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May 11, 2011 / virginiatrailschristine

In Bloom: Tree Peonies

Edith J. Carrier Arboretum: Tree Peonie

Edith J. Carrier Arboretum: Tree Peonie

Tree peonies look like giant paper mache flowers

Genus: Paeonia suffruiticosa

Tree peonies are actually shrubs, not trees. They produce woody stems and do not die back to the ground like herbaceous peonies. They grow very slowly, but live for a long time. Some tree peonies in China are believed to be over 200 years old. Plants can grow up to feet tall, but they may take several decades to do so. The flowers are large, ruffled and fragrant and can come in many different colors.

Fun Fact:  The Chinese tree peony is the national flower of China and was once grown exclusively by the emperor.

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