One of the most beloved fresh-cut flowers available in late spring and early summer, the peony features large blooms that are often quite fragrant. Native to temperate regions in Asia, Europe, and western North America, peonies are mostly herbaceous perennials or woody shrubs with compound, deeply-lobed leaves.
Legend has it that the peony is named after the ancient Greek physician Paeon who studied under Asclepius, the god of medicine. When Asclepius grew jealous of Paeon’s brilliance and began to threaten him, Zeus, the king of the gods, intervened by turning Paeon into the peony flower.
Peonies have been cultivated for literally thousands of years. In China as early as the sixth and seventh centuries, peonies were developed as a medical treatment for inflammation. With the changes and growth of dynasties, popularity for the flowers spread far and wide, reaching Europe and Japan, which are now major peony producers.
Peony flowers are generally classified into 5 types based on how “doubled” their blooms are. Here are a few you may see opening up!
image via: Wayside Gardens
These are peonies with only a few broad petals surrounding a mass of pollen-bearing stamen and carpels containing the seeds.
image via: Plantsmap
Not quite a double bloom but not quite a single, these peonies have broader stamens and larger anthers.
image via: paeo.de
These peonies have many rows of petals with varying stamen and anthers present. Some of the stamen and anthers have been transformed into petals.
image via: whiteflowerfarm
Featuring a dense ball-like shape, these peonies no longer have visible stamen or anthers because they have all been transformed into petal-like tissue that is surrounded by larger guard petals.
image via leafari
All stamen and anthers have been transformed into large petals that are relatively uniform.
Check out all of PlantShed’s available bouquets and floral arrangements that feature peonies HERE.