Peonies have a recorded history that dates back thousands of years, it’s not surprising that even the mythology surrounding the origin of the peony as it has multiple versions. One legend has it that the peony is named after Paieon, the physician to the gods, who received the flower on Mount Olympus from the mother of Apollo. And another tells the story of that same physician who was “saved” from the fate of dying as other mortals by being turned into the flower we know today as the peony.
Peonies are native to Asia, Europe, and Western North America. There are 33 identified species. Ranging in color from Purple, Pink, White and Yellow. Most are herbaceous perennial plants but some are upright woody shrubs. Peonies are among the most popular of garden plants as well as one of the most loved wedding flowers. Peonies are cultivated for the floral industry as from Africa, Israel, Spain, South America, and North America as far north as Alaska. This allows Peonies to be available for many months out of the year. Just be prepared to pay premium prices when they are coming from long distances.
The traditional floral symbol of China, the state flower of Indiana, and the 12th 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.