Peony: The Flower of The Empress

Festiva Maxima Peony (top), Bowl of Beauty Peony (left)


Some of the earliest written records about the relationship between peonies and humans describes peony flowers being used for flavoring food. Confucius himself said he “ate nothing without peony sauce.” Many paintings of peonies feature the seedpods of the plant because they are valuable medicine, as well as the roots. The Tang dynasty famously had an imperial peony garden until the empress became furious with them for being unwilling to flower in winter, so she banished them from the city as punishment. Paeonia lactiflora have long been associated with their homeland, China, elegance, fertility, and motherhood. The large white, pink, red, and coral blossoms can be anywhere from 6-8″ across and are the #1 most coveted flower for brides and a favorite for Mother’s Day flowers.

Bloom time: May

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