peony was the national flower of China until 1929 (now the
country flower of China is a plum). The tree peony is called
BOTAN, while peony is called SHAKUYAKU in Japanese. Both
names were originally Chinese, these plants being brought to
Japan in the Nara Period (710-794) as medicinal plants. The tree
peony has enchanted the Chinese and been called the "king of
flowers" for many years.
its popularity in the Edo period. The gardening book, "KADAN
CHIKINSHO", written by IHEI SANNOJO in 1695 introduced 481
tree peony cultivars. At the beginning of the Edo Period, a twice
flowering tree peony was bred by someone, and it was called KAN
BOTAN (= winter tree peony). This cultivar sprouts flower buds in
late autumn. After wrapping the tree with dry straw to
protect it against the coldness, it then blooms in the New Year
period. Because of the appearance of this cultivar, people got to
enjoy tree peonies twice a year and tree peony gardens appeared
in many places throughout Japan. The Japanese have been fond
of peonies too, but tree peonies are more special for everyone.
However, Japanese peony cultivars are Paeonia lactiflora and
originally brought from China in the old times.
The background of this page is a traditional pattern
for KIMONO (Japanese costume)