Some Hybrid Peonies1
In: American Peony Society Bulletin, 1941

When Mr. Christman asked me to give some account of my work in hybridizing peonies I consented, thinking that I could easily cover all of it in an article that would not be too long for publication. I changed my mind after I had begun to sketch out the material, for I found that there was altogether too much to be compressed into one article, even a very long one.

I have therefore decided to include in the following chapter only those hybrid peonies which have a Chinese peony as one parent and some different species as the other parent.

Here then is a summary and table of contents for the present article, the material being arranged roughly by season:

Editor’s Note:
The peony species classification changes continually, thus some are now known otherwise:

P. albiflora, the ‘Chinese Peony’, is now known as P. lactiflora

P. macrophylla is now known as P. daurica ssp macrophylla

P. wittmanniana is now known as P. daurica ssp wittmanniana (but more likely than not, Saunders got P. daurica ssp tomentosa instead)

P. cretica is usually P. clusii but here it is a synonym for P. arietina

P. decora is now known as P. peregrina

P. mlokosewitschii is now known as P. daurica ssp mlokosewitschii

P. paradoxa is nown know as P. officinalis (perhaps ssp microcarpa)

Some of the officinalis forms are also known as P. peregrina: Otto Froebel, Fire King, Lobata

Mentioned in the text is also P. triternata, which is now P. daurica ssp daurica

1. albiflora x macrophylla (tomentosa)

2.“ x Wittmanniana

3.“ x tenuifolia

4.“ x anomala


5.x x Emodi

6.“ x arietina

7.“ x Cretica

8.“ x decora decora alba

9.“ x coriacea

10.“ x Mlokosewitschi

11.“ x paradoxa

12.“ x officinalis

single crimson
double crimson
double pink
double white
single white
Lize van Veen
The Sultan
Otto Froebel
Fire King
vermilion form
crimson form

13.Hybrids of more complicated parentage, i. e.,

(a) those in which three or more species are combined, and

(b) those involving back-crosses using the fertile pollen of second generation plants.

  1. Albiflora x macrophylla (tomentosa)

This is a cross on which I began to work about 1918 and I have produced in all about 400-500 hybrid plants of this parentage.

Macrophylla is one of the earliest of all peonies; it comes into bloom in my garden usually during the first days of May while the Chinese peonies do not come in until June 5-10. This race of hybrids then gets a strong tendency to earliness from the macrophylla parent. They start to bloom about a week after macrophylla itself and then come scattering along until about the first of June. They are pleasant enough plants, but the blooms are too uniform in character to make the race a very exciting one. The flowers are almost always white or pale pink, single, and very moderate in size; also the plants are mostly quite dwarf, growing only two to two and a half feet high.

Out of all the seedlings I have had I have propagated only about half a dozen, the most distinctive being the variety to which I have given the name Chalice. This bears white flowers 8-10 inches across with a mass of long silky stamens which add greatly to the beauty of the flower. Another good one I have named Seraphim (formerly Seraph). It is not quite so large as Chalice but it is a great bloomer and when at its best it is a striking plant. Another, called Seashell2, is a pink single of very good quality. My preference in this race has been for the taller plants, the run of them being rather too dwarf.

Many years ago I made this cross using pollen of macrophylla on the Chinese peony James Kelway. Out of eight plants so produced three were double or semi-double. I lost one of these in transplanting, but the remaining two I have propagated and named, one of them, a pale pink being called Audrey (formerly Rosalind) and the other with some yellow in it, along with pink, Celia. They are for their season very nice plants, and when well established they yield blooms that are almost fully double.

I have repeated the cross on James Kelway a number of times since, hoping to get more doubles, but I have never again had as good success as with the first crossing. However, in a recent group I have had one double that promises to be very good, perhaps the best of the lot.

I would recommend hybridists who want to get doubleness into their hybrid plants, and who are using Chinese peonies for one parent to make use of James Kelway or Lady Alexandra Duff for I have several examples of the tendency of these two plants to throw doubleness into their hybrid offspring.

The Chinese parent of Chalice was Primevère, which I have used in a great many crossings, and with much satisfaction.

The cross using macrophylla pollen on Chinese peonies is not a difficult one; almost every bloom that is worked on will yield some seeds, provided the variety is itself a good seed-setter.

Most strains of hybrid peonies are sterile during the earlier years of their growth, and this strain follows the usual rule. However, after the plants have attained to full maturity they begin to set an occasional seed. I cannot tell how these seeds have been fertilized. It could be by the pollen of the bloom itself; or it could be by wind-borne pollen either from another plant of the same parentage or from anything else in the garden that was in bloom at the time. However that may be, these hybrids do acquire in time the habit of setting a few seeds, though never very many; and these seeds being viable we get from them plants which are the second generation from the original cross.

In these second generation plants there is a surprising change, for they have regained complete fertility. They have very strong pollen and are regular and fairly abundant seed-setters. Furthermore, the plants themselves are taller than the first generation plants and altogether more finished and with much more style. It would be interesting to raise a large batch of third generation plants, and I am sure they would yield some fine things though the few that I have grown were not conspicuously better than those of the second generation. Limitations of space prevent me from growing such things in the quantity I would like, but anyone who wants to have the fun of growing an authentic strain of hybrid peonies without engaging in the rather exacting business of making his own crosses would, I am sure, be rewarded if he planted some of this second generation seed. Mr. Rex Pearce the seedsman, of Moorestown, New Jersey, now carries this strain of seed of mine, so it is available for anyone who wants it.

Among the hybrids of albiflora with macrophylla there have appeared a few rather amusing sports. Some are miniatures in every way with small flowers only two or three inches across, and with very small intensely glistening foliage; these plants are also very dwarf, being only about a foot high. Another curious form which appears occasionally is one in which the petals are strap-shaped, only about half an inch wide, and in which the foliage appears curled and blistered.

When the reciprocal cross is made, i.e. with pollen of Chinese peonies used on macrophylla, there seems to be a strong tendency to doubleness. This cross takes badly and I have never had more than a few plants from it, but all of them have been double or semi-double. Another peculiarity of this group is their odor. They all smell of spices. Some of my visitors say nutmeg, some cloves, but all agree that the odor is very marked, very agreeable and very spicy. Now since macrophylla itself is without a very noticeable odor and the Chinese peonies, whatever odor they may have, do not smell of spices it is rather a problem where these hybrids get their odor from; all the more as the reciprocal strain in which albiflora is the seed parent never shows this character; nor do I possess any other peony that carries this odor except P. Mlokosewitschi which does indeed come from the same geographical region as macrophylla but which is certainly not closely related to that species botanically. I was interested to read recently a description of the white peony from the island of Crete. This plant is to be called P. Clusii (T. W. Stearn, in an unpublished article), and in the description the flower is said to possess the odor of cloves!

  1. Albiflora x Wittmanniana.

This is the cross which in the hands of the great Lemoine yielded those charming early peonies Le Printemps, Mai Fleuri, Avant Garde, and Messagere. The crossings that produced these varieties must have been made about 1890, and apparently from that time until about 1925 no further work was done with these two species.

Wittmanniana is a peony that does not do well under my conditions. The plant is I believe not offered for sale anywhere in America, and there must be very little of it in existence over here. I have imported it several times from Europe, and after setting a little bloom for two or three years it has always gradually faded away. Hence in the past twenty-five years I have only rarely had blooms and pollen of it to work with. When the opportunity has occurred I have used it for crosses mostly with the Chinese peonies, and the results are so good that I am sure it would richly repay some more experimentation.

The Lemoine hybrids, excepting Messagere, are pink, sometimes with some coffee-color or green mixed in (Le Printemps). Messagere itself is cream-colored. Now Wittmanniana is usually described as yellow, and it is true that the freshly-expanded flowers are rather yellow; but it is no such color as we find in Mlokosewitschi. Nevertheless I have found in my crossings with Wittmanniana that the progeny occasionally show a strong tendency towards yellow. There is one of quite a deep buff color which would be attractive if the flower were better in form. I have also a pale yellow or at least very creamy white double flower which came from a crossing of Wittmanniana using pollen from Lady Alexandra Duff. Another seedling which I have named Green Ivory contains an interesting combination of creamy white with green in it.

Peony Elizabeth Cahn

Peony Elizabeth CahnP. lactiflora x P. wittmanniana. Instagram image from Sirkka Lukkari on finnishpeonistssociety

The Wittmanniana hybrids show a very considerable variation in their color range and are almost always distinctive. I have several which bear flowers not unlike magnolia blooms, the color being a mixture of brown and pink. Two of these I have thought worthy of names and am calling them Magnolia and Mulan, the latter being named for the charming Chinese girl in that delightful novel Moment in Peking. I believe that Mulan in Chinese means Magnolia.

I earnestly recommend that some young enthusiast should set about the production of albiflora x Wittmanniana hybrids in quantity. I don’t know where he would get pollen of Wittmanniana; but perhaps from me, as I have some young plants which I believe to be true and some of them should be of blooming age by the spring of 1942 or at the latest 1943.

I have had seed under the name Wittmanniana from Thompson and Morgan in England, but the seed is not true. However, it yields beautiful and interesting plants which are fertile and could no doubt be crossed with the Chinese peonies. Such crosses should give interesting hybrids for the flowers of this strain of Wittmanniana, so-called, have a good deal of yellow in them. My suspicion is that the strain is hybrid in character and it may possibly be triternata x Mlokosewitschi as these two species intercross very easily and give fertile offspring.

  1. Albiflora x tenuifolia.

I made this cross mainly for the purpose of testing the authenticity of the current variety Smouthi. This peony came into commerce about 1845 as a hybrid between albiflora and tenuifolia; but in our day the plant is commonly offered as a variety of anomala or even as that species itself; thus you may see in catalogues sometimes the item P. anomala (Smouthi). There was the possibility that our plants of Smouthi were not the same as the original hybrid but were perhaps actually derived in some way from the species anomala and later named Smouthi through a confusion of labels. It seemed worthwhile therefore to repeat the cross and see what came of it. I did this about the year 1928 and have now a few mature hybrid plants. They all have very much the same character as the commercial Smouthi, varying a little in color but all possessing the same distinctive and agreeable odor which characterizes Smouthi itself. They also, like Smouthi, have many lateral buds. Hence I think we may consider it as established that that early fragrant crimson single is truly a hybrid between albiflora and tenuifolia and should not be referred to anomala, with which it has no connection whatever.

  1. Albiflora x anomala (Veitchi, Woodwardi, Beresowskyi).

It seems that these are only varieties of the species anomala itself, but the hybridist has to remember that distinct varieties may give very different results even when botanically they are to be considered as merely forms of the same species.

Crosses between Chinese peonies and any of the above-named group yield hybrids which show violent polycarpy; that is, the carpels (seed-pods) instead of being 3, 4, or 5 as is usual in peonies are multiplied up to 50 or 100 small carpel-like structures, generally with no seeds in them, and the flowers are usually without stamens. This description fits the terminals, but the lateral buds behave more normally and occasionally set seeds, from which I have now a few second generation plants which so far seem to be singularly devoid of interest or abnormality.

I should make it clear that the species anomala, of which I speak here, is the true wild plant, and not the hybrid Smouthi. There is no true stock of anomala in commerce so far as I know. My plants are mostly from seed obtained from the Botanical Garden of Leningrad in Russia. If you are in doubt about your plants of anomala, I would say this much: if the flowers are bright crimson and fragrant, and if the plant possesses laterals as well as terminal buds, then it is almost certainly Smouthi; but if the flowers are of a rather muddy purple, scentless, and borne one on a stem, then it may be the true anomala.

  1. Albiflora x Emodi.

Paeonia Emodi is the Himalayan peony. It occurs only in that region and I understand no other species is found there. The plant is like anomala in some of its characters and it is probably close to it botanically; but whereas anomala is an unattractive species, Emodi is one of the best. It is very tall, from four to four and a half feet high, bears nodding creamy white flowers which have usually only one carpel. It crosses unwillingly with the Chinese peonies. I have from a good many attempts only two or three hybrid plants. These give flowers which sometimes show polycarpy, only the abortive carpels in this case are bright green. This makes a rather curious looking flower not without beauty – a rather large single white with a conspicuous green center and no stamens. I have a few seeds gathered from the lateral blooms, but it is too soon to say anything about second generation plants yet.

Peony White Innocence

Peony White InnocenceP. lactiflora x P. emodi – Instagram image by Nick Maycher

  1. Albiflora x arietina.

Arietina belongs to the South European group of peony species, and among these the lines of demarcation are very difficult to draw. The species being therefore difficult to identify I have not used them much in my crossings. I offer no guarantee that my arietina is true. Whatever it is, it crosses with the Chinese peonies without too much difficulty and gives hybrids which have flowers in various shades of mauvish pink, most of them with an agreeable and distinctive odor not at all like that of the fragrant Chinese peonies.

I doubt that this line of crossing is worth continuing. I have never had any thing from it that seemed good enough to propagate or of any special interest; though it is only fair to say that the number of hybrids I have raised is quite small.

  1. Albiflora x Cretica.

The plants I have under the name Cretica flower very early and have blooms of a pretty, very light pink. My plants are not identical with that other species which has been called Cretica but which is now to be known as Clusii and which has white flowers. My Cretica is probably a form of arietina. Anyway it crosses with the Chinese peonies and has given me a very few hybrid plants possessing pink flowers, a very tall stature, and not much else to recommend them.

  1. Albiflora x decora, and decora alba.

I have several plants under the name decora. The best of them is a tallish plant which bears flowers of a deep blood-red color. This crosses with the Chinese peonies and gives hybrids which bear flowers in shades of red. One of them is a flower of a very intense dark purple maroon, one of the darkest peonies I know. There is an indication here that it might be worthwhile to do some more work on this cross.

I am not sure that my plants of decora alba are correctly named but I hope they are. They cross fairly well with the Chinese peonies and give a race of hybrids of great beauty. They are singles and are almost uniform in color – white, with a flush of peach pink towards the base of the petals. The petals have great substance. Some of the plants are rather dwarf but the others are tall, vigorous and conspicuously handsome. I have had just one plant of this strain which shows signs of doubling.

I do not seem ever to have made this cross using deeper colored Chinese peonies as female parents. It might be possible to get some pink or red hybrids by that means, and if they were produced they would probably be worth the labor.

  1. Albiflora x coriacea.

The species coriacea inhabits the Spanish peninsula and occurs also in the mountains of Morocco. The plant is, I think, not in commerce, and I doubt that authentic seeds can be had from any commercial source. I got some pollen in 1928 from a plant at the Experimental Farm in Ottawa, Canada, and with it made some crosses on albiflora varieties. The flowers of coriacea are not especially attractive, being of a rather purplish red color. It was therefore quite surprising to find that the hybrids all have lilac-colored flowers, and I mean a real lavender lilac color. Some of them are better than others and the best are really beautiful, especially as the flowers age and become lighter in tone.

This cross should be made on the variety James Kelway in the hope of producing doubles or semi-doubles for with this unusual coloring they would probably be very beautiful things. I would have made this cross long since but have not had pollen available. I have twice grown seedlings from seed gathered on the Ottawa plant, but all of the seedlings that have hitherto bloomed have had sterile pollen. The reason for this is certainly a mystery.

  1. Albiflora x Mlokosewitschi.

I mention this cross not because I have any plants derived from it but because it forms an interesting chapter in the history of peony hybridizing. Years ago I worked quite hard on it, but as I never got anything I eventually gave it up. The desirability of producing plants of this hybrid parentage is obvious. P. Mlokosewitschi is the only really yellow herbaceous peony. If hybrids could be produced between it and the Chinese peonies we might by that means come into the possession of a strain of yellow peonies in the herbaceous section as striking as we now have from P. lutea in the shrubby section.

At about the time when I was abandoning the cross as impossible, Dr. Earle B. White of Washington took it up with the determination to get the cross to take if it was possible to do so. I do not know how many thousands of times he repeated the cross, but it seemed at last that the immovable obstacle yielded to the irresistible force, for last year he was able to show to the members of the American Peony Society a bloom or two from his first hybrid plant; and the flowers are yellow. What Dr. White may have in store for us from his other hybrid plants of the same breeding, only time will show.

  1. Albiflora x paradoxa.

 I do not know whether my plant of paradoxa is true to name, but the few plants I have had by crossing it with Chinese peonies do not offer any great inducement to go on with the cross. It seems to produce purple-flowered offspring of no great charm. Still, someone else, with probably a different paradoxa, might have better luck.

  1. Albiflora x officinalis

I have no plant of the wild P. officinalis that I can be sure is true. All the forms of the species that I have used, and they are many, are the garden varieties, with the exception of one; this is a single of my own raising. My records on it are incomplete and I cannot be sure of its parentage, but it is obviously a form of officinalis and it bears good-sized flowers of a deep blood crimson. I began to use it for crossing nearly 25 years ago, and with good success. It is the father of all those varieties which are now brought together under the name ‘Challenger Strain’. This includes the named varieties Challenger, Defender, Buccaneer, Liberator (formerly called Commander), Man of War, and Erebus. Of these Challenger, Defender and Liberator, three of the best in the group, are all children of Primevère.

There is such a bewildering variety of hybrids between albiflora and the forms of officinalis that one hardly knows where to begin with them. It seems that each separate variety of officinalis imparts peculiar characters to its offspring. Thus the Challenger group is quite different from that in which the officinalis parent was the variety Sabini, and these in turn are quite distinct from that large and important group derived from lobata or lobata Sunbeam. Lobata itself is a variable plant. I have several times raised batches of seedlings of lobata, and they do not come at all uniform in color. The plants that I have done most work with came from Amos Perry in England and are said to have been found wild somewhere near Smyrna in Asia Minor. They are very nearly or quite identical with the plant which is in commerce under the name Sunbeam. This plant is not very well known in America, but in England it is much grown. Its rather small flowers are of a clear vermilion color and it blooms quite late for an officinalis variety. It has one peculiarity which should endear it to the heart of the hybridist. That is that its pollen takes on the Chinese peonies with incredible freedom. It is no uncommon experience to get ten or twenty seeds out of a single pod. When I made my first crosses using lobata pollen I was determined, if possible, to get a good number of seeds to start off the new strain. I had already made many crosses with other forms of officinalis on to the Chinese peonies and they had always taken rather poorly; so I assumed that lobata, being, as I believe, a form of officinalis, would do likewise and that in order to get a reasonable amount of hybrid seed in the autumn I must make a campaign. Which I did. The result was that in September I gathered about 3000 cross-bred seeds, which yielded me later something like 1200 hybrid plants. I am inclined to think that this strain is the most important that has yet come out of the labors of peony hybridists. Mr. Glasscock has worked on it for years and I understand that many of his finest things are of this parentage.

It seems to make a lot of difference what form of lobata one has to work with. The plants from Amos Perry gave progeny the flowers of which vary from a pale salmon pink to crimson, but mostly in salmon, cherry and coral pink – a most lovely range of colors. But I have also a crimson form of lobata and when I used that on the Chinese peonies I got a group of plants which are all crimsons, varying in depth of color, but without one pink in the whole group. These lobata hybrids are mostly singles but I have a number of semi-doubles, and a few that are fully double; and I imagine that the other breeders who have worked on this cross will have had similar results.

The impressive beauty of the hybrids of the Challenger strain suggested that one might get something interesting by crossing a single white officinalis with the albifloras. I had in my imagination a race of tall whites analogous to the Challenger strain which might come out of such a cross. I got a single white officinalis from Barr and Sons in London and proceeded to use its pollen on the Chinese peonies. I got a fair number of hybrid seeds the plants from which began to bloom a couple of years ago. To my surprise there have been no single whites among them. The color is almost uniform throughout the group – a pale pinkish lavender. All that have yet bloomed are single. The flowers are very large but so far the plants have nothing like the vigor and stature of the Challenger group. I think I was hostile to their color at first from my disappointment in getting no whites, but I have gradually come to think better of them and I now hope that there may be a few worthy of propagation.

A group that has greatly interested me is that derived from the variety Otto Froebel when crossed with the Chinese peonies. My original plant of Otto Froebel came from Barr in England many years ago. It bears flowers of a rosy salmon color and seems to be identical with what Barr now offers as Officinalis Charmer, whereas plants of Otto Froebel that have come from Barr in more recent years have flowers of a deeper shade than the old Otto Froebel. However that may be the cross between my Otto Froebel and the Chinese peonies has yielded many fine things, and they are especially good in the exhibition hall. The colors seem to lend themselves to artificial lighting. I always have the impression that the Otto Froebel hybrids look better in a show than they do in the garden whereas with the lobata hybrids the reverse is true. Among the best of my Otto Froebel hybrids I would name Birthday, Victoria Lincoln (formerly Victoria), Amity, Hope, Mercy (formerly Patience). (These changes in the names of some of my varieties have been made to avoid confusion with older names on other varieties; and since mine have already been disseminated it seems necessary in speaking of them to give both names.)

I do not know whether anyone else has worked with Otto Froebel. I doubt that other breeders possess that variety identical with mine. Those who have the darker type would quite surely get a different set of hybrids from it, and perhaps even better than those in my garden.

I do not think there is any object in considering here all the many hybrids that I have obtained from the different forms of officinalis. Fine things have come from rubra plena, rosea plena, Sabini, Lize van Veen, and in fact from all of those named in the beginning of this article, and the hybridist may be quite sure that whatever forms of officinalis he may have available they will all give interesting and beautiful things when crossed with the albiflora varieties.

  1. Hybrids of more complicated parentage, i.e.,

(a) those in which three or more species are combined, and

(b) those involving back-crosses, using the fertile pollen of second generation plants.

We come now to a group of hybrids many of which are still in the very early stages of their growth, and yet containing such interesting possibilities that I would like to speak of them here. These are the multiple hybrids, i.e., those in which three or more species are combined in the resulting plant.

Peony Athena

Peony Athena, a Quad hybrid of albiflora, officinalis, macrophylla and Mlokosewitschi. Instagram image copyright of Nick Maycher

One race of these is already well established and has yielded several fine things. Its history is as follows: the species macrophylla crosses rather easily with the forms of officinalis, and gives hybrids which are fertile even in the first generation. With their pollen we may fertilize albiflora varieties, and thus we get a strain of hybrids in which albiflora, officinalis and macrophylla are combined. It is an interesting and very varied group of plants. The best things that have come out of it so far are a variety which I have called Burgundy, with flowers of a blackish purple tone and possessing a good deal of style, and another which has as yet only a number (No. 8497) and which is a very upstanding white.

The union of these three species has also been brought about in the following way: I have said that the crosses between albiflora and macrophylla which are almost completely sterile, though not quite, do occasionally set seeds and that these seeds give second generation plants which are fertile. Such a second generation plant may be used for crossing with forms of officinalis, and the resulting plants will again represent a union of albiflora, officinalis and macrophylla. My variety named Pageant was produced by that mode of procedure.

Another group of multiple hybrids was produced in this way: P.macrophylla crosses though not too easily, with Mlokosewitschi. The hybrids bear yellow flowers, are extremely early, and their pollen is good. It is rather surprising to find strong pollen here for the two plants do not seem to be related botanically, and their chromosome numbers are different, Mlokosewitschi being diploid while macrophylla is tetraploid. These fertile yellow-flowered hybrids should be widely used on other species as they are likely to give some novel forms. I believe Dr. White has some such experiments under way. I have made some crosses with this pollen on albiflora varieties and have now out of a small group that have already flowered, two which are distinctly yellow. Here again the variety James Kelway should be brought into the picture for the chance of getting some offspring with double yellow flowers. These hybrids are a union of albiflora, macrophylla, and Mlokosewitschi. In them the objections which Mlokosewitschi shows to crossing with albiflora have been overcome by what might be called diplomacy.

A group in which one more complication is added, is the following: The fertile hybrid of macrophylla and Mlokosewitschi was crossed with several different forms of officinalis. The cross takes fairly well and produces fertile plants. Pollen from these was then used on albiflora varieties. The resulting hybrids represent a combination of albiflora, officinalis, macrophylla and Mlokosewitschi. The various crosses used here all take fairly well and I have now several large groups of young plants of this complicated parentage; but it will still be two or more years before any of them come to blooming age.

Another group worth mentioning in that involving hybrids between Mlokosewitschi and tenuifolia. These two species cross rather easily and give sterile hybrids; these, following the usual rule, give in time a few seeds, and from these, second generation plants are produced which show restored fertility; hence their pollen may be used on anything you please. I have now a number of plants in which albiflora, Mlokosewitschi and tenuifolia are combined. They are still too young to bloom but it will be interesting to see what they produce when they come to blooming age.

A different line of attack is that in which fertile second generation plants, for example of albiflora x macrophylla, are used to breed back again on to one of the ancestral lines. Where the first generation hybrid gives pollen of some vitality the back-cross may be from it. Thus the variety which I now call Garden Peace is the result of using pollen of Chalice (albiflora x macrophylla) on an albiflora variety.

This story could be continued almost indefinitely, but I have the feeling that I have already said perhaps too much. The multiple hybrids are the things that now interest me most because they seem to contain the possibility of new breaks. I hope they will justify my faith in them.

In the earlier years of this adventure it looked as if there might be a time when it would come to a natural ending. When each species had been crossed with every other species and the progeny of all the successful crossings brought to maturity, that would be the completion of the survey of the genus and a rounding-off of the study. But long before this is completed we find on our hands some fertile hybrids of the first generation and many more second generation hybrids of restored fertility; and with every one of these there is a new beginning to be made and a vast new series of crosses to be initiated; so that instead of narrowing in as we get farther along, the field continually widens out, and what has been done is only a beginning. The breeding of successive generations of peonies is a work involving such a long series of years that the continuation of the story must be left to younger hands. I have indicated some of the lines that seem to me to offer the greatest prospect of success and interest.

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  1. Saunders, A.P. “Some Hybrid Peonies.” In: American Peony Society Bulletin, 1941, September, pp. 3-12[]
  2. The name Seashell will have to be changed, as it is, I learn, already in use[]

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