Peony Flower Meaning, Symbolism, and Uses

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You might be thinking this is pronounced like puny – but it isn’t! It is nowhere sounding like puny or looking like it! Peonies are such gorgeous blooms and an alluring fragrance it is like roses but minus the thorns – it is the perfect alternative!

There is a mystery behind this flower that dates back to the time of the ancient Greek gods.  You might just find yourself enjoying this and growing Peonies in your garden and indoor floral decors because of its uses. It is popular in the ornamental industry and is a flower traditionally used in folkloric medicine. 

The peony is a beautiful flower that has an equally beautiful floral meaning and symbolism. A white or purple peony blossom means beauty or grace. Meanwhile, a pink or red peony blossom symbolizes a happy life and love. Lastly, a yellow or an orange peony blossom represents energy and bashfulness.

History of the Peony Plant

The peony or collectively called peonies made its debut definition in the 14th century. It is a perennial flowering plant with double petalled flowers. In fact, these flowers are one of the most common ornamentals in the floral industry! 

The flowers were first cultivated in the gardens of China and by the eighth century, these flowers reached Japan making it one of the major producers of peonies. Even after 100 years, the flowers are still so beautiful and prized.

The peonies are a part of the genus Paeonia of the Paeoniaceae or the Peony family. There are about 30 wonderful species of this plant where a majority of which are native in regions of Europe, Asia, and North America! 

The name peony or paeony comes from an array of words such as the Anglo-French word Peonie or Pioiné, or the Greek word Paiōnia. And what could this possibly mean? These words are actually referring to the mythological physician of the gods – Paiōn Paeon! 

Peony season is most enjoyed during the early summer to late spring under a sunny spot. Some care tips – peonies bloom best with a little flower food and garden love. 

Unlike other flowers, the Paeony is classified into three distinct floral groups – the herbaceous Eurasian Peonies, the Asian tree Peonies, and the North American Peonies which are the original true varieties.

Some of the popular peony varieties from these groups include the Chinese Peony (P. lactiflora), the European common Peony (P. officinalis), the Brown’s Peony (P. browni), and the California Peony (P. californica).

Symbolism of Peony Blossoms

The first bloom of the peony flower symbolizes forthcoming good fortune and compassion. A floral peony symbolism also stands for love, prosperity, and peace. Once it finishes blooming, some say this moment of beauty represents attributes of honor, valor, and nobility. 

There is also an eastern and western saying about the symbolism for this flower. The eastern culture symbolism of the peony is masculinity and brightness while the western beliefs say this is a symbolism of boldness and prosperity.

In some customs, a peony is an appropriate gift for a romantic partner when wanting fresh starts or new beginnings together. It is in fact, a great floral gift for wedding anniversaries – the 12th wedding anniversary for that!

Aside from symbolizing a new beginning, a peony can also symbolise good luck or symbolise bashfulness too. In fact, you can find the National Peony Garden located in China and is also the official flower of China. Peonies are also the state flower or national flower of Indiana. 

Meaning of Peony Flowers

The peony flower’s meaning is not quite what you would expect to be. In the Victorian language of flowers, the peony meaning had always been about having the power to keep a deep secret.

What could this deep secret be? A deep and passionate feeling of love and romance! Oddly enough, if this was not the secret someone intended to keep – well this flower means entirely something else. That could either be an embarrassment or shame!

Here are the different colors and the special meanings behind each of the peony colors.

What does a White Peony Flower Mean?

White peonies are special white flowers. A white peony flower conveys the meaning of young girls who have a very distinguished beauty and uncanny sense of humor! 

What does a Red Peony Blossom Symbolize?

Like other red flowers, these kinds are always special especially if a different colored flower turned red. Red peony symbolism features the female genitalia and the morning dew representing semen. Some say that the symbolism of red peonies represent love and procreation. 

What does a Pink Peony Floret Indicate?

A pink peony either has hot pink or pale pink petals. Luscious pink peonies indicate two of the possible best and many things in life – a happy marriage or relationship and well, a happy life!

What does a Yellow Peony Bloom Represent?

Yellow flowers are nothing but sunshine. Yellow peonies have a very positive and energetic representation. Like all great things, these flowers present good health and are known as an aphrodisiac! These flowers are an amazing housewarming gift or a gift for a friend with a new job.

What does an Orange Peony Flower Symbolize?

Paeonia flowers with orange petals are symbolic of bashfulness and strong feelings of anger and resentment. 

What does a Purple Peony Blossom Mean?

Prim purple peonies send the meaning of grace and refinement. With their double petals arranged so delicately, these flowers are a sight to truly enjoy! 

What is the Cultural Significance of a Peony Flower?

Peony flowers are very well-loved across the globe – these flowers even have symbols from the east and west parts of the world!

In Europe, the peonies are common floral motifs of a romantic love stone. European folks often used the flowers in wedding festivities and in celebrating anniversaries. 

For the traditional Chinese culture, the flowers had an important role during the Sui and Tang dynasties. It was called sho yu and was known as a floral symbol of good luck and is often decorated in home offices for good work and accomplishments! 

Japanese folk also regard Peonies as imperial flowers. It is a floral emblem of Summer and is commonly associated with the peacock. For the Japanese, these symbolize spring, fertility, riches, and dignity.

pink peony

What is the Biblical Meaning of a Peony Bloom?

Now, the biblical meaning of a Paeonia bloom isn’t exactly stated in the Holy Bible. In truth, quite a few devout Christians have come to believe that this flower is associated with the Holy Spirit.

This is because a few certain species bloom during the Holiday season and that its trefoil leaves stand for the three holy figures – the Father, Christ, and Holy Spirit. 

A European Christian festival is celebrated yearly with these flowers as the main ornamentals. During the Whitsun feast or the Christian Pentecost after the Seventh Sunday of Easter, peonies take the floral limelight and are fabulously decorated in all churches with their petals! 

What is the Spiritual Influence of a Peony Floret?

The essence and mere presence of a peony has a very strong influence on the environment and self spirituality. Its double petaled beauty and magic offer an inner spiritual cleansing and healing of the mind and body.

It removes all emotions and weights of past burden and trauma bringing forth only good health and fortune. After prospering with this, the floral essence will provide a sense of protection and confidence that can help ensure peace and serenity within. 

Alas, once in full bloom and fully awakened the peony will reveal that all the luxury and success in life lies not only in wealth but most especially in health! 

What is the Folktale Associated with a Peony Blossom?

Peonies are no doubt the most favorite florals of the traditional folk in China. Some Chinese folks have then come to believe that having peonies in homes will influence positive energy for the man and woman to live together in harmony. 

Although the same harmony does not apply to old age couples because this can entice cheating of the man or woman on younger partners! 

Another folktale focuses on the magical creatures of ancient times. It was said that several mischievous nymphs hid in the petals of peonies because of their bashfulness and shame! Exactly where some of the meanings and symbolism came from! 

One tale from ancient Greek tells of the journey of a nymph named Paeonia. According to Greek mythology, before Paeon became the physician of the Gods, he was first a bright student of the teacher Asclepius, the Greek God of medicine and healing. 

The nymph Paeonia was so beautiful that her beauty attracted the attention of the god Apollo.  Out of spite, goddess Aphrodite turned her into a flower.

There is another myth about how the peony got its name. According to the tale, the nymph Paeon extracted a milky liquid from the peony root and cured Pluto. The act of Paeon to heal Pluto angered a green monster that eventually went on to kill Paeon. Zeus saved Paeon by turning her into the beautiful flower.

What does a Peony Floral Tattoo Symbolize?

The various traditions of the Japanese transcend from ancient times and are very well-preserved until today. The peonies in ancient Japanese tattoo art symbolizes a daring and masculine personality – for women! Now, for all the daring women who choose this design in the modern day would want to symbolize their nobility and bravery! 

Uses of Peony Plants

Peony flowers are one of the favorite florals in bridal bouquets or wedding bouquets and vases! Its double petal design bearings its many meanings and symbols are such a catch aside from its true beauty. A peony bouquet or cut peonies in a clean vase is perfect for a loved one.

To improve the vase life of peony cut flowers, add in room temperature water or lukewarm water to the vase. The water level of the warm water should be just right and the vase should be away from any fresh fruit. 

Peonies are a wonderful addition to gardens today and it is said that peony petals open faster with the right temperature of water. There are special offers today for your first order of peonies online!

In Chinese traditions, Peonies also have some folkloric medicinal benefits. The root of certain Paeonia species has been one of the most important crude drugs in traditional medicine for over 1,500 years! 

It contains analgesic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory properties that have been used to treat cardiovascular diseases and improve blood circulation. The roots were also used as a treatment for menstrual disorders such as amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, and dyspepsia. 

Meanwhile, folkloric European medicine also utilized the seeds of common peony in treating a variety of diseases and disorders. These include epilepsy, arthritis, stomach pain, cold coughs, and skin disorders. 

A word of warning that it’s a must to always consult a medical professional before using this plant or any part of it for medical purposes.

~ image source: depositphotos/ligora

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