Herbs & Plants

Paeonia anomala

Botanical Name: Paeonia anomala
Family: Paeoniaceae
Order: Saxifragales
Genus: Paeonia
Species:P. anomala

Common Names: Anomalous peony, Common Peony

Habitat: Paeonia anomala is native to Europe, It is popular in Central Asia. It grows in coniferous woods, rocky hillsides amongst shrubs and in dry steppe grassland. Forest margins and clearings.

Paeonia anomala is a species of herbaceous perennial peony.It is a non-woody species of peony of ½–1 m high, with an irregular carrot-shaped taproot of over ½ m long and 2 cm thick, gradually getting thinner downwards and slender side roots. As all diploid peonies, it has 10 chromosomes (2n=10)

Leaves and Stems:
The leaves have no sheath or stipules and are alternately arranged along the stem, are divided into a leaf stalk and leaf blade. The leaf blade is twice compounded or very deeply incised, first into three leaflets, themselves palmately compounded or deeply divided (this is called biternate), each leaflet being further divided into segments that themselves are lobed, resulting in seventy to one hundred segments of ¾-3¼ cm wide. At the end of the growing season the leaves may turn vivid red.

It is in flower in May. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
One or very rarely two hermaphrodite flowers fully develop on each stem, while one or two flowerbuds are arrested in their development, and two to five leaflike bracts are present. The flowers are somewhat nodding. Each flower has three to five leathery sepals that mostly end in a stretched tip, making it “leafy”, but sometimes one and rarely two sepals may be obovate with a rounded tip, which do not fall after flowering. The corolla usually consists of six to nine oblong cyclamen or rarely pink to white petals of 3-6½ × 1½-3 cm. Towards the centre of the flower are many stamens consisting of filaments of ½–1 cm topped with anthers that ripen from the inside out, open with slits and release yellow pollen. The pollen is released in sets of four grains together. Dependent on latitude and altitude flowers open between April and July and are said to smell like Lily of the valley. Petals and stamens are shed after flowering. The two to five carpels are initially pale yellow with reddish stigmas, but eventually become green, may be hairless or covered in soft felty hairs. Within, several large, initially red but eventually shiny black seeds of 6×4 mm develop, and each carpel opens by a slit over the entire length. Ripe seedheads may be present.


An easily grown plant, it does best in a deep rich soil, preferably neutral or slightly alkaline, doing quite well in sun or light shade. Plants are tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, but will not survive if the soil becomes waterlogged or is too dry. This species is lime tolerant. Plants grown on sandy soils tend to produce more leaves and less flowers, whilst those growing on clay take longer to become established but produce better blooms. Very cold resistant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -25°c. A very ornamental and long-lived plant, specimens can survive in the garden for at least 50 years. This species is closely related to P. veitchii, differing mainly in only having one flower to a stem. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. A very greedy plant inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes. Strongly resents root disturbance, taking some time to recover after being divided. Peony species are usually self-fertile, though they will also hybridise with other species if these flower nearby at the same time. Plants take 4 – 5 years to flower from seed. They generally breed true from seed.

Edible Uses:
Root – dried and cooked with protein foods. Young shoots – cooked.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is astringent and stomachic. The Chinese herb Chi Shao Yao is made from the whole root of a number of peony species, especially P. lactiflora, but also occasionally this species. The most important ingredient medicinally in the root is paeoniflorin, which has been shown to have a strong antispasmodic effect on mammalian intestines, it also reduces blood pressure, reduces body temperature caused by fever and protects against stress ulcers. A tea made from the dried crushed petals of various peony species has been used as a cough remedy, and as a treatment for haemorrhoids and varicose veins.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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