January 27, 2023

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The Zau de Câmpie Peony Nature Reserve – unique in Europe – Mures News, Targu Mures News

The natural reserve of peonies in Mureș county is a magical land, where, from the beginning of May, the sun sends its gentle rays to bring these treasures of nature back to life.

The natural area is located in the western extremity of Mureș County (close to the border with Cluj County, in the Pârâului de Câmpie hydrographic basin), on the administrative territory of Zau de Câmpie and Valea Largă communes, in the central part of the Transylvanian Hilly Depression.


The steppe peony is a plant that has been growing in Romania for over 10,000 years and has a height between 10 and 30 cm. It grows in clumps and each plant produces a single bright red flower in late April or early May if the weather is cool. Up to 60 plants can live in a bush, and the lifespan of a plant is at most 60 years.

There are other places in the world where steppe peonies are present, but nowhere does this plant grow at such a high altitude as at Zau de Câmpie. It is also the only place in Romania where this species of peony grows.

Steppe peonies first came to the attention of Western botanists in the first half of the 19th century, being presented to scientists in the Austrian capital. In the botanical reserve of this commune, along with the steppe peonies, there are also other rare plant species, 350 in number, including the wild sedge, the ash, the variegated tulip, the sedge or the cow’s butter.

We all have the opportunity to visit this place, but how would it be to find out some information and opinions from the very person who brings color to the reserve, through love and involvement in its care.

Well, in the following, you will read the answers of the custodian of the reserve, Ciprian Cenan, to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Reporter: Who was the first person to take care of peonies?

Ciprian Cenan: The first person who took care of the peonies was the first custodian, Marcu Sâncraian. He took care of them for over 60 years.

Rep.: What motivates you to continue taking care of peonies?

Ciprian Cenan: What motivates me? The fact that I am aware of their value. It is a unique place, a rare flower that we should appreciate and protect as much as possible. At the same time, the desire to make as many people as possible aware of the uniqueness and beauty of this plant

Rep.: What is the most difficult thing about caring for these peonies?

Ciprian Cenan: I think the most difficult thing is to take care of them during the flowering period, when the reserve is visited intensively. After many years, we realize that it is quite difficult to protect the reserve, the flowers, the paths, as well as the order of the place in front of thousands of visitors.

Rep.: What does this reservation mean to you?

Ciprian Cenan: Good question. The place with a lot of silence and magical flowers that I feel especially connected to, which I visited whenever I could in every season, since childhood. And now from the position of custodian and photographer I have the chance to carry on the beauty of this place.

We hope that the beauty of this magical, warm and welcoming place never fades, and that you, the visitors, enjoy the colorful landscapes to the fullest.

We look forward to welcoming you to this charming land!

Article written by Anca Mara Emilia

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