Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Peonies - Peonia spp - Pivoines

So we also visited the ornamental gardens on our jaunt over the weekend. I took some photos of the peonies, which were putting on a gorgeous display. This is the only genus in the family Peoniaceae. These flowers are an extremely popular symbol in artworks (especially east asian) and in ornamental gardens. Many peonies are extremely fragrant.

The peonies in the front yard have started to bloom and they smell wonderful.

One can easily see that there are a number of different varieties here (and I did not photograph anywhere near the whole range of species at the gardens). One notable difference is in the number of petals. Many ornamental species have been bred to have more petals; this leads to a reduction of the androecium (fewer anthers), which reduces the sexual reproductive fitness of the plant. The peonies at the ornamental gardens would mostly have been propagated through root division (vegetative, ie asexual, reproduction). This is common for ornamental plants.

Peonies are very long-lived perennials which require little care and so make a very good ornamental plant. I do love their fragrance and would recommend them as a garden flower for those who can stand to wait a few years (peonies take several years to establish themselves before they will really bloom).

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