Myths, Magic and a little History
were already popular in China and grown for cultivation some 2,000 to 4,000
years ago depending on the source of information. The Chinese name for the Peony
is "Sho Yo", or "Most Beautiful". Poetry, legend and art all
refer to the flower and to this day, the peony is used in many Chinese
decorations. Japan was the following country to be captivated by this flower
after Chinese Buddhist monks brought tales of this flower to Japan.
Greek Gods on Mount Olympus also encountered this flower and according to legend
were responsible for giving it its name.
to Greek mythology, the Peony was named for Paeon, a physician. Poor Paeon made
the mistake of getting caught up in a feud between two gods. Paeon healed Pluto’s
wounds after a fight with another god using a plant found on the slopes of Mount
Olympus. As a result, Paeon made an deadly enemy of the opponent god, but was
saved from the fate of dying as other mortals, by being turned into the very
same plant which Paeon had used to heal the first god.
and superstition have always been close to the peony. According to legend,
powerful forces reside in the blossom of a plant that glows in the dark on the
night of a full moon. Seeds from certain peonies radiate a pale light in the
darkness. To keep the magic, the roots could only be dug during the night.
According to the legend, punishment for disturbing a peony during daylight hours
was terrible; woodpeckers would appear and peck the culprit’s eyes out.
However, the Boon Pioenrozen staff have ample experience with disturbing
peonies and still enjoy excellent eyesight !
peony was already described by Pliny in 87 AD and continued to be popular during
medieval times. Charlemagne reportedly described it as "the friend of
physicians and the praise of cooks", which probably best characterizes how
herbs played such a role in both the kitchen and for medicinal purposes an
important part in everyday life.
1830, the genus "Paeonia" belongs to the "Paeoniaceae"
family (before then it belonged to the "Ranunculaceae" family). The
plants belonging to the family of "Paeoniaceae" grow on the northern
hemisphere. The genus
"Paeonia" has approximately 30 - 42 varieties, which can be divided
into herbaceous and woodly peonies. Woodly peonies (tree peonies) have often
more flowers per stalk. Tree peonies are, contrary to its name, seldom higher
than two meters and are effectively a shrub.