Peony or paeony is a name for plants in the genus Paeonia, the only genus in the flowering plant family Paeoniaceae. They are native to Asia, southern Europe and western North America. Boundaries between species are not clear and estimates of the number of species range from 25 to 40.
Most are herbaceous perennial plants 1.5 – 5 feet (0.5 – 1.5 metres) tall, but some resemble trees up to 5 – 10 feet (1.5 – 3 metres) tall. They have compound, deeply lobed leaves, and large, often fragrant flowers, ranging from red to white or yellow, in late spring and early summer.
The peony is named after Paeon (also spelled Paean), a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. Asclepius became jealous of his pupil; Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower.
The family name “Paeoniaceae” was first used by Friedrich K.L. Rudolphi in 1830, following a suggestion by Friedrich Gottlieb Bartling that same year. The family had been given other names a few years earlier. The composition of the family has varied, but it has always consisted of Paeonia and one or more genera that are now placed in Ranunculales.
Each flower type becomes more complex in its arrangement of petals. The flower types include Single (e.g., Athena, Dad, Krinkled White, Scarlet O’Hara, Sea Shell), Japanese (Nippon Beauty, Madame Butterfly), Anemone, Semi-Double (Paula Fay, Coral Charm, Miss America, Buckeye Belle), Double (Ann Cousins, Gardenia, Kansas, Paul M. Wild, Tourangelle) and Bomb-Double (Red Charm, Raspberry Sundae, Mons Jules Elie). Herbaceous peonies die back in winter and regrow in spring, while tree peonies lose their leaves in winter, but leave woody stems.
Mischievous nymphs were said to hide in the petals of the Peony, giving it the meaning of Shame or Bashfulness in the Language of Flowers.
The traditional floral symbol of China, the state flower of Indiana, and the 12th wedding anniversary flower, peonies are known as the flower of riches and honor. With their lush, full, rounded bloom, peonies embody romance and prosperity and are regarded as an omen of good fortune and a happy marriage.
Peony flowers are dedicated to creating beautiful bespoke flowers for all occasions. From stunning wedding flowers to corporate events, sympathy flowers to simple thank you bouquets.
Information derived from articles by American Peony Society, Peonies.org, Teleflora.com and Wikipedia sites.