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The legend says the peony is named after Paeon (also spelled Paean), a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. Asclepius became jealous of his pupil; Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower.
Peonies are native to Asia, Southern Europe and Western North America.
Over 262 compounds have been obtained so far from the plants of Paeoniaceae.
Biological activities include antioxidant, antitumor, antipathogenic, immune-system-modulation activities, cardiovascular-system-protective activities and central-nervous-system activities.
Peonies are also extensively grown as ornamental plants for their very large, often scented flowers.
In 1957, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law to make the peony the state flower of Indiana, a title which it holds to this day. It replaced the zinnia, which had been the state flower since 1931.
Original photography by Elena Nosyreva, digitally enhanced with textures.
© All copyrights reserved by Elena Nosyerva, 2013
July 25th, 2013
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