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May - The Mythology of the Peony

In Ancient Greek mythology there are varying myths surrounding the Peony. The first tale tells the story of Paeon who was the physician of the gods and student of Asclepius, god of medicine.

Hades, god of the underworld was shot with an arrow by Heracles, and it was Paeon who extracted liquid from the root of the Peony that helped heal him.

Asclepius was angry to have been shown up by his student and wanted to kill him, but Zeus showed mercy and saved Paeon by turning him into a Peony. 

The other myth says the Peony is named after a nymph named Paeonia who attracted the attention of Apollo, god of the sun. Jealous and spiteful, Aphrodite turned her into a peony.

The Peony therefore is a healing, magical plant but also a symbol of misfortune.