Peony species (scientific name Paeonia lactiflora) with plants that die back in cold weather to regrow each spring from a tuberous root are called “herbaceous,” from the latin word for grassy. The stems and branches remain soft and pliable, some stiff enough to hold the large, showy flowers. The first varieties introduced to Europe and named 1753 were white, “lactiflora” mean milk-white flower.
Reviewing my photography in preparation for this post I discovered not a single one for herbaceous peony, such was my interest in the woody varieties my in-laws planted around the property. Fortunately, they did not neglect the herbaceous varieties featured here.
These photographs were taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV dslr and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens with a “BeFree” Manfrotto tripod with ball head. f-stop was tamped down to the maximum, f16 for this lens. Exposures were taken when the intermittent morning breeze abated.
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Paeonia lactiflora, in the family Paeoniaceae, contains around 30 species in Europe, across Asia and in western North America growing wild in scrub and woods, often in rocky places or on cliffs. Most species in Eastern Europe, others in the Caucasus, central Asia, the Himalayas, and Japan, mainly on limestone, and a species in dry parts of California.
Peonies have long been cultivated for their spectactular flowers as well as for their medicinal preoperties, particularily in China
Reference: “The Botanical Garden” by Phillips and Rix, Volume I (2002, Firefly Books, Buffalo, New York and Willowdale, Ontario