Woody Peony Foliage
Foliage of Saunders woody peonies also varies greatly and is helpful in confirming identities of plants especially since lutea hybrid flowers can be quite variable even on the same plant (See photos of ‘Amber Moon’ for an example). Some have very fine thin leaves such as ”Canary’, ‘Banquet’, ‘Daredevil’, ‘Rose Flame’, and Thunderbolt’ and others such as ‘Wings of the Morning’ have rather broad foliage.
Photos were taken during July 2023. Relative sizes of the leaflets are shown by the 10″ line in each photo. Because many of the photos were quite dark I brightened the final images. Thus it is best to use these photos to review leaf sizes and shapes rather than color.
Presently, several identities are under review by “experts” who grow woody peonies. ‘Summer Night’ and ‘Tiger Tiger’ appear identical to some growers . This could trace back to the original introductions being very similar or to mixups occuring in the past 70 years. We have now determined that most plants sold as ‘Black Douglas’ are actually ‘Black Panther’.
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During the 2023 American Peony Society convention we were privileged to view the grand collection of Saunders peonies at the Grant Garden at Hamilton College’s Root Glen Arboretum. Knowledgeable members could find no differences between the plants grown as Black Panther and Black Douglas. Winterthur Museum and Gardens in Delaware has one of the largest “original” collections of Saunders woody peonies and it is clear that their Black Douglas has very different foliage from what is commonly sold as Black Douglas.