Not sure if anyone will see this, but a friend and I did dig up a P Brownii plant out of the woods last fall (It was her idea) to take home and see if it would grow for us. What we got seems to be two plants that had grown from two seeds that had germinated next to each other. And was growing in an area of loose sandy soil by the side of a road where it looked like cars had occasionally driven over it. By “reading” the crown development, it would seem that these seedlings were around 5 years old.
As you can see, these particular plants did not seem eager to make new roots from the crown area, as many other peonies tend to do.
Having said that, there would have been not a shread of doubt that this was a member of the peony family, in that the roots have the exact same strong odor that other members of the peony family do.
After more delay than I am happy to admit, I finally got the smaller of the two roots hastily planted in a raised area, without much preparation other than digging a hole in our sandy soil (soil that is pretty much identical to the soil we had dug it from) and planting it.
Somewhat to my surprise, it came right up this spring. I watched it as it developed, expecting it to collapse and die at any moment, but it seemed to be happy enough as the season progressed. I did water it on occasion in the early spring, to simulate melting snow ,which it didn’t seem to mind.
Everything seemed fine that is, until I went out one day, only to find that a deer had eaten it. Which I felt was odd, in that the plants in the wild never seem to be molested by deer in any way. Deer can be curious though, so I suspect that that was the situation.
Will it come up again next year ? Perhaps, although I’m not expecting much, as plants in the wild can be fairly prolific with their foliage during the growing season, and this plant never got much of a chance for that.
My friend planted the larger root, but I’m not sure what sort of success she had. Although I had the chance to talk to another gardener in my neighborhood who spoke of having success transplanting them to her home garden.
If I were to characterize our growing conditions, I’d say we have generally dry springs, summers, and falls, with most of our moisture coming in the form of snow during the winter while the plants are dormant.