Peonies are commonly known to mean romance, a happy marriage, good fortune, riches, compassion, honor and prosperity. That’s a lot of meanings to tie down to one flower, but it’s pretty understandable once we get down to its history and mythology.
The peony is the state flower of Indiana, the traditional floral symbol of China and the 12th wedding anniversary flower.
In China, peonies are highly valued and often referred to as the “king of the flowers”. Up until 1929, they were the national flower prior to being replaced by the plum tree. Peonies were once implanted at the Imperial Palace, during the Sui and Tang dynasties. Due to this, they are known to symbolise honor, wealth and nobility.
Also, did you know that Chinese name for “most beautiful” actually translates into Peony?
History & Mythology
It is said that the peony was named after Paeon, a physician to the Greek gods. He was the student of the god of medicine, Aesculapius, who became jealous of his talents and tried to kill him. To save Paeon, Pluto (the god of the Underworld) transformed him into a peony, a flower that people would admire and praise. In another version of events, he was “saved” from mortal death by being turned into the flower we now know as the peony.
In ancient and medieval times, peonies were used for medicinal purposes. Their seeds and roots were believed to have been the cure for over 20 diseases including snake bites and epilepsy. Back in the day, in England, young children used to wear necklaces made out of peony roots to help with teething pains and prevent seizures.
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