The Peony is named after Paeon, a student of Asclepius, the Greek God of medicine and healing. When Asclepius became jealous of his pupil, Zeus saved him by turning him into the Peony flower.This particular issue, which will be released by the Ascension Island Post on 22nd June 2011 , depicts four stunning varieties produced in the style of traditional Chinese Art. The four 50p stamps appear in a Souvenir Sheet only with a decorative border of Peonies and butterflies.
Found in both the East and West, the first use of Peonies appears to have been for their medicinal value as long as 2,000 years ago, with all parts of the flower, bark and root supposedly having some medicinal property.
Although in the West we have ceased to consider the Peony of medical importance, it is still used extensively in the East and is said to be ideal for cooling and nourishing the blood.
The Peony is particularly popular in China and Japan for it’s beauty and as well being grown throughout those countries, the Peony flower appears in a very wide range of Art, Poetry and Literature, although even Renoir and Fantin-Latour used the Peony in their paintings in the 19th century. So popular is the Peony as an ornamental flower that in America it has it’s own special Society, APS, which was founded in 1904 and various other Peony Societies exist throughout the world.