Received July 10, 2020. No seedling number, has always been known as Alkaja in the originators garden. Pod Parent: An unnamed Paeonia anomala, a garden plant of Kola Peninsula origin. Pollen Parent: Paeonia x hybrida, an heirloom Finnish garden plant known as Kartanopioni. First year bloomed 1995. First propagated 1999. Very early bloom period. Flower form SINGLE. Flowers borne 1 to a stem, 4-4 ¾ inches in size (10-12 cm), with out-facing presentation. Bluish-crimson in color with red highlights. The color is intermediate between the two parents, noticeably more bluish than P. x hybrida, but much brighter than P. anomala. Petals are cupped, rounded, with just a hint of ruffling along the edges, and have a luminous silky sheen. Pleasant scent. Carpels average 3 in number, greyish green, moderately hairy, with light red stigmas of normal anatomy. Staminodal disc well-developed, light green. Pollen bearing stamens with filaments pale yellow. Seeds are produced occasionally. A large, robust plant to 43 inches (110 cm). As the season progresses, the tall stems begin to spread and thus benefit from mechanical support. Well covered with fern-like leaves which are finely cut, being intermediate between the two parents. Tuberous roots readily form adventitious buds, thus providing additional propagation opportunities. A vigorous and healthy plant which has thrived in both clay and sandy soils. Intermediate in appearance between both parents, but overall a better plant than either of them. A fine landscape plant but it can also be used in a vase. The name is pronounced Ahl-kah-yah. It is a Finnish word, chosen to convey the very early bloom period, beginning the peony season in the originators garden. The name also marks this as the first peony to be registered out of the originators garden.