Unlike some other countries, China doesn’t have a national flower. Many people favor the peony, which is often said to be the unofficial national flower of the country due to its popularity with residents.
The National Flower of China was officially designated as the plum blossom by the Executive Yuan of the Republic of China on July 21, 1964. The plum blossom, known as the meihua (梅花), is symbol for resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity, because plum blossoms often bloom most vibrantly even amidst the harsh winter snow. As the plum tree can usually grow for a long time, ancient trees are found throughout China. Huangmei county (Yellow Mei) in Hubei features a 1,600-year-old plum tree from the Jin Dynasty which is still flowering. The three stamens represents Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Three Principles of the People, while the five petals symbolize the five branches of the government: Executive Yuan, Legislative Yuan, Judicial Yuan, Examination Yuan and Control Yuan.
The national flower of People’s Republic of China is considered as peony(牡丹) by publics, but it’s not designated by the government.
The peony is among the longest-used flowers in Eastern culture and is one of the smallest living creature national emblems in China. Along with the plum blossom, it is a traditional floral symbol of China, where the Paeonia suffruticosa is called 牡丹 (mǔdān). It is also known as 富贵花 (fùguìhuā) “flower of riches and honour,” and is used symbolically in Chinese art. In 1903, the Qing Dynasty declared the peony as the national flower. Currently, the Republic of China on Taiwan designates the plum blossom as the national flower, while the People’s Republic of China has no legally designated national flower. In 1994, the peony was proposed as the national flower after a nationwide poll, but the National People’s Congress failed to ratify the selection. In 2003, another selection process has begun, but to date, no choice has 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.