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I got these in two years ago and potted them up. No bloom last year but this year I have been rewarded. This species is very seldom seen in the USA. I think it could be a gorgeous plant in the garden. Not a lot has been written about it as a garden plant. Don't know how it will hold up here, but my next job is to get them in the ground and we'll see what happens.
It is native to a rather small section of Sichuan Province in China. I have photos of it growing in the wild there.
Did a cursory check on the internet and found almost no info on your peony. One site listed paeonia decomposita as P.szechuanica, "a very rare tree peony endemic to the Gyarong Chu valley". Another site mentioned hardy to zone 7.
Did you get them from GB? I have seen a very rounded leaf fern like tp that was given to a friend. He does not believe it is decomposita because of the structure but even if it is not that specie in my eye is a lovely delicate plant. There are so many different types of peonies in the world. Carsten's website has written descriptions of many but the writers were generally writting from their notes.
From his site by Hong?
"Distribution. China: Daduhe Valley of NW Sichuan.
Habitat. Thickets and young secondary forests with (Cotoneaster soongaricus, Rhamnus sp. Quercus sp., Rosa willmottiae, Berberis polyantha, Cupressus chengiana, Lespedeza sp. etc., and on cliffs and rocks in sparse conifer forests; 2050 - 3100 m."
As you notice this peony is a woodland plant however discription does not state if it is growing directly under the trees or just at the woodland edge.
As OGR found out this peony was known for awhile as P.szechuanica. It has only been known, I think, since about the mid 1900s. Not sure when the name was changed. To be correct the name of the plants in the photo above and those to follow is P. decomposita subspecies decomposita. There is another subsp. rotundifolia with leaves somewhat wider and rounder.
I imported my plants directly from China.
I have been very very fortunate to go to China on plant study tours especially for peonies.
I have a few photos of P.decomposita growing wild on a mountainside. Not great photos but for those who love peonies it should be a treat. The year: 2006.
We climbed steep mountainsides. There was some farming in the valley and cows turned loose among the peonies on the mountain. The cows didn't seem to be grazing on the peonies. You can see a peony growing up through a young spruce tree.
There were no really big trees in this area so I can't say that I saw any peonies growing right under large trees. But there were a lot of peonies growing right up through small trees and shrubs. Like this one.
Some consider all peonies to need open sunshine. From pictures I have seen I have noticed that different types seem to hide their roots in the shadows of trees and bushes. My thoughts are divided into seeds come to rest against tangled foliage, the moisture at the base of other plants help them survive, in areas of intense heat or sun they use the surrounding plants as protection until they can provide their own protection against the elements.
It is good to see a picture showing that this one likes the open sun rather than shade. Pictures tell a lot about a plants likes and dislikes if the plant grows naturally in an area.
Those growing out in the open were fuller and gave me some idea how they might look in a garden setting. I'm excited about getting mine planted. What a challenge. I don't have a rocky mountainside. Maybe they will like my garden better. The plants I have were grown from seed and nursery grown for four or five years.
On another trip to China we found P. rockii in the wild on wooded hillsides. Spindly things they were. But in a Chinese garden we saw rocki varieties growing six to ten feet tall and about that wide. In my flatland windblown mucky garden I have an old rocki I bought from Reath many years ago that is five feet high and seven feet wide. A few years ago we had here two severe winters in a row that killed back to the ground a lot of tree peonies. But not the rockii. It didn't lose a bud. Now I have 39 rocki hybrid varieties in my garden. All doing really well.
Next I'm going to find out how P. decomposita appreciates the garden!
Really great to have a change of pace by posting unusual peonies. I was struck by not only the pics of the peony but also the background in post 4123 showing how the Chinese terrace very steep slopes for cultivation.
It would be nice if you would post some more pictures of the other parts of China with naturally growing peonies. Have you also gone with Walter Good on some of his trips? The one he organized for this year sounded really good. Unlikely I will save enough for any of the trips but it is nice to see the peonies in sititu.
We have had various speakers here for the HPS lectures and after the lecture I have gained so much information from their telling about their trips and showing pictures.