Sunday, May 06, 2007



Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World (New York: Random House, 2001), p. 97:
Certainly the rose and peony are Dionysian flowers, deeply sensual and captivating us as much through the senses of touch and smell as sight....The tulip, by contrast, is all Apollonian clarity and order.
But etymologically, it is the peony that is the Apollonian flower. Its name comes from Paean, and among the meanings of Paean are a title or epithet of Apollo, a choral song addressed to Apollo, and a song of triumph after victory addressed to Apollo. See Liddell & Scott s.v. Παιάν. Paean was also the physician of the gods, and it was probably its medicinal qualities that gave the peony its name.

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