Paeonia 'Chameleon' and Roy Klehm on rock garden peonies

Jim McKenney
Sat, 15 Mar 2008 13:31:42 PDT
Roy Klehm spoke to our local rock garden group this morning on rock garden
peonies. That was only a tiny part of the morning. He gives a very good
presentation covering many aspects of the peony phenomenon. This was not one
of those presentations where one endures two hours of close ups of flowers.
His material was nicely balanced and took into consideration hybridizing,
the history of peony hybridizing, propagation, some aspects of the business
angles, nursery management, and of course a nice look at a wide spectrum of
peonies.  When the presentation was over, out came a big cardboard box which
contained the peonies which were then distributed to audience members. These
were some of the cultivars described in his catalog as rock garden peonies.
There are about a dozen very happy rock gardeners here in the greater
Washington, D.C. area today! And no doubt there will soon be several dozen
more who are not so happy when they find out what they missed because they
did not attend the meeting. 

I learned something interesting which touches on something we discussed on
this forum last year in early March. It all began when Lola asked a question
about the germination of peony seed obtained through one of the exchanges
under the name Chameleon. 

What I knew then is that there is a validly published name Paeonia  ×
chameleon Troitsky (1930) ex Grossg (although I'm still suspicious about the

That name is applied to the wild hybrid between P. caucasica (P. mascula
triternata) and P. wittmanniana.

As it turns out, I now know that there is also a peony cultivar named
'Chameleon'. I don't think this cultivated plant has any connection to the
wild hybrid mentioned above. Check the Klehm catalog for the picture of

These chameleons might not be able to change their color, but some of them
might have to change their labels!

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where I can already count the buds on some of the tree peonies. 
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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