Central Square Florist

Central Square Florist

Posted by Jackie Levine on May 8, 2015 Uncategorized

The History of Peonies

PeoniesThe gorgeous peony is one of the delights of late spring and throughout the summer. With their sweet scent and variety of color options ranging from white to ivory to subtle pastel tones to deep pinks, reds, oranges and yellows, there’s sure to be a peony for every taste and style.

Peonies bloom beautifully outdoors, but they are also a crowd-pleasing choice for gifts, wedding themes and home decor. A bouquet of pink peonies can make someone’s day, but they can look amazing as an accent flower. Peonies also have a rich and varied history that might surprise you.


Peonies in Pink

Revered in China

The history of peonies actually dates back thousands of years. There are records of the Chinese cultivating peonies from over 4,000 years ago. There are literally hundreds of varieties still in bloom there, and many have made there way to Europe and other parts of the world.

The Chinese had a reverence for the peony which continues to this day. The used them in medicine as well as in their landscaping. There are a number of beautiful paintings, drawings and poems dedicated to the peony in Chinese history. It was so revered, legend has it that one of China’s more eccentric empresses, Empress Wu Zetian, got so jealous that she banished them from the royal gardens during her rule.

Greek Origins and Healing Properties

The Greeks regarded the peony as medicinal, and their name is derived from Paian, who was the physician of the gods. Both the Greeks and Romans used peonies in herbal remedies, and this tradition continued into the Middle Ages. Benedictine monks north of the Alps grew them in their monastery gardens.

Christians in the Middle Ages believed peonies were symbolic of healing, feminine beauty, and wealth. Peony seed capsules and roots were used in a number of healing applications, including for stomach and bladder issues, jaundice, labor pains, nightmares, and neurological problems. Many of the peony hybrids available today have their roots in the Middle Ages.


Lovely and Luxurious

The 19th century saw Impressionist artists using the peony as subject matter, and it was depicted in gorgeous paintings created by Renoir, Gauguin, Manet, Fantin-Latour, Delacroix, Bazille, and others.

Today, peonies are appreciated in gardens, arrangements and within assortments of a variety of flowers. Contact Central Square Florists to order peonies for your home or as a beautiful springtime gift for someone you care about.