Peony flowers are popular perennial garden plants, have compound deeply lobed leaves and large, often fragrant flowers. Generally symbolic of love, honor, happiness wealth, romance, and beauty, the peony is traditionally given on special occasions as an expression of goodwill, best wishes, and joy. Besides their large, layered flowers and sweet fragrance, peonies also have incredible staying power in the garden.
The peony is named after Paeon (also spelled Paean), a student of Asclepius, the Greekgod of medicine and healing. In Greek mythology, when Asclepius became jealous of his pupil, Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower.
The peony is a flowering plant native to Asia, Europe and Western North America. The peony is a flowering plant in the genus Paeonia, the only genus in the family Paeoniaceae. Early in Chinese history, the peony was consider the national flower but now it’s officially the plum blossom. Members of the Tang Dynasty of China began breeding peonies in the imperial courts in the 7th century BCE. Their popularity spread to Japan in the early 11th century and to France and England in the 18th century. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, peonies began taking off in popularity in the U.S. as well.
Studies shows that peony plants have immune system and mood-boosting properties, and can be use to effectively treat inflammation, blood clots, and general pain. In fact, the roots and seeds of peonies have been use in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat headaches, asthma, convulsions, liver disease, and several more ailments. Peonies also have been used in European herbal medicine as a remedy for bladder and kidney problems. However, peonies can cause gastrointestinal upset for both people and animals such as cats and dogs if consumed in large amounts.
More than simply looking fabulous, the peony is also full of meaning representing romance and love, and are consider a good omen for a happy marriage. In China and Japan, peonies stand for strong and positive virtues such as bravery, honor, respect, nobility, good fortune, and prosperity. But peonies of different colors represent different emotions:
- White Peony Flowers: It’s an elegant blossom that is riveting at a glance, capturing attention for the romantic quality it exudes while filling any room with an aura of crisp, airy, beachy nonchalance.
- Light Pink Peony Flowers: One of the most common peony colors is light pink. Pale and subtle, blush tones are typically associate with romance, luck, and prosperity.
- Hot Pink Peony Flowers: These peonies are considerably bolder, more eye-catching, and more passionate in their intent. Hot pink is a more intense color, capable of conveying drama and passion at a single glance. Peonies in this color are often associate with attraction, allure, and deep appreciation. While symbolic of romance, it’s versatile enough to convey happiness, joy, and radiance thanks to its uplifting shade.
- Red Peony Flowers: Red is the color of passion, fury, intensity, romance and drama. This shade also represents respect, honor, abundance, and wealth. It’s enormously meaningful in that regard. In fact, the humble peony was the preferred flower of Chinese royalty. They would often use the red flower to accent their gardens and add color and personality to their balconies. In China, red symbolizes royalty, and it was this hue that most often made an appearance in regal circles.
- Yellow Peony Flowers: It’s symbolic of new beginnings, fresh starts, and clean slates. Cultivated for centuries, the peony has long been a source of rich symbolism and meaning. Known as much for its decorative value as its ties to royalty, the humble flower enjoys incredible popularity in the modern world.