22. PAEONIA, L. Paeony. Fig. 10 - 23, 30, 291. (The physician Paeon, according to mythology, first used this plant in medicine, and cured Pluto with it.) Sepals 5, unequal, leafy, persistent; petals 5; stamens ∞ (mostly changed to petals by cultivation); ovaries 2 - 5, surrounded by an annular disk; stigmas sessile, double, persistent; follicles many seeded. - Rt. fasciculate. Lvs. biternate. Fls. large, terminal, solitary.
* Stems annual, herbaceous. Carpels 2 - 5.............................................
Nos. 1 - 3
* Stems perennial, shrubby. Carpels 5........................................................
.Nos. 4, 5
1 P. officinalis L. Common Paeony. Lower lvs. bipinnately divided; lfts. ovate-lanceolate, variously incised; carp. 2, downy, nearly straight. - The splendid Paeony has long been cultivated throughout the civilized world. This species is said to be a native of Switzerland. It is a hardy perennial, requiring very little pains for its cultivation. Among its varieties the double red is most common. The white is truly beautiful. The flesh-colored and the pink are also favorites. May, Jn.†
2 P. albiflora L. Lfts. elliptic-lanceolate, acute, entire, smooth; follicles 2 or 3, recurved, smooth. - Native of Tartary. Whole plant dark, shining green and smooth. Fls. smaller than the last, but truly elegant and fragrant. Petals white. Cal. brown, with 3 green, sessile bracts at base. Nine or ten varieties, with flowers single or double, white, rose-colored, etc, are now mentioned in the catalogues of American gardeners.†
3 P. anomala L. Lfts. with many lanceolate segments, smooth; follicles 5, depressed, smooth; cal. bracteolate. From Siberia. Distinguished by the long narrow segments of the leaflets. Fls. concave, rose colored. Many varieties.†
4 P. Moutan L. Chinese Tree Paeony. St. shrubby; lfts. oblong-ovate, glaucous and somewhat hairy beneath, terminal 1 - 3-lobed; ova. 5, distinct, surrounded by the very large disk. - From China. The woody stem branches into a bush 3 - 4f high. Lvs. large, on long stalks. Fls. very large, always double in cultivation, fragrant and truly splendid. This plant is remarkable for producing the largest form of disk in the vegetable kingdom.
5 P. papaveracea L. St shrubby; lfts. oblong-ovate, glaucous and slightly hairy beneath, terminal one lobed; ova. about 5, closely united into a globous head. - From China. Resembles the last in foliage, but is remarkably distinguished from all the other species by its united carpels. Flowers white, with a purple centre, often single in cultivation. Other species and varieties are cultivated, rarely in this country, amounting to about 150 in all.