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Paeonia suffruticosa, the tree peony, is a species of peony native to China. It is known as MUDAN in Chinese and is an
important symbol in Chinese culture. See the main peony article for more information. It was first described by Henry Charles
Most are herbaceous perennial plants 0.5–1.5 metres tall, but some resemble trees up to 1.5–3 metres
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.
The peony is among the longest-used flowers in ornamental 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 Mongolia and China, where the Paeonia
suffruticosa is called MUDAN. It is also known as "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 famous ancient Chinese city Luoyang has a reputation as a cultivation centre for the peonies. Throughout Chinese history,
peonies in Luoyang are often said to be the finest in the country. Dozens of peony exhibitions and shows are still held there