Getting to Know Peony Talk

Terms-Where Science Mixes With the Market Place

Carpel, plumule, disk?  Like all plant groups, peonies (Paeonia) have their own descriptive terminology.  Knowing these terms can be helpful in better understanding all aspects of our favorite plant-the peony.

Many terms are freely used in the market place to describe the many and varied characteristics of peonies, but are equally used in scientific aspects.   But how are they important?  Often, the terms are unfamiliar to gardeners and can serve to help in the many decisions that are involved in growing, purchasing and enjoying this wonderful plant.

Example: In peonies, the vessels that contain the seeds are not called “pods,” but rather, carpels!  These finger-like structures are unique in the plant world and have been specifically named to recognize their characteristics.

*If you find a term that is missing or you are not familiar with, let us know, APS would be glad to add to our glossary!