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


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.

National Flower Series – East Asia 2- China (Mudan) – Unofficial

National Flower Series – East Asia 2 – People’s Republic of China – UNOFFICIAL

Although People’s Republic of China has not officially declared a national flower, everyone in China knows that the Republic’s unofficial national flower is peony (Paeonia Suffruticosa) also called 牡丹 (mǔdān) or 富贵花 (fùguìhuā) “flower of riches and honour”, 花王 (huawang) “king of the flowers”, and is used symbolically in Chinese art and is considered as a symbol of prosperity.

The Qing Dynasty adopted Poeny as the national flower for China. However, over the past 20 years, numerous attempts have been made to select a national flower. The two front-runners are the peony and Chinese plum blossom. Some people believe China is too large and diverse to be represented by just one flower. The idea of a dual national flower (including both the peony and plum blossom) is growing in popularity. Another suggestion proposes having a different flower to represent each season. In 1994, a panel from the Chinese Flower Association recommended the peony as the national flower, along with these seasonal flowers: orchid (spring), lotus (summer), chrysanthemum (autumn) and plum (winter). This, however, was not ratify by the National People’s Congress. In 2003, another selection process had begun but until to date, no decision had been made.

The ancient Chinese city Luoyang has a reputation as a cultivation centre for the peonies. Throughout Chinese history, peonies in Luoyang have been said to be the finest in the country. Dozens of peony exhibitions and shows are still held there annually.

Paeonia (peony or paeony) is a genus of flowering plants, the only genus in the family Paeoniaceae. They are native to Asia, Southern Europe and Western North America. Boundaries between species are not clear and estimates of the number of species range from 25 to 40.

Most are herbaceous perennial plants 0.5 to 1.5 metres (1.5 to 5 feet) tall, but some resemble trees 1.5–3 m (5–10 ft) tall. They have compound, deeply lobed leaves and large, often fragrant, flowers, ranging from red to white or yellow, in late spring and early summer.