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**1. Botanical Characteristics:**
– Paeoniaceae are herbaceous perennials or deciduous shrubs with compound leaves.
– Flowers are large, bisexual, mostly single, and close at night or in overcast conditions.
– The plants contain over 262 compounds including ellagic acid, myricetin, and flavones.
– Thick storage roots, thin roots for water absorption, tough sepals, free petals, and numerous stamens are common features.
– The basic chromosome number is five, with many tetraploid species and both allotetraploids and autotetraploids existing.

**2. Taxonomy and Evolution:**
– Paeoniaceae was first named in 1830 and includes Paeonia and other genera.
– Molecular studies place Paeonia in the order Saxifragales with complex evolutionary relationships within the genus.
– Recent genetic analyses link Paeoniaceae to families in Saxifragales, showing relationships within Paeonia.
– Different species within Paeonia exhibit hybrid origins and relationships.
– The genus Paeonia is distributed in temperate and cold regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

**3. Cultivation and Commercial Uses:**
– Peonies have been cultivated in China since ancient times for ornamental and medicinal purposes.
– Cultivation centers like Luoyang and Cáozhōu have developed new varieties.
– Peonies have different growth habits attracting ants for pollination and deterring harmful insects.
– The Netherlands is the largest peony cut flower producer, with varieties like Sarah Bernhardt dominating.
– Peonies are grown in Europe and Asia for centuries, with emerging markets like Alaska for commercial cultivation.

**4. Cultivars and Propagation:**
– Cultivars like Bartzella, Coral Charm, and Rubra Plena offer a variety of flower types and colors.
– Propagation methods include root division, seed, grafting, and cuttings depending on the peony type.
– Herbaceous and Itoh peonies are propagated differently from tree peonies.
– The American Peony Society accepts over 7,000 registered cultivars, showcasing the diversity in peony breeding.
Tree peonies produce woody stems while herbaceous peonies die back each autumn.

**5. Symbolism and Cultural Significance:**
– Peonies hold cultural significance as a traditional floral symbol in China and the state flower of Indiana.
– They are used in traditional medicines in Korea, China, and Japan.
– Peonies have symbolic meanings in various cultures and are depicted in art and literature.
– Peonies have been used historically in teas, drinks, and culinary dishes.
– The peony represents beauty, prosperity, and good fortune in many cultural contexts.

Peony (Wikipedia)

The peony or paeony (/ˈpəni/) is a flowering plant in the genus Paeonia (/pˈniə/), the only genus in the family Paeoniaceae (/pˌniˈsi./). Peonies are native to Asia, Europe, and Western North America. Scientists differ on the number of species that can be distinguished, ranging from 25 to 40, although the current consensus describes 33 known species. The relationships between the species need to be further clarified.

Paeonia suffruticosa
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Paeoniaceae
Genus: Paeonia
Type species
Paeonia officinalis
  • Moutan
  • Onaepia
  • Paeoniae

and for lower taxa see text

The range of Paeonia.

Most are herbaceous perennial plants 0.25–1 metre (1–3 ft) tall, but some are woody shrubs 0.25–3.5 metres (1–11 ft) tall. They have compound, deeply lobed leaves and large, often fragrant flowers, in colors ranging from purple and pink to red, white or yellow, in late spring and early summer. The flowers have a short blooming season, usually only 7–10 days.

Peonies are popular garden plants in temperate regions. Herbaceous peonies are also sold as cut flowers on a large scale, although generally only available in late spring and early summer.

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