Peony Classification

  • 4 replies
Peony Classification
« on: February 04, 2017, 01:51:56 PM »
Hi every one , Jessica from Zhongchuan Peony Nursery, we have wonderful Ponies in our Graden. While start this new topic, Peony Classification to introduce peonies' catalog. I read some article, very inspired , so share the content here, if you need the original article, you could leave me a message. :)

Re: Peony Classification
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2017, 01:53:58 PM »
Peony Classification-I

When peonies are offered for sale, they are sometimes classified by their botanical type. The categories most often seen in nursery catalogues are: (a) species, (b) herbaceous, (c) tree peony, and (d) intersectional. The following tries to clear up what these terms generally mean.

There are somewhere between 35 and 50 different species of peony (i.e. plants belonging to the genus Paeonia). However, most of these botanical species grow wild in Asia, southern Europe, or western North America. Very few of them are culivated and sold commercially. The few that are available are usually not as large and showy as the peonies we see growing in neighbourhood gardens.
When the term "species peony" is used by a nursery or commercial grower, it basically means: "wild peony which we've 'captured' and made available to you non-explorers because you want something rare and different". While they are rare, and different from most garden peonies, they are also not as spectacular bloomers.

Herbaceous peony
The species of peony which is probably most important commercially is the Paeonia lactiflora. This species is native to central and eastern Asia. In particular, it occurs in northern China, and has been cultivated there for perhaps 1,600 years.
There are at least 3,000 registered cultivars (i.e. cultivated varieties) of Paeonia lactiflora (and probably even more which have never been registered or marketed). Most of the peonies sold commercially are either culivars of Paeonia lactiflora, or else hybrids, with some of its genes.

Tree Peony
Tree peonies (Paeonia rockii) have woody stems that lose their leaves in the fall, but the woody stems stay intact.  They tend to bloom earlier and with larger flowers than the herbaceous peony. Despite this, they are generally not as popular as herbaceous peonies, because they are such slow growers. They have been of most commercial interest recently as a source of hybrids, which are called "Intersectional peonies".

Intersectional Peony
Intersectional Peonies are hybrids; they are derived from a cross between a white Herbaceous Peony (Paeonia lactiflora 'Kakoden') and a yellow hybrid Tree Peony (Paeonia x lemoinei) carried out in 1948 by Mr. Toichi Itoh. For this reason, they are also known as Itoh hybrids or Itoh peonies.
Intersectionals are valued because they are available in colours that traditional peonies can't produce ? in particular, more intense shades of yellow, peach, and coral.  These plants have the lovely leaf form of the tree peonies, but die to the ground in the winter like herbaceous peonies. The plants are strong and healthy with a nice rounded bush form, but are generally shorter than most bush peonies.  Since they are recent introductions and are still in short supply, they are usually quite expensive.

Re: Peony Classification
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2017, 01:54:53 PM »
Peony Classification-II

Lactiflora Cultivars vs. Herbaceous hybrids
Historically, most varieties of peony sold were cultivars of P. lactiflora. However, these varieties often didn't have strong enough stems to hold the large blossoms upright. As a result, most of the lactiflora cultivars needed staking. In response to this, the newer herbaceous hybrid peonies were developed. These have stronger stems, so that staking isn't needed. However, herbaceous hybrids aren't floriferous; that is, they usually don't have side buds ? they typically produce only one bud per stem.

Cultivars of Paeonia lactiflora are often referred to as "Chinese peony", "garden peony", "bush peony", or "herbaceous peony" (the names are used interchangeably in catalogues). Strictly speaking, the term "herbaceous" means that the plant dies down in the fall, and new growth comes up in spring. This is true for most species of the Paeonia genus. It is NOT true, however, for the species which is normally called the Tree Peony.

Re: Peony Classification
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2021, 01:25:18 AM »
This is interesting. Thank you for sharing this Jessica. I'll use it for future reference.

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Re: Peony Classification
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2021, 03:12:41 PM »
The species of peony which is probably most important commercially is the Paeonia lactiflora. This species is native to central and eastern Asia.

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