Is it or isn’t it?

Being a plantsman, I am always on the look-out for interesting and unusual plants. A couple of years ago, I visited a small nursery about forty miles from home – the sort of place that is immaculate with well cared-for plants, the sort of nursery you instinctively trust. Among the plants on sale were some peonies, not quite large enough to carry flowers, but strong and healthy young plants. They were labelled as paeonia bociandii.

I bought one, planted it in a bright position in good soil, and looked for more information on it, but drew a complete blank. Even the specie name – bociandii – turned up nothing. On my next visit to the nursery, I enquired about my new purchase. They had received seed of it about ten years earlier, but had no information on its source. Paeonia bociandii appeared to be a complete mystery.

Two years later and my plant flowered for the first time.

Paeonia bociandii - 2017

However, it looked very similar to paeonia mlokosewitschii, blooming in a different part of the garden at the same time.

Paeonia mlokosewitschii (spring) - 2017

Are they the same plant?

Certainly Kew Gardens have no record of P. bociandii, but the nursery stand by the name. So are they the same? Does anyone have any information on the mystery P. bociandii?

Whatever its name, it’s a good plant, and seems happy in its chosen spot.


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