three different flowers

rian(7va)May 28, 2007

I have a pink peony that came without a name from a neighbor. The flower appears in several forms. In one incarnation it appears to be bowl of beauty. Other flowers can be garnished lightly with a third layer of pink. Most often though the cream colored petals almost disappear, flattened or dissolved into an explosion of pink petals. None of my other peonies, named or not, show this degree of variability. Does this identity struggle appear in other peonies. How common is it?

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carol_the_dabbler(Z5/6 Indiana)

Did you dig up the entire plant from your neighbor's yard, or take a root section?

If the former, it's possible that what you have is actually two or three different plants all growing together. A neighbor of ours (when I was a kid) had "one" peony plant with both red flowers and white flowers.

Once a flower forms, does it retain its form? Or might the three forms be the same flower at different ages?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 7:14PM
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Mr. Ed has pink and white blooms but it truely sounds like you may have some seedling plants in the group.

Peonies can display flower differences due to the age of the plant and if there are secondary buds.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 9:40PM
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I received this peony as a piece of root with 2 or 3 eyes attached more than a dozen years ago. Since then I have divided it a couple of times myself. It really is just one plant.

Maifleur's comment gave me an idea though. I checked around this morning and the flowers that look like bowl of beauty are setting (or trying to set) seeds and the flowers that look like pink bombs are sterile. So it seems as though all that sexual energy is going into making pink petals!

Don't know what results the in betweens have. I put all the ones I could find into a bouquet that I gave away but I am thinking small seed pods (or none?)

Does this happen with other peonies? I wonder if the seeds will be viable. I don't usually leave the flowers in place but I'm tempted to with these.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 9:41AM
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greenguy1(z7 Maryland)

You're on the right track, rian.

'Bowl of Beauty' is one of those cultivars where the flowers are quite variable. Sometimes they are pretty much single with the big center of clump of creamy yellow staminodes and no pink petaloids; sometimes they have so many pink petaloids in the center that it looks like a full double, and everything in between. The "pink bombs" (what a great image!) are not sterile, but are much less likely to set seed because of the flower form - the stamens have essentially turned into petals, so the flower can't be pollinated by its own pollen (since there is none), and, with all of the petaloids, it's harder for a pollinator to get down into the flower.

It's one of my favorite cultivars, although I have to say that I am most partial to the single ones with the yellow center. But, I'll take them all!

- Steve

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 9:43PM
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Thank you for solving my mystery, Steve.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 1:46PM
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