Paeonia 'Sarah Smith'

type: [herbaceous peony] – [species cultivar] – [peregrina-cultivar]

New Plantsman ,2001 8:3 174 Awards of Merit

Paeonia peregrina Mill 'Sarah Smith', P.C. (Paeoniaceae)

Exhibited on 21st May 2001 by The Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

There are several named clones of this rather handsome European peony, whose distribution is spread from southernmost Italy to western Turkey, and whose flower colour varies from a rather insipid pink though to deep red. 'Sarah Smith', a very striking selection from the latter end of the colour range, has deep red (RHS Colour Chart 46A/B), 'full' petals that form a cup-shaped flower 12 cm in diameter, enclosing yet darker red filaments and bright yellow stamens. These are carried at a height of up to 1 m, twice the usual figure for this species, and although the glabrous stems are noted as being 'stiff and sturdy' in the committee minutes, staking is advisable. The mid-green leaves, cut into nine main divisions, each subdivided into three acute lobes, are similarly said to be 'celery-like'; what is indisputable is that they form a very good foil for this particularly floriferous clone.

The exact origin of this particular plant is unrecorded, but it has been grown in Kew's order beds for at least 30 years, and is named for Sarah Smith, who kept them orderly for over a decade. This is an easily grown plant for either sun or semi-shade, fairly adaptable in its tolerances (but best suited to a well-drained soil with a generous mulch), and usually propagated by division as the new shoots emerge, though root cuttings are obviously the appropriate choice where quantities of plants are required.

Carsten Burkhardt's Web Project Paeonia - The Peony Database


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