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Paeonia officinalis - L.

Common Name Peony, Common peony
Family Paeoniaceae
USDA hardiness 4-10
Known Hazards The entire plant is poisonous if taken in large doses[7, 21].
Habitats Rocky woodlands and meadows[1, 7], usually on limestone[187].
Range Europe - France to Albania.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Paeonia officinalis Peony, Common peony


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Llez
Paeonia officinalis Peony, Common peony
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Llez

 

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Summary

Bloom Color: Red, White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late spring,Form: Upright or erect.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Paeonia officinalis is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Flowers - cooked. They can be used as a vegetable[177] or to scent tea[183]. The hot seeds are ground into a powder and used as a spice in ale or in the food that accompanies it[183]. (Does this mean that the seed is heated before grinding, or that it has a hot flavour?[K])

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anticonvulsant;  Antirheumatic;  Antispasmodic;  Diuretic;  Sedative;  Tonic.

Peony root has been used medicinally for over 2,000 years and it gained a reputation as a treatment for epilepsy and to promote menstruation. This species was very popular up to the 16th century, but is little used in contemporary European herbalism, though it is sometimes employed where an antispasmodic and sedative are required[238, 254]. The root is antispasmodic, diuretic, sedative and tonic[4, 7, 21]. The root is harvested in the autumn from plants that are at least two years old and is dried for later use[4]. It has been successfully employed in the treatment of convulsions and spasmodic nervous affections such as epilepsy[4, 7]. It has also been used in the treatment of whooping cough whilst suppositories are sometimes made of the root to relieve anal and intestinal spasms[254]. This remedy should be used with caution and not at all by pregnant women. Large doses can be toxic[7, 21, 254]. A tea made from the dried crushed petals of various peony species has been used as a cough remedy, and as a treatment for haemorrhoids and varicose veins[250].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Foundation, Seashore, Specimen. Requires a deep rich soil, preferably neutral or slightly alkaline[1, 233], doing quite well in sun or light shade[200]. Plants are tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, but will not survive if the soil becomes waterlogged or is too dry[250]. This species is lime tolerant[200]. Plants grown on sandy soils tend to produce more leaves and less flowers, whilst those growing on clay take longer to become established but produce better blooms[250]. Plants can be naturalised in grass so long as the soil is good[233]. Hardy to about -25°c[187]. A very variable plant, there are at least 4 sub-species[250]. There are a number of named forms, selected for their ornamental value[187]. A long-lived plant, living for 50 years or more in gardens[200]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233]. A very greedy plant inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[54]. This species can spread fairly freely by means of its tuberous rootstock[233]. Strongly resents root disturbance, taking some time to recover after being divided[1]. Peony species are usually self-fertile, though they will also hybridise with other species if these flower nearby at the same time[250]. Plants take 4 - 5 years to flower from seed[200]. They generally breed true from seed[1]. Special Features:Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Suitable for cut flowers, Fragrant flowers.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[250]. When sown fresh, the seed produces a root about 6 weeks after sowing with shoots formed in the spring[200]. Stored seed is much slower, it should be sown as soon as possible in a cold frame but may take 18 months or more to germinate[200]. The roots are very sensitive to disturbance, so many growers allow the seedlings to remain in their pots for 2 growing seasons before potting them up. This allows a better root system to develop that is more resilient to disturbance[250]. If following this practice, make sure you sow the seed thinly, and give regular liquid feeds in the growing season to ensure the plants are well fed. We usually prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle, and then grow them on in a cold frame for at least two growing seasons before planting them out when they are in growth in the spring[K]. Division with great care in spring or autumn. Each portion must have a leaf bud. If the lifted root is stood in shade for several hours it becomes less brittle and easier to divide[200]. Divisions that have several buds will usually flower in the second year, but those that only have one or two buds will take a number of years before they have grown sufficiently to flower[250].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Paeonia anomalaAnomalous peony, Common Peony13
Paeonia browniiBrown's Peony12
Paeonia caucasica 01
Paeonia delavayiTree Peony, Dian mu dan13
Paeonia emodi 12
Paeonia hybrida 11
Paeonia japonicaYama-Shakuyaku11
Paeonia lactifloraChinese Peony, Peony13
Paeonia luteaTree Peony, Dian mu dan13
Paeonia mascula 01
Paeonia obovata 03
Paeonia ostiiTree Peony12
Paeonia potaniniiTree Peony12
Paeonia suffruticosaMoutan, Moutan peony, Tree Peony, Japanese Tree Peony12
Paeonia szechuanicaTree Peony12
Paeonia veitchii 03

 

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Author

L.

Botanical References

200

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Subject : Paeonia officinalis  
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