What is Peony Flower? Its History and Symbolisms

A flower that blooms for 100 years or longer.

Spring is the time of the year that takes a seasonal highlight for peony's incredible beauty for a short period only. That is why the peony flower has and always makes its mark.  The mystical qualities and its alluring beautiful blossoms heightened its popularity globally. Though we have not seen the use of peonies in medicine and culinary applications, they remained popular up to this date because of their breathtaking beauty and rich heritage, and prevalent symbolism across different cultures.

Its Name

A handful of theories about the origin of this striking, beautiful flower, peony. One theory has been told in Greek mythology where Paeon is the student of the Greek god of medicine, Aesculapius, and the teacher became jealous of the talents of Paeon. In the Greek myth, Zeus had to save Paeon from his teacher's wrath by turning him into a Peony flower. Another famous Greek mythology is about the nymph named Paeonia. Paeonia is a beautiful and attractive maiden that captures the attention of Apollo. Apollo flirted with Paeonia. When Paeonia noticed that Aphrodite was watching them, she turned bright red and became bashful. Aphrodite got angry and transformed the nymph into a red peony. Hence, the red peony represents bashfulness.

Its Discovery and Location

Peony flower was first discovered in Chinese gardens around 1,000 BC and reached Japan around the 8th century. Peonies were brought over to Europe in the late 1800s and became a significant hit in the European market. It immediately reached all over the European gardens and went beyond North America. 

Its History, Myths, and Symbolisms

  • In Ancient Greece, there are many legends and myths about the name and symbolism of the Peony flower. One famous tale is its name from the Greek physician of the gods named Paeon. According to Greek legend, Paeon was the student of the Greek god of medicine, Aesculapius. Paeon healed Pluto when he first used a peony root on his ailment, and this incident triggered Aesculapius to kill him because of jealousy with his talents. Pluto transformed him into a peony flower to save and show compassion to Paeon and knew right then that people would admire and praise it as a beautiful flower. Therefore, peony became a symbol of compassion.
  • As taken into account, during medieval times the peony roots and seeds were used and believed to cure over twenty diseases, including epilepsy and snake bites.
  • British children in England even wore peony roots as necklaces to prevent seizures and aid in their teething pain.
  • Peonies are native to China and referred to as the "King of Flowers." It was their national flower until 1929. Its popularity was during the Sui and Tang dynasties when it was planted at the Imperial Palace. Thus, the peony flower became a symbol of nobility, honor, and wealth. They also believe that peonies bring good luck and become symbols of friendship and feminine beauty.
  • Luoyang is one of China's famous cities and named the City of Peonies, where the National Peony Garden is located. The National Peony Garden has over 100 different peonies and the primary host for an annual peony festival.
  • Japanese as well-considered peony flower as the "King of Flowers," and for them, peonies represent wealth, honor, good fortune, masculinity, and bravery.
  • In Europe, peonies are widely cultivated for their distinct and enticing fragrance.

Different Varieties of Peony

As mentioned earlier, peers come in a wide range of color variations, and each shade is imbued with different meanings and symbolism. Here are some of the most common colors of the Peony flower and its representations.

Based on Color Form

  • Pink Peony Flower is considered the most romantic type of peony, making it a popular wedding bouquet and wedding flower table arrangement. It symbolizes the beauty of marriage. Also, it represents love at first sight.
  • White Peony Flower - This flower represents the story behind the peony's bashful origin. It is an excellent choice for communicating your regret for embarrassing someone or yourself, for that matter. On the other hand, it also symbolizes shame, shyness, and apology.
  • Red Peony Flower - This is more often gifted as a wedding anniversary flower and serves as a symbol of love. This flower has been highly prized in China and Japan that strongly represents honor and respect. It also became the emblem of wealth and prosperity in Eastern culture.

Based on Flower Form

  • Single - This type of peony flower has only one or double row of petals. It is sometimes mistaken as a more prominent type of wild rose. Some known single peony flowers are called "Roselette', 'Krinkled White' and 'Scarlet Heaven.'
  • Japanese - This type of peony flower has a single or double row of petals but with stamens that look like a narrow petal, and some have yellow yolk-like centers.  Some known Japanese peony flowers are called 'Garden Lace", 'Mahogany' and 'Walter Mains.'
  • Anemone - This type of peony flower has a single or double row of petals but with stamens transformed into broad petals or what they commonly called petaloids. Some known Anemone peony flowers are called 'Bouquet Perfect,' 'Belleville' and 'Gay Parce.'
  • Semi-double - This type of peony flower has many rows of petals with some stamens and anthers as extra petals. Some known semi-double peonies are called 'Buckeye Belle,' 'Coral Sunset' and 'Garden Treasure.'

Based on Growing Behavior

  • Herbaceous Peonies are also called garden peonies, the most popular and common peonies. This type of peonies blooms in the late spring to early summer for 7 to 10 days. This variant is considered to be the most fragrant of them all. Their distinct growing behavior is that they grow from 2 feet to 3 feet tall with flowers with different pink, red, or white shades. The most common known herbaceous peonies are called 'Shirley Temple,' 'Coral Charm,' and 'Lady Alexandra Duff.'
  • Tree Peonies - This type of peonies are woody perennial shrubs and bloom in springtime. Their distinct growing behavior is that they grow at a sluggish pace as tall as 7 feet high with large flowers with white, pink, and pale yellow shades. The most common known  Tree Peonies are 'Hana Kisoi,' 'Impumon,' and 'Sakura Jishidi.'
  • Itoh Peonies - This type of peonies are intersectional peony hybrids created by crossing a tree peony and herbaceous peony. Their distinct growing behavior is that it can bloom with 50 or more big flowers on strong short stems that no longer need stalking, and it can bloom for a long as three to four weeks and produce flowers in vibrant yellow and gold tint peonies. The most common known Itoh peonies are called 'Garden Treasure' and 'Bartzella.'

Its Botanical Characteristic

A particular peony form known as the Paeonia herb has taken the stage as an Eastern Traditional Medicine for centuries. Traditional eastern medicine doctors prescribed the Paeonia herb for abdominal pain and urination problems.

Recent studies and scientific findings have found that the compounds found in a common Peony have a great potential to treat mast cell accumulation, severe antibiotic-resistant infections, and inflammatory reactions with no direct cause. But the results have been based on the purified extracts of the plant, so do not expect the same results if you try do-it-yourself ingestion of Peony bark.

Its Symbolism

Flower symbolism dates back hundreds of years when people used flowers to express the importance of an event, becoming a great source of information about history and other human work areas.

Flowers have been used as symbols in art and literature. It was used to express almost every shape of human emotions. Meanings associated with a flower can tell us so much about its existence and how people have seen it.

Here are some of the Peony flower's meanings created by people. The stories about its existence have been honored and used as its symbolism up to this day.

  • Honor - It became a symbol of honor. This flower is meant for the people who made their families proud by being successful and becoming a great gift for graduates or any successful event.
  • Romance. It became a symbol of romance and love. Therefore, peony flower became a favorite bouquet to gift for your crush or committed partner to show how deep and passionate your feelings are.
  • Beauty - It is a symbol of beauty and grace. This symbolism is somewhat the most accepted in most cultures because this also reflects what kind of flower is peony, beautiful.
  • Bashfulness - It is a  symbol of bashfulness and shame. This has been linked to Western culture, so you need to be careful when gifting this flower to someone because you might express these negative associations instead.
  • Wealth - It is a symbol of wealth. The peony flower in Eastern culture has long been part of royal gardens and balconies. Thanks to its fragile and gentle beauty, it became a status symbol and one of royalties' favorite flower.

Fun Facts about Peony Flower

  1. It is the state flower of Indiana.
  2. The Chinese name for peony as translated means "most beautiful."
  3. It is the flower to be given for the 12th wedding anniversary.
  4. Many superstitions were based around peonies, such as if your peony bush is full of flowers, it will bring you good luck, but if the leaves dry up and the flowers have discoloration, it is a bad omen and instilled you to be prepared for disaster.
  5. Another superstition is that an odd number of blooms is considered bad luck.

Now that we know the intriguing mysteries and symbolism of the Peony flower. We are set to look at different Peony sterling silver jewelry pieces handcrafted by our leading artisans to have this stunning springtime flower be in its sparkling timeless beauty.

Peony Flower Brooch Peony Flower Pendant

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 happy marriage.

The silver flower blooms, its stigma made of naturally colored tourmaline gem, each of these nature-inspired sterling silver jewelry, is meticulously crafted by our artisans, down to its petals.

  • Peony Leaf Ring

A silver leaf folds itself around your finger, forming a perfect ring to compliment your casual wear, topped off with a naturally colored Tourmaline. This handmade sterling silver jewelry ring was meticulously crafted by our artisans, down to the leaf's vines.

The Peony Leaf Ring is sterling silver shaped into a resizable ring, perfect for any nature-loving lady.

A piece of handmade sterling silver jewelry inspired by the meaning and beauty of Peony flower has encouraged our team to present this collection of Peony flower - a nature-inspired sterling silver collection just for you, created uniquely and meticulously for every woman in the world. Check it out in our online store, Lotus Fun, and have a timeless masterpiece. Peony sterling silver jewelry just for yourself or for your special loved ones will surely be a great addition to their silver jewelry collection.


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"Something is handmade is so much more meaningful"

Beth Wert