The peonies have been blooming in central Minnesota. When I see peonies in bloom, I think of ants. My mom told me that ants are needed to open peony flowers. How cool! A symbiotic relationship, like little sucker fish on bigger fish. But, it’s not necessarily true.
A little online research on a couple of websites (peonies.org and Iowa State University Extension) featuring an early-style web layout (which certainly helps date them) shows that peonies don’t *need* ants to open, but ants take full advantage of the nectar inside. So, not really a symbiotic relationship, but that’s okay. I still like these flowers with their giant droopy blooms. I wonder why I don’t see more of them in our area. Perhaps people can’t stand the ants.
Peony is an odd word. There are two ways to pronounce it. My mom always said “pee-OH-nee.” which is how I learned to say it, with stress on the long ‘O’. When my husband heard me say peony this way, he laughed. He pronounced it “PEE-uh-nee,” stress on the first syllable and the ‘O’ as “uh.”
How do you say “peony?”
2 thoughts on “Peonies and Ants”
We have some very old pink peonies planted by hubby’s auntie. I hated that we never got to see them bloom. I put an ant trap under the bush last year and that was the first time we’ve seen the flowers without ants. I am trying that again this year to see if it works again.
Ali – If the ant traps work, obviously the peonies don’t need the ants to open up.
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