Carl von Linné (Syn. Carolus Linnaeus)
For Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) all the kinds of peony distinguished by his predecessors belonged to one species which he named Paeonia officinalis in his Species Plantarum 1:530 (1753), the starting point of modern botanical literature: limites inter species non reperi, hinc conjunxi he stated, I have not discovered limits between species, hence I have united them. His specific epithet officinalis refers to their medicinal repute. He maintained, however, the traditional distinction between the female and male peonies derived From Dioscorides by treating them as varieties, one being named
var. (alpha) feminea the other
var. (beta) mascula.
Later authors separating them as species have restricted the specific name P. officinalis to his var. (alpha) the plant illustrated in 1542 by Fuchs, whose woodcut he selected as an outstanding representation.
From the book:
Peonies of Greece
A taxonomic and historical Survey of the Genus Paeonia in Greece
William T. Stearn and Peter H. Davis