Peony has been cultivated for over 4000 years and it is native to Asia, Southern Europe and North America. In China it is also called “The Emperor’s flower” as it has been grown in the royal gardens.
Paeonia is the only genus in the family Paeoniaceae consisting of about 40 species that come in two basic types, herbaceous and tree. Most are herbaceous perennial plants 0.5–1.5 metres (1.6–4.9 ft) tall, but some resemble trees 1.5–3 metres (4.9–9.8 ft) tall. They have compound, deeply lobbed leaves and large, often fragrant, flowers, ranging from red to white or yellow, in late spring and early summer.
The visitors of the University botanical garden in Sofia could enjoy the beauty and the scent of the large flowers of Paeonia arborea which is flowering now (a representative of the tree group).