White Innocence

Didn’t bloom in 2020, perhaps due to a late frost. I’d really looked forward to its blooms so I could have my picture taken with it to mimic an often-used (and perhaps last taken) photo of Professor Saunders with this peony in the garden of Grace Root.

This is a truly unique plant and the only Saunders cultivar resulting from a cross between P. lactiflora and P. emodi. Someone needs to make a pink one although perhaps it wouldn’t have the sophistication of this purest of whites!


Cultivar: White Innocence
Year: 1947
Seedling No: 14427. Page 19 of Saunders’ Notebook I – notation by Silvia Saunders
Parentage: 3: lactiflora 1722 X emodi


Flower: Color: white
Form: single, large open flat flower, multiple flowers per stem
Blooms: Week 4-5 (based on 2017 bloom date)
Carpels: 2-4 or more, light green, glabrous, exhibits polycarpy
Stigmas: white
Disc: white, prominent
Stamens: filaments yellow, very short, sparse anthers
Plant: Habit: upright
Foliage color: medium green
Foliage form: rather narrow leaves, terminal lobed
Height: Up to 5′ in some reports; 46″ in 2021


Recommendation: Collector’s plant
Availability: Several specialty nurseries


A bloom exhibiting polycarpy.