Alexander Woollcott

This peony is named for Alexander Woollcott (1887-1943) who was a student at Hamilton College during Saunders’ tenure. He became a rather acerbic theater critic, radio personality, and sometime actor and playwright and the inspiration for the character of Sheridan Whiteside in The Man Who Came to Dinner.

This is one of the most popular “lobata of Perry” red hybrids. It exhibits nice upright growth and good foliage. My plant has gradually dwindled with only 5 blooms in 2020 and a similar number in 2021.

Cultivar: Alexander Woollcott
Year: 1941
Seedling No: 10644 G. Pages 22 & 46 of Saunders Notebook I
Parentage: 7: lactiflora ‘Marie Jacquin’ X “lobata of Perry”
Flower: Color deep red
Form: semi-double
Blooms: Week 5
Carpels: 2-5, cream – light greenish yellow, velvety
Stigmas: pale pink
Disc: pale pink
Stamens: filaments “fine and very short, cream reddish” (Silvia Saunders)
Plant: Habit: upright
Foliage color: deep green, shining
Foliage form: narrow with lobed tips
Height: 24″ in 2021
Recommendation: Recommended especially if you like dark glowing red peonies but does not appear to increase quickly.
Availability: Many specialty nurseries