Also known as the ‘most beautiful of all the flowers… ’
Chanel once said, ‘elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside’.
There are several differing but lovely stories and myths surround this flower. According to Greek Mythology, the botanical name Paeonia originated from the name Paeon, a Greek Physician of the gods and former student of Aesculapius. He became envious of Paeon when he cured Hades’ and Ares’ wounds with the ground roots of Peony. Aesculapius wanted him dead, but Zeus saved him by turning him into a peony plant.
Or if that’s not to your liking, another legend tells of a gorgeous nymph named Paeonia who mesmerized Apollo, son of Zeus. Furious with her, the goddess Aphrodite turned her into a peony plant.
And my all-time favourite is this Chinese myth. Gejin, a peony spirit fell in love with a man and transformed herself into a female. They got married and had 2 children. When her husband realised that she and the children were not mortal, Gejin took the children back to the spirit world to avoid harm and rage. She left two tree peonies, the Gejin Purple and Gejin White as remembrance of their two children.
With its lush rounded form, the peony embodies romance and prosperity, and are regarded as an omen of good luck and a long happy marriage.
In the language of flowers, they are for bashfulness & some say shame all because mischievous nymphs would hide their naked bodies amongst the petals to shield from prying eyes.