Peony Classification and Flower Forms
This is the common herbaceous garden species originating from China. The lactiflora species is known for cultivars with sweet fragrance, red, white or pink blooms and also for additional side buds that could extend the bloom season. Flowers can vary in forms ranging from a single row of petals to a fully developed double.
These varieties are the result of crossing parents of two completely different species. Hybrids typically bloom earlier than garden peonies, usually lack side buds and most have no fragrance at all. However, hybrid peonies have a broader genetic background and, as a result, produce vivid blooms of either bright yellow, true red, stunning coral, luminescent pinks or flares of color that radiate from the inner petals.
Itoh (Intersectional) Hybrid Peonies:
Itoh Hybrids are named after Toichi Itoh, the Japanese plant breeder who was the first to successfully cross tree peonies with garden peonies. These hybrids appear similar to tree peonies in flower and leaf form but are much hardier. The foliage dies down to the ground each fall, as does the foliage of all herbaceous peonies.