The stunning, bowl-shaped peony comes into flower in late Spring. Not only gorgeous to look at, peonies smell divine, are delicious to eat and have an abundance of medicinal properties. Prepare to be wowed by this beautiful bloom.
Peonies are a favourite for wedding bouquets and no wonder. Loved for their ornate, delicate petal structure and sweet fragrance, they come in many varieties of colours including white, yellow, pink, red, and even purple. In the UK, the coral peonies blossom first, followed by classic pink peonies in the early days of summer.
The peony hails from the genus Paeonia. There are thought to be between 25 to 40 known species of this flowering plant today. Their stunning cloud-shaped blooms can reach up to 10 inches in diameter.
The peony is also a true survivor. A perennial plant, the peony can live for 100 years when it is cultivated under optimal conditions.
History and Myth
There are many tales as to how the peony got its name. According to one tale the name originates from the Greek word Paeon. In Greek mythology, Paeon was the physician to the gods who angered his teacher Asclepius after he extracted a milky liquid from the root of a peony that cured Pluto. Asclepius was the god of medicine and healing. He threatened to kill Paeon out of jealousy but Zeus saved him by turning him into a beautiful flower, the peony.
According to another myth, a beautiful nymph named Paeonia caught the attention of Apollo. But she became self-conscious and turned red when she realized that Aphrodite had been watching them flirt. Aphrodite got angry and transformed Paeonia into a red peony.
Peonies are said to originate from China around 1000BC. They had an important role during the Sui and Tang dynasties, gracing the Imperial Palace. Because of this regal history, peonies came to symbolize honour and wealth and became known as the King or sometimes Queen of Flowers.
In the language of flowers, this lush bloom signifies elegance and abundance. It also indicates romance, compassion, good luck, prosperity, a happy marriage, and even bashfulness.
Not only do they smell sweet, but they taste sweet too. The Chinese regard peonies as a delicious delicacy. They love partially cooked and sweetened petals of peony as desserts. Fresh petals can be eaten in a salad or used as a garnish for lemonade.
Peony has one of the longest histories of any flowering herb and has been used since ancient times as a medicinal as well as an ornamental plant.
Peony root has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, period pain, spasms and fever. It is also used to ease childbirth. Peony roots have antispasmodic, analgesic and sedative properties, helping you fall asleep and extend your sleeping cycles.
The root also soothes digestion and eases stomach aches. As a liver tonic, it is used to treat hepatitis. It can soothe the nerves and enhance brain function. Peonies are also used to prepare a soothing syrup that is effective against coughing.
Peonies are beneficial to the skin and their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are used to soothe skin rashes. Peony Root Extract is a natural antioxidant often found within skincare formulas, known to help brighten the complexion. Peony oil is very hydrating and softening to the skin, and acts as a potent moisturizer to relieve dry and irritated skin conditions.
Talk about flower power. We think we’ve given you quite enough reasons to go out and buy yourself a bunch of these stunners that offer so much beauty, both inside and out.
Find out more here:
Appleyard Flowers https://www.appleyardflowers.com/flowerdiaries/history-peony-flower/
Nature & Garden https://www.nature-and-garden.com/health/peony-health-benefits.html
Petal Republic https://www.petalrepublic.com/peonies-flowers/