With 25-40 species the peony is both a breathtakingly beautiful and popular flower. Native to Asia, Europe and Western North America, the peony was once considered the national flower of China. In the 7th century BCE peonies were breed by the Tang Dynasty in the imperial courts, there popularity spread to Japan in the 11th century and became popular in the 18th century in France and England. After becoming popular in the U.S.A in the late 1800's early 1900's the peony became the state flower for Indiana in 1957.
The name Peony takes it's origin from Greek mythology, named after Paeon (also spelled Paean), a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. A version of the peonies origin is that Paeon, known as the healer of the gods, used a peony to treat a wound for Zeus. Asclepius became murderously jealous of his pupil and Zeus saved Paeon by turning him into a peony flower.
The symbolism peonies hold make them a popular choice for brides. They represent love and romance, they are considered a good omen for a happy marriage whilst also being the traditional 12th anniversary flower. In Japan and China the peony represents bravery, honour, respect, nobility, good fortune, and prosperity whereas in the Victorian Era, they represented shame and shyness.
Fun Facts about peonies:
Peony petals are non toxic so they're perfect to add on your wedding cake!!
Peony plants can live for 100 years, producing flowers throughout that time
Different colour peonies have different meanings
China has a Peony City, Luoyang
Chameleon peonies, some peonies change colour as they bloom!
Alaska grows peonies, they thrive in the colder soil
Some varieties of peony can grow to be 10 inches
Peonies come in every colour except blue!
The Netherlands is the largest cut peony producing country
Ancient Chinese texts say the peony was used as food flavouring
Bunnies and Deer HATE peonies
Who knew there was such an interesting history to the peony?! If ever you feel like gifting me with peonies I will always accept and be extremely happy. They truly are one of my most favourite flowers, both to preserve and to admire in a vase!