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In Japan, Paeonia lactiflora used to be called ebisugusuri ("foreign medicine"). In kampo (the Japanese adaptation of Chinese medicine), its root was used as a treatment for convulsions. It is also cultivated as garden plant. In Japan it is said that Chinese people call Paeonia lactiflora "prime minister of flowers".


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  • peoniered
Last edited by Inda
Mischievous nymphs were said to hide in the petals of the Peony thus casing this magnificent flower to be given the meaning of Shame or Bashfulness in the Language of Flowers. It was named after Pæon, a physician to the gods, who obtained the plant on Mount Olympus from the mother of Apollo. Once planted the Peony likes to be left alone and punishes those who try to move it by not flowering again for several years. Once established, however, it produces splendid blooms each year or decades. (Taken from The Language of Flowers, edited by Sheila Pickles, 1990)

Peonies are also extensively grown as ornamental plants for their very large, often scented flowers.


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  • peoniestwo
Thank you for the Blushing Peony thread.
Summer is most surely on the way. I see peonies everywhere.

I found this very appropriate painting from one of Inda's older posts


Carman, Bliss, (1861-1929)
"Pionia virtutem habet occultam."
Arnoldus Villanova.--1235-1313.

Arnoldus Villanova
Six hundred years ago
Said Peonies have magic,
And I believe it so.

There stands his learned dictum
Which any boy may read,
But he who learns the secret
Will be made wise indeed.

Astrologer and doctor
In the science of his day,
Have we so far outstripped him?
What more is there to say?
His medieval Latin
Records the truth for us,
Which I translate--virtutem
Habet occultam--thus:

She hath a deep-hid virtue
No other flower hath.
When summer comes rejoicing
A-down my garden path,
In opulence of color,
In robe of satin sheen,
She casts o'er all the hours
Her sorcery serene.

A subtile, heartening fragrance
Comes piercing the warm hush,
And from the greening woodland
I hear the first wild thrush.
They move my heart to pity
For all the vanished years,
With ecstasy of longing
And tenderness of tears.

By many names we call her,--
Pale exquisite Aurore,
Luxuriant Gismonda
Or sunny Couronne d'Or.
What matter,--Grandiflora,
A queen in some proud book,
Or sweet familiar Piny
With her old-fashioned look?

The crowding Apple blossoms
Above the orchard wall;
The Moonflower in August
When eerie nights befall;
Chrysanthemum in autumn,
Whose pageantries appear
With mystery and silence
To deck the dying year;

And many a mystic flower
Of the wildwood I have known,
But Pionia Arnoldi
Hath a transport all her own.
For Peony, my Peony,
Hath strength to make me whole,--
She gives her heart of beauty
For the healing of my soul.

Arnoldus Villanova,
Though earth is growing old,
As long as life has longing
Your guess at truth will hold.
Still works the hidden power
After a thousand springs,--
The medicine for heartache
That lurks in lovely things.
Last edited by yoko

The peonies bloom, white and pink.
And inside each, as in a fragrant bowl,
A swarm of tiny beetles have their conversation,
For the flower is given to them as their home.

Mother stands by the peony bed,
Reaches for one bloom, opens its petals,
And looks for a long time into peony lands,
Where one short instant equals a whole year.

Then lets the flower go. And what she thinks
She repeats aloud to the children and herself.
The wind sways the green leaves gently
And speckles of light flick across their faces.

The charms of the ordinariness soothe the threat of anxiety.

Czeslaw Milosz


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  • peoniespalette
Last edited by Sue 1
This is a very beautifull thread.

Vicky 2Hearts

Han Yü (AD 768-824)

Translated by Kenneth O. Hanson

Song For The Peony
What a marvellous
flower, cries Han Yü
no other

makes spring seem
so splendid
red petals green

stem too unearthly
to bloom just
because it's the season.

Your fragrance is
slight as a
nobleman's smile — what

a sharp pair of scissors
it must take to
fashion you

to hang your head modestly
for, as the peach

and the plum blossom do.
Giggling girls
holding onto

each other's sleeves
come here
to compare themselves

with you — red
petals red cheeks after

bronze mirrors
behind their green shutters

Spring wine
sweet as honey we
drink to you

else knows our secret
delight — who's this

singing drunk
in front of the peony?

Han Yü, the crazy —
madman of Ch'u!


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  • peoniespainting
When you look at a peony, you first see the whole flower, its color and shape.
As you keep looking, you see the petals and veins and stamens and pistils.
When you look more closely still, you see the segments and shading in the
petals, until you begin to feel the vastness of those details. to see the vastness
by looking at one thing in its details is to see its sacred connection to space and
to all other things. ... When you see an object illuminated by space, when you
see with your heart, the object actually communicates back to you. When you
cherish something, it glows. It tells you where it belongs and how you should
present it, because you see it so clearly. Then you follow its magical instructions,
you create a work of art."
- Jeremy Haywood, A Guide to the Sacred World of Shamabhala Warriorship, p. 130

Last edited by Vicky2
Ode on Melancholy:

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Imprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.



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  • peoniewhite
Last edited by Sue 1
Peonies are blooming again in all the gardens,
and they are truly magical.

Some believed that the peony blossom had seeds that glowed in the dark, and that the petals hid mischievous nymphs. Over the generations and in many different countries this cultivated plant was continuously refined, whether it was by the English adding a flourish to the simple, clean and graceful species, or the French developing a hybrid to create better quality blooms.


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  • peonies
I am glad that you brought back this timely thread, Inda.
The Peonie bushes in my garden are filled with buds, ready to open.
Quite a few are already blooming in various gardens, and as you said, they are magical.

Today a number of medical researchers throughout the world are isolating compounds in peonies and evaluating their medical potential. The available research suggests that there are numerous useful compounds found in peonies and it is possible to project that in time researchers will be using compounds found in peony to create modern drugs to treat some of our more serious diseases.


Last edited by Sue 1
My Peonies are at their best at the moment.
They are truly beautiful.

According to Greek mythology, the Peony was named for Paeon, a physician. As usual in theGreek myths, Paeon made the mistake of becoming involved with the gods, getting caught up in their personal problems. He helped one in time of trouble, making an enemy of another faction, and was saved from the fate of dying as other mortals, by being turned into a plant. The very same plant Paeon had used to heal the first god.


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  • peonieplus
Thank you for bringing back this post Sue.

The peonies are truly blooming already.

Peonies: A Poem by Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?


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  • peonieswhite
Last edited by Inda

White peonies blooming along the porch

send out light

while the rest of the yard grows dim.
Outrageous flowers as big as human

heads! They’re staggered

by their own luxuriance: I had

to prop them up with stakes and twine.
The moist air intensifies their scent,

and the moon moves around the barn

to find out what it’s coming from.
In the darkening June evening

I draw a blossom near, and bending close

search it as a woman searches

a loved one’s face.

Jane Kenyon

Last edited by Sue 1
Thank you girls, love your words.

Yesterday afternoon we, a group of Swiss ladies, were invited by the wife of our Ambassador to the residence of the Embassy. Which were the flowers on the tables in the magnificent rooms? Peonies .... oh so beautiful, pink/lilac ones. I just took a few pictures with my cellphone (must upload them).

May the rain stop and allow the peonies to display their magnificence.

Margherita 2Hearts
White peonies blooming along the porch

send out light

while the rest of the yard grows dim.
Outrageous flowers as big as human

heads! They’re staggered

by their own luxuriance: I had

to prop them up with stakes and twine.
The moist air intensifies their scent,

and the moon moves around the barn

to find out what it’s coming from.
In the darkening June evening

I draw a blossom near, and bending close

search it as a woman searches

a loved one’s face.

Jane Kenyon

Last edited by Sue 1

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