The Paeonia is mainly known as a cut flower, every mixed bouquet available from flower shops contains a Peony. Because even though the Paeonia actually only blooms in the months of April to June, these beautiful colourful flowers are available all year round. There are differences in species among the Paeonia, there are the woody ones that keep their trunk in winter, the herbaceous ones that withdraw completely in winter, and the shrub-like peonies. Most Paoenia varieties are between 0.5 and 1.2 metres high and the underground part consists of tuberous rhizomes.
When spring comes and the peonies are about to bloom, there are often many ants on the buds. This is because the Peonies secrete a juice that is very rich in carbohydrates. The ants feed on this substance but do not harm the plant.
If a Peony is moved to a new location, the Peony flowers poorly or not at all in the first year. Only in the second year, the Peony is rooted strong enough to produce flowers. But it is more than worth the wait because Peony is a beautiful ornament in every garden or vase.
History of the Paeonia
The Paeonia owes its name to a medical student named Paean
The story dates back to Greek times. According to Greek mythology, Herakles, a Greek hero, and Pluto god of the underworld, got into a fight. During this fight, Herakles injures Pluto by shooting an arrow into his shoulder. Pluto, god of the underworld, withdrew defeated to Mount Olympus in search of Asclepius, god of medicine. But Asclepius cannot be found and Pluto turns to Asklepios’ medical students. One of the students named Paean helped Pluto by healing his wound with a flower he had found on Mount Olympus. When Asclepius returns to Olympus and learns that his apprentice has healed the god Pluto, he becomes so jealous that he kills Paeonia. Zeus, the supreme god who also resides on Mount Olympus, finds Paean’s body and decides to revive him as the flower with which Paean saved Pluto’s life. According to the stories, this flower has been called Paeonia ever since.