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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Peonies of a different sort

I believe the title would have given it away, but be honest. Did you know this was a Peony if I hadn't just told you?

Now do you know what this is?
Might you be surprised to know the second photo is also a peony? It is one of a different sort though, so I'll forgive you for not knowing straight away. This is a Tree Peony. It is more like a shrub than a tree, so it does have a silly name but I wasn't the one naming it. This is a true shrub form with bark-like stems that will become bare of leaves when autumn sets in. These branches do not die and are not cut down as you would do with the herbaceous kind.

Look closely. This is a herbaceous peony. This one dies down to the ground at the growing season's end. It doesn't die but instead lays dormant all winter to re-sprout as the temperatures warm in spring. These stems have no tough bark-like covering. Some call it a bush but in truth it is a perennial plant just like any other.

Karl Marx peony I got from my mother, an heirloom of a plant.
A fully double magenta peony.


Tree peony. I have three tree peonies, yellow, pale pink and this bright pink one. Notice the slightly red tinged foliage is slightly different from the herbaceous.

                                                Pink peony

This Sorbet peony is my favorite of all my peonies. Of course, I'll say that about each one as they come into bloom. ;-)

Peonies come in single form too.
 If you find a peony with bark-like stems it will be a tree peony. If there is no bark and the stems are soft it is herbaceous. Now you know the difference between them.

3 comments:

  1. The tree peony is distinguished most noticeably from a herbaceous peony by the fact that it retains a viable above-ground woody stem that remains after the flowers and branches have shriveled and dropped off the plant in preparation for winter: it is actually a medium-sized shrub. Isn't Google great?

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  2. And yet I've had raging debates with people who insist they have tree peonies that die down to the ground. Some people just can't be taught, with or without google!

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  3. Ioth peony also has short woody stem since it is hybridized from tree peony and herbaceous peony.

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