Graphics: Exploring peony’s cultural significance and economic impact

The peony, an emblem of traditional Chinese culture, holds a storied past and deep meaning, earning it the title “the king of flowers.”

Every April, as peonies come into bloom, festivals take place in cities like Heze in Shandong Province and Luoyang in Henan Province. These events draw crowds of visitors, captivated by the flower’s splendor, nurturing the growth of the local tourism sector.

Peonies transcend mere beauty. Their roots yield medicinal properties, their petals brew aromatic teas and their seeds produce oil. In Luoyang and Heze, principal peony hubs, abundant blooms flood both domestic and international markets, infusing fresh vigor into local economies.

Heze, with a peony legacy dating back 1,500 years, dazzles with its diversity. Boasting nine color series, 10 flower shapes and a staggering 1,308 varieties, it pioneers 80 percent of China’s new cultivars.

Not only a global epicenter for peony production and adornment, Heze serves as a pivotal export hub, with products traveling to over 30 nations and regions, such as the U.S., France, Germany and Japan, reaching a 2023 output value of 10.8 billion yuan ($1.5 billion).