Carsten Burkhardt's Web Project Paeonia - The Peony Library

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The Manual of the American Peony Society


Copyright 1928 by American Peony Society

071_descriptive list of chinese peonies


Editor's note. The peonies described in the following section are rated 8.0 or above in the official symposiums of the American Peony Society. The descriptions were originally written by Mr. G. A. Stevens, commissioned by the American Peony Society, and carry the corrections and emendations of the Society's Directors.

A few varieties rated 8.0 or above are omitted. These varieties were considered unworthy of description by the Directors. On the other hand, there are seven varieties rated between 7.6 and 8.0 which were added to the descriptive list by the Directors.

In addition, brief descriptions are included of a few recent introductions which were approved by a jury. These varieties carry a tentative rating designated with an asterisk (*). This rating is the vote of a special Symposium Jury of twenty-one growers approved by the Society's Board of Directors, and, it is believed, differs very little from what an official symposium vote would be.

The descriptions have been standardized in respect to color designations in accordance with Mr. Stevens' discussion of the matter on page 75, which should be read in this connection, and it was resolved at a meeting of the American Peony Society, held in New York, on Thursday, January 26, 1928, that peonies should be described in the Manual under the following types: Single, Japanese, Anemone, Semi-double, and Double.

This action was taken in accordance with the following note from Mr. A. H. Fewkes:


By A. H. Fewkes

FROM long observation of peony types, I have come to believe that the term "crown type" was ill advised. It is not sufficiently constant and is dependent, very much, upon the age of the plant and the cultivation it has had. A large proportion of varieties will produce a crown under certain conditions. It is much more accurate to say that a certain variety is liable to produce a crown than it is to say it is a "crown type." The true "bomb" seems to be more apt to do this than any other type.

I have been struck by the loose way in which the terms "bomb" and "crown" are used, almost completely obliterating the real distinction between these types. I have also become thoroughly convinced that the types established very early in the history of the Peony Society badly need revision. The terms were adopted by men who had made only a superficial study of the peony and supposed that the forms of the flowers, as they (71)

072_classification of peony types



saw them, were constant. In the light of present knowledge of the flower, we know this is not so, and that, in many cases, one form slides very easily into another, thereby very materially reducing the forms which are constant.

The term "bomb" applied to a peony is atrocious. Florists apply the term "incurved" to the same form in the chrysanthemum, while the smooth, incurved form in the China aster is termed "peony-formed."

"Bomb type" has been very frequently used when describing a flower which is simply globular in form but not necessarily composed of imbricated, incurved petals.

"Crown" seems to apply to anything which appears above the collar, whereas, it should apply only to extra petals developed from the stigmas and superimposed upon the main part of the flower, a kind of after-thought, as it were, and not at all constant. The terms "rose type" and "semi-rose type" could well be reduced to the former, for many varieties will sometimes produce flowers, some of which are perfectly transformed and others which show stamens more or less. For all practical purposes "rose type" covers both.

But why use the term "rose type" ? The flowers which we have been assigning to this type include forms which no rose ever thought of assuming and the term as applied to peonies is practically meaningless.

Peony blooms naturally arrange themselves into the following groups: Single, Japanese, Anemone, Semi-double, and Double. The "Single Type" is a flower with five or more true petals arranged around a center made up of stamens with pollen-bearing anthers.




The "Japanese Type" is really a double form but it has arrived at its goal in a much different manner than the other double forms and for practical purposes stands distinct and alone, characterized by five or more guard petals and a center made up of stamens bearing abortive anthers, nearly or completely devoid of pollen, thereby distinguishing itself from the true single with pollen-bearing anthers.

The "Anemone Type" resembles somewhat the Japanese but is distinguished from that by the absence of anthers of any kind, while the filaments of the stamens have taken on a petal-like character, being narrow, more or less incurved and imbricated. While this character is constant in some varieties there are others where it appears in side blooms and flowers borne by one- or two-year-old plants. (Mme. Calot for example.)

It is doubtful whether this type should be retained as some flowers which come under it may be constant while others are quite changeable.

The term "Anemone Form" is useful in describing varieties which produce this form on immature plants or as side blooms on varieties, the main blooms of which are of a quite different type.

The "Semi-double Type" is well marked and includes some of the most artistic blooms. Flowers of this type never become




full doubles and always show a greater or less number of broad petals intermixed with the stamens, the latter always a prominent feature. (Pride of Essex, Silvia Saunders, and Marie Jacquin are good examples of this type.)

In the "Double Type" the transformation of the stamens and sometimes the stigmas into petals has advanced to that stage where they make up the main body of the flower, sometimes leaving no trace whatsoever of either stamen or stigma, and in others still showing these to a greater or less extent imbedded among the petals.

In some varieties of this type the guard petals are shorter than the petaloids, thereby forming a globular bloom. In others the guard petals are longer and prominent, thereby forming the

So-called "Bomb Type" So-called "Crown Type"

so-called "Bomb Type." But this form is not constant and often in the same bloom which starts with prominent guard petals, the petaloids keep on developing until they nearly obliterate the guards and eventually make a globular bloom. The so-called "Crown Type" may be semi-double or double, and may even be superimposed upon the "Bomb Type." It is not constant.

Taking all these points into consideration, it seems to me that our types can be reduced to five at most: Single, Japanese, Anemone, Semi-double, and Double. Possibly the Anemone Type might be suppressed, using the term only as I have suggested under "Anemone Type."

While not strictly in accord with the definitions in the dictionary, we have used the term "staminode" to designate the petals in the center of the "Japanese Type" and "petaloid" to indicate the broader petals in the center of the "Anemone Type."—editor.

075_color standards




[Color Standards]