Sunday, October 10, 2010

Peony Flower of Croatia. 2010


On 8th of March 2010, The Postal Administration of Croatia issued the beauty stamps, Peony flower series. The family of peony (Paeoniaceae) is composed of only one genus of about thirty herbaceous and about ten woody tree peonies spread mostly in hilly and mountainous areas in temperate zones of the north hemisphere. Several hundreds of cultivars (sorts) of different peony species are known which are in horticulture divided according to their flower shape and their size . The chosen species are Wild Peony (Paeonia mascula) and Common Peony (Paenonia Officinalis) which are found in Croatia.

For thousands of years the symbolics of peony has been present in mythologies and legends of many peoples of Europe, Asia and North America: the peony is especially respected and admired in China and Mongolia. Croatian Flora includes three species and several subspecies of peony - all of them strictly protected by the law.

resizea.aspx Wild Peony (Paeonia mascula.) is a Tertiary relic (the remainder of pristine Flora before Ice Age) a very rare plant also in Croatia, protected by the law even since 1958. It is a perennial plant, 80 cm high, with tuberous, thickened roots. Numerous, not branchy stalks are upright and bare, overgrown by leaves to the top, on which only one flower develops. The leaves are threefold, composed of integral, shiny, green leaflets. The flowers, up to 10 cm in diameter, have many yellow stamens surrounded by five petals, in colours from pink to purple. The number of petals can sometimes spontaneously increase and all the cultivars have “full” flowers with numerous petals. The Wild Peony blossoms in April and May in sunny habitats of bright and warm woods and shrubberies, at higher altitudes. As curative plant the wild peony is in some areas used in veterinary and human medical care and is a very popular decorative plant.

resize757.aspxCommon Peony (Paeonia officinalis L.),is rare in Croatia . This species has fragile structure and grows up to 60 cm, has leaves composed of leaflets split in three parts and dark red flowers with five petals. Common Peony grows in bright woods and on grassland, usually on limestones from France to Albania. In spite of its toxicity the common peony has been used in folk medicine for more than 2000 years as an effective remedy against convulsions, and today is mostly used in homeophatic remedies.Now it has been grown for centuries primarily for its curative properties but also for its beauty.

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