Carsten Burkhardt's Web Project Paeonia - The Peony Library
The Manual of the American Peony Society
EDITED BY JAMES BOYD
Copyright 1928 by American Peony Society
(Other than albiflora and moutan)
By A. P. Saunders
MANY SPECIES of the genus Paeonia are practically unknown to American gardens. Some have received attention from the plant-breeder in past times, especially in England, and today there is far more appreciation of their value there than among American growers. But it must be admitted that among the garden varieties which have been introduced there were a good many of not very conspicuous value; some of these have gradually disappeared from the catalogues of nurserymen, while other forms have never been appreciated at their true worth or have fallen into undeserved neglect. There are varieties which could never be adequately neglected with flowers of such a muddy purple color as only a perverted color-sense could tolerate. Yet who can say? Perhaps from some of the most dull and lowering magentas the magic wand of the hybridist may one day call forth, as it has done with many another plant, glowing and glorious crimsons, cerises, and pinks.
Far be it from me to attempt to unravel the knotty questions of synonymy and the delimitation of species. I shall indicate what the best authorities have said, but I shall not seek to add to their utterances.
The chief monographs on the peony are those of Anderson (1817), Baker (1884), and Lynch (1890). In connection with these must always be consulted the Index Kewensis. There are also short monographs in Nicholson's Dictionary of Gardening and in Bailey's Cyclopedia of Horticulture, but neither adds anything to the much more complete treatments of Baker and Lynch. The monograph of Anderson, the most detailed of all, now more than a century old, must be considered somewhat out of date, but it should not be lost sight of, for it is a mine of interesting information.
Through the photostat service maintained in many of the larger libraries, copies of these monographs may be had at a moderate cost by anyone who wishes to have them for consultation. For further information regarding them, see the chapter on Bibliography in this volume.
References are made in the following pages to good illustra-
MANUAL OF THE AMERICAN PEONY SOCIETY
tions of the various species where I have found any in the gardening magazines. Some of these are black and white, some in color. In addition there are color plates of a great many species and some varieties in Curtis' Botanical Magazine, The Botanical Register (later Edwards'), in Andrews' Botanists Repository, and in Loddige's Botanical Cabinet. These are often very unsatisfactory as illustrations, but with the accompanying text they are useful, and they are therefore indicated under the respective species.
The species are here taken in alphabetical order without paying direct attention to their affinities from the botanical point of viewa subject on which there has been much discussion and on which there will be much more before any final conclusions are reached. Here, too, will be found the varieties of species other than albiflora and moutan which have been introduced into commerce.
It is to be remembered that many varietal forms have been found wild and therefore only a part of the varieties listed under a species may be the result of the work of plant-breeders.
I insert here, for convenience of reference, a check list of species and varieties included in this chapter. The designation "suppl. list" refers the reader to the supplementary list at the end of the chapter. In the case of all well-established species where the name appears without reference in the following list, the species is to be sought in its proper alphabetical position in the later detailed list. The varieties will be found under the species indicated in brackets after the varietal name.
alba (decora, Delavayi, obovata, triternata)
alba mutabilis (officinalis)
alba plena (officinalis)
algeriensis (suppl. list)
amaranthescens sphaerica (officinalis)
anemoneflora aurea ligulata (officinalis)
anemoneflora elegans (officinalis)
anemoneflora pompadoura (officinalis)
anemoneflora rosea (officinalis)
atlantica (suppl. list)
atrorubra plena (officinalis)
Avant Garde (Wittmanniana)
banatica (suppl. list)
Bieberstteiniana (suppl. list)
bifurcata (suppl. list)
Blushing Maid (peregrina)
carnea plena (officinalis)
commutata (suppl. list)
Crown Prince (arietina)
Daniel Dewar (peregrina)
daurica flore pleno (officinalis)
Etoile de Pluton (officinalis)
fimbriata plena (officinalis)
Fire King (officinalis)
Gertrude Jekyll (decora)
glabrescens (suppl. list)
Grevillei rosea (peregrina)
Grevillei rubra (peregrina)
Hartwissiana (suppl. list)
hybrida (under H, but also under Wittmanniana and tenuifolia)
incarnata plena (officinalis)
Jonathan Gibson (microcarpa)
Kavachensis (suppl. list)
La Brillante (officinalis)
La Lorraine (lutea)
La Mauresque (officinalis)
La Négresse (officinalis)
leiocarpa (suppl. list)
Le Printemps (Wittmanniana)
Lize van Veen (officinalis)
Madame Louis Henry (lutea)
Mai fleuri (Wittmanniana)
Mairei (suppl. list)
maxima rosea plena (officinalis)
Max Leichtlin (arietina)
modesta (suppl. list)
monticola (suppl. list)
Noble pourpre (officinalis)
Northern Glory (arietina)
Otto Froebel (officinalis)
oxypetala (suppl. list)
Peter Barr (anomala)
pomponia striata (officinalis)
pomponia violacea (officinalis)
MANUAL OF THE AMERICAN PEONY SOCIETY
pulchella plena (officinalis)
Purple Emperor (arietina)
purpurea plena (officinalis)
Reine de Mai (Wittmanniana)
Revelieri (suppl. list)
rosea pallida plena (officinalis)
rosea plena (officinalis)
rosea superba plena (officinalis)
Rosy Gem (arietina)
rubescens plena (officinalis)
rubra plena (officinalis)
rubra striata (officinalis)
Ruby Queen (peregrina)
sanguinea plena (officinalis)
Satin Rouge (lutea)
Souvenir de Maxime Cornu (lutea)
splendens (officinalis, Wittmanniana)
striata elegans (officinalis)
The Sultan (officinalis)
Villarsii (suppl. list)
violacea fimbfiata plena (officinalis)
violacea sphaerica (officinalis)
P. albiflora, or sinensis is the source of most varieties in American commerce, treated fully in other parts of this Manual.
P. anomala, "Occurs as a wild plant in Europe, sparingly in Lapland, and in Asia it is spread all through the western half of Siberia, especially in the Ural and Altai ranges of mountains and round Lake Baikal. It is a well-marked type midway between P. tenuifolia and P. officinalis." Baker.
Flowers bright crimson, 4 inches in diameter. (Bot. Mag., PI. 1754. Andrews Bot. Rep., 514.) Varieties:
The last, which we may assume to be a seedling raised in the Barr Nurseries, is a good plant with flowers of a brilliant and effective crimson.
P. arborea. Syn. P. moutan.
P. arietina. Referred by Kew to P. peregrina. "Not distinct from peregrina in a broad sense. ' Baker.
Flowers dark red, 4 inches in diameter. (Bot. Reg., Pl. 819, var. cretica.)
oxoniensis. Syn. cretica
PEONY SPECIES .
Such of these varieties as I have had in cultivation have not shown themselves to be particularly desirable, the shades of red inclining too much toward a dull and purplish color.
The variety cretica has been sometimes given specific rank. It often goes under the name P. arietina oxoniensis. It is said to be one of the first peonies to bloom, coming even before P. tenuifolia. The flowers are pale rose or nearly white. The plant occurs wild in the mountains of Crete.
P. Bakeri (P. peregrina byzantina, Hort. Barr), Lynch. Flowers 4-5 inches in diameter, deep rose. This species was first recognized by Lynch in his monograph. It is regarded by Kew as distinct.
P. Barri. See under P. Russi.
P. Baxteri. See under P. arietina.
P. Beresowskyi. Referred by Kew to P. anomala. The plant is alluded to by Farrer who found it, or something which he took for it, in the mountains of western China. He describes it as a species "of singular charm and delightfulness," the flowers being "in all sorts of clean tones of rosy pink, light or dark, with a golden eye of stamens and so intoxicating a fragrance of roses that all the hill becomes a rose-garden as you go by its generous jungles of large and lovely blossom in May and June." (English Rock Garden, Appendix.)
The plant is not in commerce. It was named and described by Komarov in the notes of the Botanical Garden of Petrograd, 1921. It belongs in the group including anomala, intermedia, Veitchi, and Woodwardi.
P. Broteri. Referred by Kew to P. corallina. "Intermediate between P. officinalis and P. corallina."Baker.
A native of the mountain and sub-alpine regions of Spain and Portugal. Flowers rose-red, sometimes white.
P. Browni. (Bot. Reg. 1839, PI. 30.) Found up to the snowy region on the Sierras of California. The only American species. Flower dull red, about I inch in diameter, the petals scarcely longer than the very leafy calyx. The bloom is not conspicuous for beauty.
Variety: Californica. Specific rank has sometimes been claimed for this variety, but it is probably not sufficiently distinct from the type.
P. Byzantina. Syn. P. decora. Kew. See also P. Bakeri. (Bot. Mag., PI. 1050.)
P. californica. See P. Browni.
P. Cambessedesii. Referred by Kew to P. corallina. (Bot. Mag., PI. 8161.) Native to the Balearic Islands and Corsica. Flowers deep rose-pink. Leaves bright purple beneath. There is a fine color plate of this plant in Sir Herbert Maxwell's "Garden Notebook," where it is highly praised.
P. chinensis. Syns. P. sinensis; P. albiflora.
P. corallina. A native of southern Europe and Asia Minor. Flowers
MANUAL OF THE AMERICAN PEONY SOCIETY
crimson or rose-red. The species is found on the Island of Steep Holm in the Bristol Channel, England, and therefore has sometimes been claimed as a British species, but the weight of authority is against such an assumption. Variety: flavescens
P. coriacea. Alps of Granada; mountains of Morocco and Algeria. Flowers bright crimson.
P. Corsica. Referred by Kew to P. corallina. Native to Corsica. Considered by Baker and others as a distinct species.
P. cretica. Syns. P. arietina cretica, P. arietina oxoniensis. This variety, along with the whole of P. arietina, is referred by Kew to P. peregrina.
P. daurica. Referred by Kew to P. corallina, but by Baker to P. triternata. (Bot. Mag., Vol. 35, Pl. 1441.) Native to Siberia.
P. decora. "The alliance of this is to P. arietina."Baker. Native to Anatolia, Serbia, etc. Flowers crimson.
Decora of Monte Gear
P. Delavayi. (1886.) Western China. Introduced 1904. A shrubby species closely allied to P. lutea, but the flowers instead of being clear yellow as in P. lutea, are stained with dull red or are sometimes red throughout. Also the foliage is more finely divided than in P. lutea. The plant is conspicuously handsome for its foliage, but the blooms, which hang down among the leaves, are rather unnoticeable. They have the same lily-like fragrance as those of P. lutea.
Very good illustrations in Gard. Chron., 3d. ser., Vol. 68 (1920), pp. 97-98.
angustiloba, having narrower foliage. Introduced by E. H. Wilson,
P. Emodi. A common temperate Himalayan plant from Kumaon to Kashmir at altitudes from 5,000 to 10,000 feet.
Flowers white, 3 to 4 inches in diameter, the petals about 2 inches broad. Several flowers are borne on one stem, a peculiarity shared only with P. albiflora, P. Veitchi, and P. Woodwardi.
The plant is generally considered to be akin to P. albiflora, but it is referred by Kew to P. anomala. The name is from the Greek Emodos signifying the Himalayan range.
A fine color-plate of this beautiful flower appeared in The Garden, Vol. 45 (1894), p. 70.
emodi forma glabrata
These varieties have, I think, only been made the subjects of notes in gardening papers and have never been, in any sense, distributed.
P. hirsuta. Referred to P. peregrina or to P. corallina. Probably not a true species.
P. humilis. South of France, and Spain. (Bot. Mag., PI. 1422.) "Not distinct from P. officinalis and P. peregrina in any broad sense." Baker. Flowers bright red.
P. hybrida. According to Lynch, this species which is near P. tenuifolia, is a true species and not a hybrid. Not stoloniferous. Flowers dark crimson. Baker considers it a variety of P. tenuifolia, with which Kew agrees. It is said to have originated in the St. Petersburg Botanic Garden, where it was found by Pallas growing near to its two parents (anomala and tenuifolia). This does not agree with Lynch's statement that it occurs wild in the Caucasus region.
P. intermedia. See P. anomala.
P. japonica. (Miyabe and Takeda, Gard. Chron., 3d. ser., Vol. 48 (1910), p. 366. See P. obovata.
P. Lemoinei. This name is applied to the hybrids obtained by Lemoine through crossing P. lutea with P. moutan.
P. lobata. See under P. officinalis.
P. lutea. Considered by some as a variety of P. Delavayi. Native to China. Introduced in 1886. A shrubby species with very handsome foliage something like that of P. moutan but more finely divided. Flowers bright yellow, very fragrant, 2 to 4 inches in diameter. The plant is hardy, but in northern regions is apt to die back to the ground each winter, and is thus practically herbaceous in habit. In addition to the spring flowering, blooms are occasionally set in August or September.
There is a good picture of P. lutea in The Garden, Vol. 76 (1912), p. 416, and a beautiful color plate in Mrs. Harding's "Book of the Peony," p. 114.
superba, with flowers somewhat larger than the type.
Hybrids with P. moutan:
Argosy. (Saunders, 1928.)
L'Esperance. (Lemoine, 1909.) Very good picture, Revue Hort., 1912, p. 300.
La Lorraine. (Lemoine, 1913.) Good color plate in Gard. Chron. 3d. ser. Vol. 57 (1915), p. 56. Black and white in The Garden, Vol. 77, p. 292.
Madame Louis Henry. (Henry, 1919.)
Satin Rouge. (Lemoine, 1926.)
Souvenir de Maxime Cornu. (Henry, 1919.) Good picture Revue Hort., 1908, p. 322. Also color plate Revue Hort., 1911, p. 472.
Surprise. (Lemoine, 1920.)
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These hybrids are plants of the highest merit, the beginning of a magnificent race of yellow tree peonies.
Rehder has separated this group of hybrids under the name P. Lemoinei.
P. macrophylla. (1897.) A white-flowered species from the Caucasus region. The flowers in the bud stage are often greenish or yellowish, but the expanded flower is white. I have raised a number of seedlings and they all agree with this description. A very handsome plant. The leaflets, which are entire, are much larger than those of any other species. The terminal leaflet is usually about 6 inches long by 3 to 4 inches broad, but I have seen it as large as 9 inches in length by 6 in breadth. The leaves have a characteristic odor, not unlike that of box, which is particularly strong on bright sunny days when it may sometimes be noticed at a distance of 10 to 15 feet.
This is a very early-blooming species, coming with, or sometimes two to three days before the single P. tenuifolia, and about ten to twelve days before the beginning of the P. officinalis varieties.
P. microcarpa. Mountains of Spain. "A very near ally of P. humilis."Baker. Flowers bright crimson. Not attractive.
P. Mlokosewitschi. (1897.) Native to the Caucasus region. (Bot. Mag., PL 8173.) This is a fine species with flowers of a clear light yellow which is retained unaltered until the petals fall. The color is a shade deeper than in P. Wittmanniana. Seedlings show not much variation in color. The foliage is also handsome and very individual. Altogether a most desirable garden plant. Two good pictures in Revue Hort., 1911, p. 431.
P. mollis. (Bot. Reg., Vol. 6, No. 474. Lod. Bot. Cab., Vol. 13, No. 1263.) "Not distinct from P. paradoxa in any broad sense."Baker. But Lynch considers it a good species. Flowers small, purple-red.
P. moutan. The parent plant of the great race of Chinese tree peonies. See the special discussion of these plants by Mr. J. C. Wister elsewhere in this Manual.* [*Page 219.editor.]
P. obovata. Native to northern China and Japan. Flowers purplish red.
alba. Good picture in Gard. Chron., 3d. ser., Vol. 70 (1921), p. 147, and in The Garden, Vol. 89 (1925), p. 319. Said to be a very desirable plant.
The wild peony of Japan is P. obovata, with its variety alba. There is also a peony in Japan to which the name P. japonica has been given, but from the description this appears to be at least very near P. obovata alba. Then there is the species P. oreogeton which is native to Corea, and this appears also to be closely related to the P. obovata of Japan.
In western China there is a white peony which has also been
called P. obovata alba. This is probably the same plant as P. Willmottia, or at least is very near it, and E. H. Wilson believes it is different from the P. obovata of Japan.
There is a confusing situation here which can only be cleared up by a comparison of the living plants. I have had none of them so far under observation. As for the illustrations mentioned in the text in connection with these various forms, the uncertainty attached to the names is inseparable from the pictures that accompany them.
P. officinalis. Southern Europe. This species has been cultivated in European gardens for centuries, and has given rise to a number of. brilliant and lovely varieties. There is much confusion regarding those which are to be traced back to P. officinalis and those derived from P. paradoxa.
Vilmorin ("Fleurs de Pleine Terre") separates two groups under these two specific names; and he states that those derived from P. paradoxa are easily distinguished by the glaucescence (bluish greenness) of the foliage. Unfortunately, Vilmorin does not include in his list by any means all of the varieties which are, or have been, in commerce.
Since these forms when offered in nurserymen's lists are usually grouped all together under P. officinalis, I have listed them all here, making a separate group of those which, according to Vilmorin, should be referred to P. paradoxa.
A further complication arises from the fact that several varieties have been produced from P. lobata. This is itself to be considered as a variety of P. officinalis, and it is not always possible in the case of named varieties to say whether they should be referred to P. lobata or to the broader species P. officinalis.
Varieties probably referable to P.officinalis:
carnea plena. Syn. alba mutabilis
Eclair. Syn. alba mutabilis
incarnata plena. Syn. alba mutabilis
Lize van Veen. Sport from P. rosea superba, which has been recently introduced into commerce in Holland.
lobata : Otto Froebel, Sunbeam
maxima rosea plena
rosea pallida plena. Syn. alba mutabilis
rosea superba plena (rated 8.2 in symposium, 1925)
rubra plena (rated 8.6 in symposium, 1925)
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Varieties probably to be referred to P. paradoxa:
anemoneflora aurea ligulata
Etoile de Pluton
violacea fimbriata plena
Varieties for which reference to P. officinalis or P. paradoxa is doubtful:
A great many of the above varieties are now unobtainable, or at least have disappeared from catalogues. Of those which I have grown, the best are: rubra plena (the old double crimson), rosea plena, Sabini, striata elegans, anemoneflora aurea ligulata, and particularly the variety of P. lobata called Otto Froebel which has large single flowers of an almost salmon-rose color. Mr. Franklin Mead also praises very highly the variety Ophia, and the late Reginald Farrer described the variety Sunbeam in glowing terms.
P. oreogeton. (S. Moore in Journ. Linn. Soc., Vol. 17 .) See P. obovata.
P. paradoxa. Native to the Levant. "Like P. peregrina, of which it is not in any broad sense more than a variety."Baker. Flowers purple-red. Varieties:
A good many garden varieties have been produced from this species. As they are confused with those belonging to P. officinalis, I have listed them all under that species.
P. peregrina. South Europe. (Bot. Mag., Vol. 26, PI. 1050.) "Not distinct from P. officinalis as a species in any broad sense. I do not know how to distinguish it from P. pubens or P. banatica"Baker. Flowers bright crimson. Varieties:
P. Potanini (Komarov). Syn. P. Delavayi angustiloba. P. pubens. Referred by Baker to P. peregrina. Considered a true species by Lynch.
Flowers rosy red. (Bot. Mag., Vol. 48, PI. 2264.)
P. Russi. (Bot. Mag., Vol. 62, PI. 3431.) There are two forms under this name. The one usually called P. Russi is referred by Kew to P. coriacea. Lynch makes a new species of it, calling it P. Barri.
The other form usually called P. Russi Bivonae is referred by Kew to P. corallina.
"Scarcely more than a variety of P. corallina."Baker. Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Algeria. Variety:
major. A hybrid between P. Russi and P. Wittmanniana.
"A tall and vigorous sort; large obovate leaflets, bronze-green, hairy on the under side. Very large flowers, carmine-rose shaded mauve; carpels villous. One of the earliest. May 1."Lemoine's catalogue.
P. sinensis. Syn. P. albiflora.
P. Smouthi. See P. anomala.
P. suffruticosa. Syn. P. moutan.
P. tenuifolia. (Bot. Mag., Vol. 24, PL 926.) Transylvania to the Crimea, Caucasus, and Armenia. The fern-leaved peony. One of the earliest peonies to bloom. The single form, which blossoms earlier than the double, usually antedates the first Chinese peonies about a month. The flowers are not large, but they are fine clear crimson brighter and cleaner than most of the red-flowered species. The plant is stoloniferous. The single form rated 7.8 in the symposium of 1925. Varieties: hybrida laciniata latifolia rosea
flore-pleno. There is a good color plate of the double variety in Mrs. Harding's "Book of the Peony," p. 106. (Rated 8.5 in symposium, 1925.)
P. triternata. (Andrews Bot. Rep., 486.) "A near ally of P. corallina.''Baker.
Caucasus region, Asia Minor, and the Crimea. Flowers rose-red. Variety: alba
P. Veitchi. Introduced from western China by E. H. Wilson in 1904. The plant is dwarf-growing and bears somewhat nodding purplish red flowers of a rather unattractive shade, several on one stem. There is a very good picture of the species in The Gardener's Chronicle, 3d ser., Vol. 46, p. 2, and also in Vol. 81 (1927), p. 425.
P. villosa. Lynch considers that this is a distinct species, closely related to P. mollis. Flowers white.
P. Wittmanniana. (Bot. Mag., Vol. 108, Pl. 6645. Bot. Reg., 1846, No. 9.) Caucasus and northern Persia, 1842.
This species and P. Mlokosewitschi are the only known herbaceous peonies having yellow flowers. The color in P. Wittmanniana is paler than P. Mlokosewitschi, the general habit quite different.
MANUAL OF THE AMERICAN PEONY SOCIETY
Alpha. (Arends.) Hybrid of P. peregrina with P. Wittmanniana.
Avant Garde. (Lemoine, 1907.) sinensis X Wittmanniana.(Rated 8.6 in symposium, 1925.)
hybrida. P. peregrina X P. Wittmanniana.
Le Printemps. (Lemoine, 1905.) sinensis X Wittmanniana. (Rated 8.6 in symposium, 1925.)
Mai fleuri. (Lemoine, 1905.) sinensis X Wittmanniana. (Rated 8.4 in symposium, 1925.)
Messagère. (Lemoine, 1909.) sinensis X Wittmanniana.
Reine de Mai. (Arends.) Hybrid of P. peregrina with P. Wittmanniana.
rosea. Probably a hybrid,
splendens. P. Wittmanniana X P. Officinalis.
Venusta. (Lemoine, 1916.) Hybrid?
Of these hybrids Le Printemps, Mai fleuri, and Avant Garde are plants of great beauty for the garden. They are very early bloomers, coming well before the P. officinalis varieties. A good picture of Le Printemps will be found in Mrs. Harding s "Book of the Peony," p. 108.
P. Willmottiae. "In Bot. Mag., PI. 8667, Dr. Stapf made P. Willmottiee a distinct species; he regarded P. obovata alba as its nearest ally."Kew.
Considered by some authorities as identical with P. obovata alba. The flowers are white and are said to be very beautiful. Originally sent to England from China by E. H. Wilson, and named in 1916.
Good picture in The Garden, Vol. 83 (1919), p. 253.
P. Woodwardi. Referred by Kew to P. Veitchi. Originally collected in Kansu between China and Tibet, and first flowered in England in 1915.
In foliage and general character it is very similar to P. Veitchi but the flowers are rose-pink instead of magenta-red, as in P. Veitchi, and come about a week earlier.
Forms sometimes listed as species but doubtfully distinct; and likely to be referred to one or other of the species treated above:
atlantica (P. corallina, Kew.)
banatica (P. officinalis, Kew.)
Biebersteiniana (P. tenuifolia ?)
flavescens (P. corallina, Kew.)
Hartwissiana (P. Wittmanniana. Kew.)
leiocarpa (P. peregrina, Kew.)
Consult the Index Kewensis for many names which have been applied to various forms now displaced or referred to established types.
plate XXXIX. Officinalis rubra plena