Sunday 9 June 2019


On cue, our peonies (Paeonia officinalis oder echte Pfingstrose) are beginning to come into full bloom, coinciding with their namesake holiday Pentecost (Whitsunday, Pfingsten, seven weeks after Easter).
The plant was classified by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (who formalised the binomial nomenclature above) in the family Paeon, retaining the mythology that an apprentice of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, began to surpass his master—owing to the fact that mortals probably respond better to treatment regimes and in general clinically more remarkable than immortals—and Zeus transformed Paeon into a peony to spare him from Asclepius’ wrath. The flowers have a long history of use in traditional medicine, both in the East and the West and have pharmaceutical merit.