The peony is a native plant and national emblem of China. The peony is symbolically illustrated in Chinese art as the "flower of riches and honor". When used on furniture from the imperial dynasties, a peony engraved on the furniture would symbolize an offical's high rank.

In Greek mythology, the peony is named after Paeon, a student of the Greek god of medicine and healing, Asclepius. Zeus saved Paeon from the jealous wrath of Asclepius by turning Paeon into the peony flower.

The peony are perennial, fragrant plants that flower in late spring to early summer.