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Tree Peonies

The peony gardens are located on the northeast side of the grounds and are open to the public from dawn to dusk.

One of the earliest accounts of tree peonies was written by Ou-yang Hisu (1007-1072) and is titled “Record of the Tree Peonies of Loyang.” In this account Hisu says “as for the tree peony, this has no name but is merely referred to as ‘flower,’ meaning that in the empire the tree peony is the only true flower.” This record included names and descriptions of twenty three cultivars about which Hisu says, “… I now record only the most outstanding varieties, and rank them in order.”

Facts About Tree Peonies

  • Linda Hall Library’s collection of tree peonies was started in the early 1970s.
  • Tree peonies are propagated by grafting a tree peony bud onto an herbaceous peony root.
  • Tree peonies are not really “trees” but are deciduous shrubs.
  • In their native habitat in China, they can reach eight to ten feet tall.
  • In the United States they will grow in zones 4-8, requiring some winter weather in order to bloom.
  • The largest shrub on the grounds of Linda Hall Library is about 5′ tall and 5-6′ wide.