The selection of a national flower has become a difficult one. China has 85% of the world's flower species, so many Chinese question "why should only one flower represent the whole country?"
In May 1994 the Ministry of Agriculture ordered the Chinese Flower Association to establish a panel to determine the criteria and candidates for the national honour. After a large scale selection process the results were made public in December of 1994:
Eighteen provinces and regions (58.06%) agreed on "one country, one flower" with the Peony as the favourite.
Eleven provinces and regions (35.48%) agreed on "one country, four flowers" with the Peony, Lotus, Chrysanthemum, and the Plum Blossom as their favourites.
Two other provinces, Anhui and Sichuan also agreed on a "one country, four flower" idea, but preferred the Orchid over the Lotus.
The panel unanimously agreed on the Peony as the national flower and made the suggestion that the Orchid (spring), Lotus (summer), Chrysanthemum (autumn) and Plum (winter) be the "flowers for four seasons of China". The results and suggestion were submitted to the People's National Congress for approval.
To date, there is still no final decision. While most agree that a "one country, one flower" policy is acceptable, the "one flower" is still the topic of debate. Should it be the Peony or Plum Blossom? The question is still unanswered, so officially China has no national flower.