Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mu Dan Who?

Mu Dan Pi (Paeonia suffruticosa) is a peony in our Traditional Chinese Herb Garden.  Every year, usually a little later than now, it puts on an eye-popping show that can knock your socks clear off! Tiare White, a student at Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine took this picture just the other day and we are happy to share it with everyone! 

Now mind you, I've a love/hate relationship with this plant.  I love the blooms - it is really a show stopper, but when it was planted here, with all my horticultural knowledge, I said, "It won't grow here."  And it grew.  I then retreated to the next line of defense, "It won't flower here."  Now in its third or fourth year of flowering I have a bit of a resentment at the plant that made me a liar.  But this is the state of horticulture - no one can know everything and no one can be right all the time and even if one WAS that smart, some plant would come along and make a liar out of you anyway.  

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), according to another student's notes (thank you, Jessica!), Mu Dan Pi is:
Category: Heat clearing and blood coolin
Channels: heart, liver and Kidney
“Think of as analgesic and anti-inflammatory...” 

Me, with my traditional gardener sense will just say it looks smashingly beautiful and I am very pleased to see it blooming every year, despite the deleterious effect it has had on my reputation.


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