With ruffles of feathery petals the Peony is my flower of choice for my May birthday.
Friendship, Compassion & A Happy Marriage
In one Greek Myth, Paeon was a student of Asclepius, the Greek God of Medicine and Healing. Paeon extracted a milky liquid from the root of a peony and cured Pluto. This angered the jealous Asclepius who threatened to kill him. Zeus showed compassion and saved Paeon by turning him into a flower, the Peony.
In China, Peonies were known as "the flower of riches & honour" and used to decorate the imperial palaces. They became symbolic of
good fortune and a happy marriage. The Chinese name for 'most beautiful' translates to 'peony'.
It was considered unlucky to dig up Peonies during the Middle Ages & the Victorian era, as this would unleash evil faeries - probably from another Greek myth in which naked nymphs hid in Peonies!
But Peonies in a garden were reputed to protect a house from evil spirits. Necklaces of seeds were worn to counter lunacy, epilepsy & nightmare. The roots were worn by children to help them cut their teeth (dug up by dogs to avoid bad luck!)
The Peony is one of the most popular wedding bouquet flowers. It is also official flower for a 12th wedding anniversary.