There are few plants that produce such impressive flowers as the peony. When they are still in bud, peonies are rather ugly ducklings. But once they start to bloom, they undergo an explosive transformation and an incredible number of delicate petals appear in no time. The go from ugly duckling to beautiful swan! Perhaps this is the reason why peonies are considered a sign of love, happiness, health, prosperity and blossoming romance.
Many colours and shapes
The great thing about the peony is that there are more than a thousand varieties, in all sorts of colours and shapes. Some have double sets of flowers, or a single row of petals; some are pink, red, yellow, or white…
The origins of the peony
The Dutch name for peony is ‘pioenroos’, which translates to ‘peony rose’. However, peonies are in fact not related to roses. Instead, they are part of the paeoniaceae family. They originate in China where they were mainly grown for their roots, which are said to be haemostatic and reduce fever.
The roots of today’s cultivated peonies should not be eaten, however. The peony was brought to Europe in 1780.