Peony Registry

All That Jazz

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All That Jazz
Donald Smith

Seedling number IC-00-28. Parentage: ‘Martha W.’ x ‘Zephyrus’. First bloomed 2006, first propagated 2014. This new intersectional (Itoh) hybrid peony was created from a cross made in the spring of 2000. The seed parent was the herbaceous (lactiflora) cultivar, ‘Martha W.’ (Spangler, 1986). The pollen parent was the advanced generation lutea hybrid (AGLH) tree peony, ‘Zephyrus’ (N. Daphnis, 1970). ‘Zephyrus’ is a (1st generation) back-cross (BC1) AGLH from the cross, (‘Suisho-haku’ x F2A), where ‘Suisho-haku’ is a suffruiticosa cultivar and F2A is one of only two F2 lutea hybrid tree peonies raised by Prof. A.P. Saunders (lutea x suffruticosa). This peony was selected primarily because of its unique speckled flowers. In this regard, this new intersectional hybrid cultivar is similar to the famous speckled lactiflora peony, ‘The Fawn’, except in this case, the color combination is very different and (to my mind) much more stunning. The flower petals are creamy white and are moderately speckled (and often also randomly streaked) with dark maroon (RHS: 59A). When first open, the petals are also flushed or suffused with pink, which gives the flowers an overall pink look, but which quickly fades away as the flowers mature in the sun. In addition, the center of each flower is dominated by large, very prominent dark plum-colored basal flares that often appear almost black and extend outward at least a third to half-way up the central petals (petaloids), and that are reminiscent of its pollen parent Zephyrus. This unique combination of characteristics creates a very striking and unusual kaleidoscope-like effect. In addition, the expression of these characteristics varies significantly from flower to flower, so that each and every flower is unique unto itself. When in bloom, the uniqueness of the flowers makes this variety one that simply cannot be mistaken for any other peony variety. The flower form also varies some between SEMI-DOUBLE to DOUBLE. The flowers are of medium size, up to 6″ (15 cm) in diameter and are lightly, but pleasantly fragrant. There is a sparse ring of stamens and an average of five carpels which are very light green, but no pollen or seed fertility has been observed. Mature plants will be 32-33″ (80-85 cm) tall and 48-52″ (120 to 135 cm) wide with healthy medium green, cut-foliage that is typical of the intersectional hybrid group. The flowers are well presented just above and outside of the foliage canopy on strong stems, with up to three flowers per stem.

Reference: 2023-DIR:XX