Paeonia suffruticosa

27 May

Paeonia suffruticosa (18/05/2103, Kew Gardens, London)

Paeonia suffruticosa (18/05/2103, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Late spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1.5m

Eventual Spread: 1.2m

Hardiness: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Paeoniaceae

Paeonia suffruticosa Flower (18/05/2103, Kew Gardens, London)

Paeonia suffruticosa Flower (18/05/2103, Kew Gardens, London)

Paeonia suffruticosa is a large flowered woody shrub with a rounded habit. Its dark green leaves are divided into up to nine leaflets, each being ovate/ lanceolate with entire margins, up to 8cm long and 7cm broad. Its brown grey branches tend to be lax and spreading. Its pink/ red flowers are solitary, appear terminally and are up to 17cm across. Its fruit is a follicle, each containing up to five seeds. Its roots are tuberous.

Paeonia suffruticosa Leaf (18/05/2103, Kew Gardens, London)

Paeonia suffruticosa Leaf (18/05/2103, Kew Gardens, London)

Paeonia suffruticosa, commonly known as Mudan Peony or a Tree Peony, is native to east China. In its native habitat it grows in scrub on mountains and cliffs. Parts of the roots of this plant are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

The etymological root of the binomial name Paeonia is named after Paeon, a Greek physician of the gods who, in mythology, was changed into a flower by Pluto. Suffruticosa is derived from the Latin meaning ‘barely woody’.

The landscape architect may find  Paeonia suffruticosa useful as part of a woodland edge planting scheme in the light dappled shade of trees.

Ecologically, Paeonia suffruticosa is attractive to pollinating insects.

Paeonia suffruticosa Fruit (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Paeonia suffruticosa Fruit (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Paeonia suffruticosa prefers moist, humus rich, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will not tolerate dry soils.

Paeonia suffruticosa requires little maintenance. Once planted the roots of this plant should not be disturbed.

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