Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Seed Surprise

Several years ago I bought some Paeonia tenuifolia seed, hand-pollinated from the double form (but the pollen of course from the single form), from a European botanist. Two flowered last year in the "ordinary" blood-red single form, but this year one of three buds was looking very fat quite early on and surprised me by being this bright pink; and then as if that wasn't enough, a fully double form as well. Gorgeous, and almost the size of my hand. Floppy-stemmed yes, but I can forgive it that. The two photos are 3 days apart.

The other two buds this year will be red, and from the size probably single. And there are about a half-dozen plants that haven't shown their stuff yet. So there is still hope for a double red, but even if the rest are all single I'm not complaining-- this plant alone has been more than worth the purchase and the wait.
No stamens, but a full set of carpels.
Interestingly, the double red form is said to be a couple of weeks later to bloom than the single form, but this double pink is about exactly in synch with my single reds. It's probably no surprise that it is at its best during the concluding and exciting week of this year's Giro d'Italia bike race!
Looking at some of yesterday's photos, and today's, how can anyone wonder that I love growing peonies from seed?!
Unrelated to the above: Rain today, so no further developments in the Ugly
Duckling department.


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Leo
I eventually took your hint and checked out your recent postings.
Very nice Peonies, generally, but the pale pink double Tenuifolia is a great break-through.
With no stamens, not sure how you can propagate from it, (except division).
But what a fantastic plant!

Leo said...

The best I can try is to hand-pollinate it from single reds and mainly just get more single reds, assuming any seed set at all...
So I'm hoping I will be able to do divisions, although at best tenuifolia doesn't really like the weather around here and is slow to increase. But-- in reading the Peony Portrait of tenuifolia at the Heartland Peony website, the description of the root system of some has left me wondering if that will even be possible. Might have to see what the tissue-culturists can do these days!