the army on behalf of his father.
    •  

      Some people have mistaken Kimilsungia flower, a hybrid cultivar of orchid Dendrobium ‘Kim Il-sung’ of orchid is North Korea’s national flower.  An interesting article explaining about the history of  Kimilsungia (name after Kim Il Sung and Indonesia) can be found here.

       220px-Kimilsungia1

      Another flower commonly mistaken is the Kimjongilia which is named after the late North Korean leader,  Kim Il-Sung’s son, Kim Jong-Il. Kimjongilia  is a hybrid cultivar of tuberous begonia.  

      images

      Both Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia are not national flowers of North Korea though  large scale exhibitions of these two flowers were held annually in North Korea.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnolia_sieboldii 

      http://www.theblogfarm.com/fun-flower-facts-magnolia/

      National Flower Series – East Asia 2 – China (Mudan) – A little bit more

      wallacegardens:

      Paeonia suffruticosa (tree peony) is native to China, where it is known as Mudan.

      In front of the Audience Hall of Mu Tsung Huang Ti … there were planted thousand-petalled tree-peonies. When the flowers first opened the fragrance of their perfume was perceived by everyone. Each blossom had a thousand petals, large and deeply red. Every time His Majesty gazed upon the sweet-scented luxuriance he would sigh and say, ‘Surely such a flower has never before existed among men!’ (Ninth-Century Chinese Writer)

      Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 6: Biology and Biological Technology, Part 1, Botany, by Joseph Needham (Cambridge University Press 1986).

      The tree peony is not actually a “tree” but more of a woody-shrub preferring some shade from harsh afternoon noon. The woody stalks produce the next season’s flowers and should be left in tact throughout the winter (unlike herbaceous peonies which die to the ground each season). They are very slow to establish, but well worth the wait. Huge blooms appear in mid-spring (before herbaceous peonies) and the flowers are surrounded by lovely fern-like foliage with a reddish tinge.

      Writing about national flower China, I found this post that I have read a while ago is now a suitable time to re-blog this. Very knowledgeable writer.