Word of the week #33: peony

Chinese: 牡丹 (mu dan)
Japanese: 牡丹 (ぼたん) (botan)
Korean: 명사 (myun sa) 모란 (mu lan)

It’s been more than a month since there pallets of peonies at Costco. It was quite a sight. It was three pallets high, with multiple large pots of peonies next to the electronics section. The peonies were among other plants that were being sold for the season. There was quite a variety of peonies and it seemed that everyone who walked by one wanted to buy at least one, if not more. Some people were making phone calls about them. I think the peonies were being sold at a good price, not seen in any other stores.

I later found out that the peonies had a very nice fragrance. I don’t think I had smelled peonies before. This just may be the year of the peony. L’Occitane released a bath and body line based on the peony fragrance. There are soaps, lotions, and perfumes.

The peony is a significant flower in Chinese history. This article (“Tree Peony the soul of China”) describes the link between peonies and China. During the Qing dynasty (清朝), the peony was the national flower. In historical dramas, the princesses commonly wear peonies in their hair like this doll. The “Meaning of Peony” also has some information about the flower.


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