Lutea tree peony - commentary + obovata/japonica

Jim McKenney
Wed, 23 May 2007 08:32:45 PDT
Jerry Flintoff, in what might be a Freudian slip, praised the old yellow
tree peony hybrid 'Souvenir de Maxime Corne'. I share his enthusiasm for
this grand old plant.

What intrigues me about his comment is that he, perhaps inadvertently, might
be alluding to what I have been avoiding in this discussion. I referred to
these yellow-flowered tree peonies as "yellow-flowered sorts". 

It was suggested that there was no accepted name for these; yet, there is.
That name is Paeonia x lemoinei. I wonder if that is what Jerry had in the
back of his mind because, of course, 'Souvenir de Maxime Cornu' is not a
Lemoine hybrid (it was hybridized by Professor Henry), but it is the first
of the Paeonia x lemoinei cultivars. 

Rehder published this name in 1920. John Wister, ever my first choice for
readily available, detailed information on this topic, made this prophetic
statement about a half century ago: " The hybrid group is apparently now
used to include all the Henry, Lemoine, and Saunders hybrid varieties, but
under botanical rules this could hold only if P. lutea is considered as a
botanical variety of P. delavayi and not as a distinct species."

That in fact is what has come to pass: Paeonia delavayi is the name now used
for the peonies once known as P. delavayi, P. lutea and P. potaninii. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where Dracunculus vulgaris is
living up to its name and stinking up its corner of the garden. 

My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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