Paeonia, commonly known as Peony, is a genus of about 30 species of perennials and deciduous shrubs or subshrubs in the family Paeoniaceae, native to Asia, Southern Europe and North America. Peonies produce large, showy flowers in a variety of colours. They are famous for the exquisite and often fragrant flowers, which bloom in late spring and early summer. If cared for properly, Peonies can bloom for over 100 years!
Meaning: The genus was named after Paeon, a physician who studied under Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. According to legend, Pluto, the god of the underworld in Greek mythology, had complained of Asclepius diminishing the number of the dead too much. Asclepius was angry because of that. He was even more furious when he found out that Paeon extracted a milky liquid from the root of the plant to cure Pluto. Asclepius got so jealous that he ordered to kill Paeon, but Zeus saved him by turning Paeon into a beautiful flower – Peony.
Symbolism: Peony symbolizes prosperity, wealth and good fortune. It can also mean dignity, honour and compassion.