What's in a name? Well..., a lot! The godfather and the classification of a peony provides lots of information. Let us try to explain here.
For each cultivar or species the registered name is given on top of the cultivar page or below the pictures in the overviews.
Our full catalogue listing is in alphabetical order of these names. With the help of the many search options on the left side of these pages you can conveniently do a refined search for your favourite peonies.
Possibily you are interested in the origin of a variety; the name of the hybridizer, the country of origin and/or the year of registration. This is mentioned with each item in our assortment. When two names are mentioned the name before the slash is the name of the hybridizer and after the slash the name of the registrator is given.
Using the search options in the catalogue section of this website you can search on origin.
When we follow the classification system by F.C. Stern, the genus Paeonia contains over 40 subspecies. To simplify things, we are leaving out the subspecies. It would be too much to describe all species here. Therefore we have limited ourselves to the species present in the pedigree of the varieties in our catalogue.
A hybrid is a cultivar which is originated out of a cross between two or more different species. For each hybrid variety in our catalogue this is mentioned. By definition, cultivars with full parentage from one and the same species are not hybrids.
Below we mention a number of typical qualities for each specie. Hybrid crosses often bring many of these qualities from each species, resulting in very interesting new cultivars. With the help of then information given here you might be able to compose your own favourite type(s) of crosses.
This species is characterized by long deeply cut leaflets. The early stages of the leaflets display beautiful purple colours. P. delavayi is part of the section Moutan (tree peonies), in fall the bush does not die back to the ground but woody stems with buds remain. The stems get more woody each year. Bushes can grow 5 to 7 feet tall (1.5-2 meters). Small dark red flowers (2-3 inches; 5-8 cm). Flowering time very early to early (I-III). Thanks to the numerous flowers on a mature bush the flowering time is stretched over a long period.
Nearly all crosses resulting in yellow flowers will have this species in its genes. P. lutea is part of the section Moutan (tree peonies), in fall the bush does not die back to the ground but woody stems and buds remain. The stems get more woody each year. Bushes can grow 5 to 7 feet tall (1.5 - 2 meters). Small bright yellow flowers (2-3 inches; 5-7 cm). Flowering time very early to early (I-III). Thanks to the numerous flowers on a mature bush the flowering time is stretched over a long period.
Typical for cultivars with blood of P. macrophylla running through their veins are the very large oval-shaped dark green leaflets. Descandants of this species are also highly likely to inherit the very early flowering (I-II). Flowers all tend to be of the single type. The plant habit is ideal far landscape purposes. Propagation is slow to average.
Peony hybrids with P. mlokosewitschii in their ancestry are reknown for their extremely early flowering (I-II), soft yellow colours of the relatively small and single flowers and their absolutely gorgeous dark green and oval leaflets. Below average number of sidebuds. Perfect bushes for in the landscape due to the stunning planthabit. Propagation is slow to average.
Th? common peony species in which many, many crosses have been done and to which lots of new cultivars belong. Flowering time of P. lactiflora cultivars is generally mid thru very late (V-VII). Hybrids with this specie in their ancestry nearly all flower earlier (III-V). There is great variation in flower size, flower form and planthabit. Flower colour is usually in all shades of white, purple, red and pink. Propagation is relatively fast.
Hybrid cultivars with (a cultivar of) P. officinalis in their parentage are the only peonies with true red as their flower colour. Often the flowers are of above average size. When flowers mature the petals can grow to a huge size. Flowering time is early (III). Stems are generally thick and strong. Branching is good, but averagely these type of crosses produce less stems than cultivars bred with, or within, the species of P. lactiflora. Propagation is fairly slow.
Progeny of P. peregrina parents often display spectacular colouring. The popular hybrids of the Coral-series of Samuel Wissing to name one set, fluorescent pink and salmon-toned hybrids to name more. All these excentric and often still very exclusive varieties thank their fame and fortune mainly to P. peregrina in their parentage. Huge flower size of the semi-double type with stamens in the center, not in between flower petals. Stems very sturdy, sometimes hollow. Moderate branching. Very deeply disected and darkgreen leaflets. Propagation is very speedy, nearly all root parts can produce the so-called 'adventitious eyes'.
The Himalayan peony is another name for this species. The flowers are pure white and of the single type. Appearing foliage in spring is bronze coloured, turning dark green as the season progresses. Leaflets are very long and much disected on tall stems. Lots of sidebuds (often more than 3) which are relatively far apart on the stretched stem are typical for the species and its offspring. Flowering time is early (I-II). Propagation is good.
Commonly this species is known as the fernleaf or the Adonis peony. The species and her offspring is very unique in having tripinnately lobed foliage, divided three times to form very narrow linear segments. Foliage colour is grass green upon at emerging, turning dark green as the season progresses. Flowers are of the single type, deep red and P. tenuifolia (-cultivars) are typically without sidebuds. Flowering time is early (I-II). Plant habit is absolutely beautiful. Propagation is difficult and thus slow.
Intersectional hybrids (Itoh-hybrids)
This distinctive and youngest group in the genus Paeonia owes its very existence to one man: Mr. Toichi Itoh from Japan. In 1948 he performed a successful cross between peonies from the two main sections within the genus. He crossed tree peony cv. 'Alice Harding' (section Moutan) with herbaceous peony cv. 'Kakoden' (section Paeon).
The results of this cross leaded to an entirely new group of peonies: the intersectional hybrids, more commonly named after its creator: Itoh-hybrids.
This spectacular group of peonies characterizes itself by growing and looking like a tree peony, but acting like a herbaceous peony because bushes dies back in fall. Some varieties, especially the 'older' ones, flower just below the foliage. Newer varieties generally stand out perfectly. Plant habit is very compact and bushes hardly ever grow taller than 3 feet (80-90 cm). Intersectional hybrids are just ideal for use in the landscape. Flowers are usually semi-double with typical stamens and carpels clearly visible in the center. Flower petals are often flared at the base.?
This group of hybrids is not suited for use as a cutflower: the stems are too woody and often too short. Flower colours are extraordinary beautiful. Upon maturing, bushes and flowers clearly grow more and more beautiful every year. Propagation is very slow, below surface growth resembles that of tree peonies. These Itoh-hybrids are must-have garden plants for the true enthusiast.
Full double, Crown-type
|Full double, Bomb-type
Even more double are the bomb-type doubles. Stamens and carpels are never visible. All center petaloids originate from both carpels and stamens and are much broader and much more steady in size and shape compared to crown-type doubles. There is no crown, but the outer row of petals is still very clearly differentiated from all the centre petaloids. Usually flowers of this type grow dramatically large as they mature.
Full double, Rose-type