Hosta is a genus of plants known as hostas, plantain lilies and by the Japanese name giboshi. Hostas are cultivated as shade-tolerant foliage plants; the genus is placed in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae, is native to northeast Asia. Like many "lilioid monocots", the genus was once classified in the Liliaceae; the genus was named by Austrian botanist Leopold Trattinnick in 1812, in honor of the Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host. In 1817, the generic name Funkia was used by German botanist Kurt Sprengel in honor of Heinrich Funk, a collector of ferns and alpines. Hostas are herbaceous perennial plants, growing from rhizomes or stolons, with broad lanceolate or ovate leaves varying in size by species from 1–18 in long and 0.75–12 in broad. The smallest varieties are called miniatures. Variation among the numerous cultivars is greater, with clumps ranging from less than four in across and three in high to more than six ft across and four ft high. Leaf color in wild species is green, although some species are known for a glaucous waxy leaf coating that gives a blue appearance to the leaf.
Some species have a glaucous white coating covering the underside of the leaves. Natural mutations of native species are known with yellow-green colored leaves or with leaf variegation. Variegated plants often give rise to sports that are the result of the reshuffling of cell layers during bud formation, producing foliage with mixed pigment sections. In seedlings variegation is maternally derived by chloroplast transfer and is not a genetically inheritable trait; the flowers are produced on upright scapes that are woody and remain on the plant throughout winter, they are taller than the leaf mound, end in terminal racemes. The individual flowers are pendulous, 0.75–2 in long, with six petals, lavender, or violet in color and scentless. The only fragrant species is Hosta plantaginea, which has white flowers up to four in long; this species blooms in late summer and is sometimes known as "August Lily". Taxonomists differ on the number of Hosta species. Accordingly, the list of species given here may be taken loosely.
The genus may be broadly divided into three subgenera. Interspecific hybridization occurs. Many cultivated hostas described as species have been reduced to cultivars. Accepted species as of October 2014: Hostas are cultivated, being useful in the garden as shade-tolerant plants whose striking foliage provides a focal point; the plants are long-lived perennials that are winter hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 8 and recommended for heat zones 8 to 1. Though Hosta plantaginea originates in China, most of the species that provide the modern plants were introduced from Japan to Europe by Philipp Franz von Siebold in the mid-19th century originating from shady locations with more moisture than they are cultivated. Newer species have been discovered on the Korean peninsula as well. Hybridization within and among species and cultivars has produced numerous cultivars, with over 3,000 registered and named varieties, as many more that are not yet registered with the American Hosta Society. Cultivars with golden- or white-variegated leaves are prized.
Popular cultivars include'Francee','Gold Standard"Undulata','June', and'Sum and Substance'. Newer, fragrant cultivars such as'Guacamole' are popular; the American Hosta Society and the British Hosta and Hemerocallis Society support Hosta Display Gardens within botanical gardens. Hostas are exhibited at major shows such as the Chelsea Flower Show; the following is a list of cultivars that have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. While grown for ornamental purposes in the United States, all species of hosta are edible, are grown as vegetables in some Asian cultures. However, hostas are toxic to dogs and horses due to the saponins contained in the plant. Symptoms include diarrhea. Hosta leaves and stems are eaten by deer, rabbits and snails, the roots and rhizomes are eaten by voles, all of these can cause extensive damage to collections in gardens; some varieties seem more resistant to slug damage, more prevalent in the growing season, than others. Insect pests include Vine cutworms.
Foliar nematodes, which leave streaks of dead tissue between veins, have become an increasing problem where pesticide use has decreased. A potexvirus called'Hosta Virus X' was first identified in Minnesota, USA in 1996. Plants that are infected must be destroyed as the disease can be transmitted from plant to plant by contaminated sap. Symptoms include dark green "ink bleed" marks in the veins of yellow-colored leaves, and/or tissue collapse between veins, it can take years for symptoms to show, so symptomless plants in infected batches should also
Iris is a genus of 260–300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris; some authors state that the name refers to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species. As well as being the scientific name, iris is widely used as a common name for all Iris species, as well as some belonging to other related genera. A common name for some species is'flags', while the plants of the subgenus Scorpiris are known as'junos' in horticulture, it is a popular garden flower. The often-segregated, monotypic genera Belamcanda and Pardanthopsis are included in Iris. Three Iris varieties are used in the Iris flower data set outlined by Ronald Fisher in his 1936 paper The use of multiple measurements in taxonomic problems as an example of linear discriminant analysis. Irises are perennial plants, they have long, erect flowering stems which may be simple or branched, solid or hollow, flattened or have a circular cross-section.
The rhizomatous species have 3–10 basal sword-shaped leaves growing in dense clumps. The bulbous species have basal leaves; the inflorescences contain one or more symmetrical six-lobed flowers. These grow on a peduncle; the three sepals, which are spreading or droop downwards, are referred to as "falls". They expand from their narrow base, into a broader expanded portion and can be adorned with veining, lines or dots. In the centre of the blade, some of the rhizomatous irises have a "beard", which are the plants filaments; the three, sometimes reduced, petals stand upright behind the sepal bases. They are called "standards"; some smaller iris species have all six lobes pointing straight outwards, but limb and standards differ markedly in appearance. They are united at their base into a floral tube; the styles divide towards the apex into petaloid branches. The iris flower is of interest as an example of the relation between flowering plants and pollinating insects; the shape of the flower and the position of the pollen-receiving and stigmatic surfaces on the outer petals form a landing-stage for a flying insect, which in probing for nectar, will first come into contact with the perianth with the stigmatic stamens in one whorled surface, borne on an ovary formed of three carpels.
The shelf-like transverse projection on the inner whorled underside of the stamens is beneath the overarching style arm below the stigma, so that the insect comes in contact with its pollen-covered surface only after passing the stigma. Thus, an insect bearing pollen from one flower will, in entering a second, deposit the pollen on the stigma; the iris fruit is a capsule. In some species, the seeds bear an aril. Iris is the largest genus of the family Iridaceae with up to 300 species – many of them natural hybrids. Modern classifications, starting with Dykes, have subdivided them. Dykes referred to the major subgroupings as sections. Subsequent authors such as Lawrence and Rodionenko have called them subgenera, while retaining Dykes' groupings, using six subgenera further divided into twelve sections. Of these, section Limneris was further divided into sixteen series. Like some older sources, Rodionenko moved some of the bulbous subgenera into separate genera, but this has not been accepted by writers such as Mathew, although the latter kept Hermodactylus as a distinct genus, to include Hermodactylus tuberosus, now returned to Hermodactyloides as Iris tuberosa.
Rodionenko reduced the number of sections in subgenus Iris, from six to two, depending on the presence or absence of arils on the seeds, referred to as arilate or nonarilate. Taylor provides arguments for not including all arilate species in Hexapogon. In general, modern classifications recognise six subgenera, of which five are restricted to the Old World; the two largest subgenera are further divided into sections. Iris Limniris Xiphium Nepalensis Scorpiris Hermodactyloides Nearly all species are found in temperate Northern hemisphere zones, from Europe to Asia and across North America. Although diverse in ecology, Iris is predominantly found in dry, semi-desert, or colder rocky mountainous areas, other habitats include grassy slopes, meadowlands and riverbanks. Iris is extensively grown as ornamental plant in botanical gardens. Presby Memorial Iris Gardens in New Jersey, for example, is a living iris museum with over 10,000 plants, while in Europe the most famous iris garden is arguably the Giardino dell'Iris in Florence which ev
Manhattan is a city in northeastern Kansas in the United States at the junction of the Kansas River and Big Blue River. It is the county seat of Riley County; as of the 2010 census, the city population was 52,281. The city was founded by settlers from the New England Emigrant Aid Company as a Free-State town in the 1850s, during the Bleeding Kansas era. Nicknamed "The Little Apple" as a play on New York City's "Big Apple", Manhattan is best known as the home of Kansas State University and has a distinct college town atmosphere. Fort Riley, a United States Army post, is located 8 miles west of Manhattan. Before settlement by European-Americans in the 1850s, the land where Manhattan sits was home to Native American tribes. Most from 1780 to 1830 it was home to the Kaw people; the Kaw settlement was called Blue Earth Village. It was named after the river the tribe called the Great Blue Earth River – today known as the Big Blue River – which intersected with the Kansas River by their village. Blue Earth Village was the site of a large battle between the Kaw and the Pawnee in 1812.
The Kaw tribe ceded ownership of this land in a treaty signed at the Shawnee Methodist Mission on January 14, 1846. The Kansas–Nebraska Act opened the territory to settlement by U. S. citizens in 1854. That fall, George S. Park founded the first Euro-American settlement within the borders of the current Manhattan. Park named it Polistra; that same year, Samuel D. Houston and three other pioneers founded Canton, a neighboring community near the mouth of the Big Blue River. Neither Canton nor Polistra grew beyond their original founders. In March 1855, a group of New England Free-Staters traveled to Kansas Territory under the auspices of the New England Emigrant Aid Company to found a Free-State town. Led by Isaac Goodnow, the first members of the group selected the location of the Polistra and Canton claims for the Aid Company's new settlement. Soon after the New Englanders arrived at the site, in April 1855, they agreed to join Canton and Polistra to make one settlement named Boston, they were soon joined by dozens more New Englanders, including Goodnow's brother-in-law Joseph Denison.
In June 1855, the paddle steamer Hartford, carrying 75 settlers from Ohio, ran aground in the Kansas River near the settlement. The Ohio settlers, who were members of the Cincinnati-Manhattan Company, had been headed twenty miles further upstream to the headwaters of the Kansas River, the location today of Junction City. After realizing they were stranded, the Hartford passengers accepted an invitation to join the new town, but insisted that it be renamed Manhattan, done on June 29, 1855. Manhattan was incorporated on May 30, 1857. Early Manhattan settlers sometimes found themselves in conflict with Native Americans, the town was threatened by pro-slavery Southerners. Manhattan was staunchly Free-State, it elected the only two Free-State legislators to the first Territorial Legislature called the "Bogus Legislature." However, nearby Fort Riley protected the settlement from the major violence visited upon other Free-State towns during the "Bleeding Kansas" era. This allowed the town to develop quickly.
On January 30, 1858, Territorial Governor James W. Denver signed an act naming Manhattan as county seat for Riley County. Ten days on February 9, 1858, Governor Denver chartered a Methodist college in Manhattan, named Blue Mont Central College; the young city received another boost when gold was discovered in the Rocky Mountains in 1859 and Fifty-Niners began to stream through Manhattan on their way to prospect in the mountains. Manhattan was one of the last significant settlements on the route west, the village's merchants did a brisk business selling supplies to miners. Manhattan's first newspaper,The Kansas Express, began publishing on May 21, 1859. In 1861, when the State of Kansas entered the Union, Isaac Goodnow, a teacher in Rhode Island, began lobbying the legislature to convert Manhattan's Blue Mont Central College into the state university; the culmination of these efforts came on February 16, 1863, when the Kansas legislature established Kansas State Agricultural College in Manhattan.
When the college began its first session on September 2, 1863, it was the first public college in Kansas, the nation's first land-grant institution created under the Morrill Act, only the second public institution of higher learning to admit women and men in the United States. By the time the Kansas Pacific Railroad laid its tracks west through Manhattan in 1866, the 11-year-old settlement was permanently ensconced in the tallgrass prairie. Manhattan's population has grown every decade since its founding; the town was named an All-American City in 1952. In 2007 CNN and Money magazine rated Manhattan as one of the ten best places in America to retire young. In 2011, Forbes rated Manhattan No. 1 for "Best Small Communities for a Business and Career." Manhattan's location is 39°11′25″N 96°35′13″W, or about 50 miles west of Topeka on the Kansas River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 18.79 square miles, of which, 18.76 square miles is land and 0.03 square miles is water.
Manhattan is in Kansas' Flint Hills region, which consists of continuous rolling hills covered in tall grasses. However, the downtown area – Manhattan's original site – was built on a broad, flat floodplain at the junction of the Kansas and Big Blue rivers. Manhattan is the largest town in the Flint Hills, is home
A rose is a woody perennial flowering plant of the genus Rosa, in the family Rosaceae, or the flower it bears. There are over thousands of cultivars, they form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing, or trailing, with stems that are armed with sharp prickles. Flowers vary in size and shape and are large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows and reds. Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, northwestern Africa. Species and hybrids are all grown for their beauty and are fragrant. Roses have acquired cultural significance in many societies. Rose plants range in size from compact, miniature roses, to climbers that can reach seven meters in height. Different species hybridize and this has been used in the development of the wide range of garden roses; the name rose comes from French, itself from Latin rosa, borrowed from Oscan, from Greek ρόδον rhódon, itself borrowed from Old Persian wrd-, related to Avestan varəδa, Sogdian ward, Parthian wâr.
The leaves are borne alternately on the stem. In most species they are 5 to 15 centimetres long, with 5–9 leaflets and basal stipules. Most roses are deciduous but a few are evergreen or nearly so; the flowers of most species have five petals, with the exception of Rosa sericea, which has only four. Each petal is divided into two distinct lobes and is white or pink, though in a few species yellow or red. Beneath the petals are five sepals; these may be long enough to be visible when viewed from above and appear as green points alternating with the rounded petals. There are multiple superior ovaries. Roses are insect-pollinated in nature; the aggregate fruit of the rose is a berry-like structure. Many of the domestic cultivars do not produce hips, as the flowers are so petalled that they do not provide access for pollination; the hips of most species are red. Each hip comprises an outer fleshy layer, the hypanthium, which contains 5–160 "seeds" embedded in a matrix of fine, but stiff, hairs. Rose hips of some species the dog rose and rugosa rose, are rich in vitamin C, among the richest sources of any plant.
The hips are eaten by fruit-eating birds such as thrushes and waxwings, which disperse the seeds in their droppings. Some birds finches eat the seeds; the sharp growths along a rose stem, though called "thorns", are technically prickles, outgrowths of the epidermis, unlike true thorns, which are modified stems. Rose prickles are sickle-shaped hooks, which aid the rose in hanging onto other vegetation when growing over it; some species such as Rosa rugosa and Rosa pimpinellifolia have densely packed straight prickles an adaptation to reduce browsing by animals, but possibly an adaptation to trap wind-blown sand and so reduce erosion and protect their roots. Despite the presence of prickles, roses are browsed by deer. A few species of roses have only vestigial prickles; the genus Rosa is subdivided into four subgenera: Hulthemia containing two species from southwest Asia, Rosa persica and Rosa berberifolia, which are the only roses without compound leaves or stipules. Hesperrhodos contains Rosa stellata, from North America.
Platyrhodon with one species from east Asia, Rosa roxburghii. Rosa containing all the other roses; this subgenus is subdivided into 11 sections. Banksianae – white and yellow flowered roses from China. Bracteatae – three species, two from China and one from India. Caninae – pink and white flowered species from Asia and North Africa. Carolinae – white and bright pink flowered species all from North America. Chinensis – white, yellow and mixed-color roses from China and Burma. Gallicanae – pink to crimson and striped flowered roses from western Asia and Europe. Gymnocarpae – one species in western North America, others in east Asia. Laevigatae – a single white flowered species from China. Pimpinellifoliae – white, bright yellow and striped roses from Asia and Europe. Rosa – white, lilac and red roses from everywhere but North Africa. Synstylae – white and crimson flowered roses from all areas. Roses are best known as ornamental plants grown for their flowers in the garden and sometimes indoors, they have been used for commercial perfumery and commercial cut flower crops.
Some are used as landscape plants, for hedging and for other utilitarian purposes such as game cover and slope stabilization. The majority of ornamental roses are hybrids. A few species roses are grown for attractive or scented foliage, ornamental thorns or for their showy fruit. Ornamental roses have been cultivated for millennia, with the earliest known cultivation known to date from at least 500 BC in Mediterranean countries, P
A daylily is a flowering plant in the genus Hemerocallis. Gardening enthusiasts and professional horticulturalists have long bred daylily species for their attractive flowers. Thousands of cultivars have been registered by local and international Hemerocallis societies. Hemerocallis is now placed in family Asphodelaceae, subfamily Hemerocallidoideae, but used to be part of Liliaceae; the name Hemerocallis comes from the Greek words ἡμέρα "day" and καλός "beautiful". Daylilies are perennial plants, whose name alludes to the flowers which last no more than 24 hours; the flowers of most species open in early morning and wither during the following night replaced by another one on the same scape the next day. Some species are night-blooming. Daylilies are not used as cut flowers for formal flower arranging, yet they make good cut flowers otherwise as new flowers continue to open on cut stems over several days. Hemerocallis is native to Asia eastern Asia, including China and Japan; this genus is popular worldwide because of the showy hardiness of many kinds.
There are over 80,000 registered cultivars. Hundreds of cultivars have fragrant flowers, more scented cultivars are appearing more in northern hybridization programs; some earlier blooming cultivars rebloom in the season if their capsules, in which seeds are developing, are removed. Most kinds of daylilies occur as clumps, each of which has leaves, a crown and roots; the long, linear lanceolate leaves are grouped into opposite fans with arching leaves. The crown is the small white portion between the roots. Along the scape of some kinds of daylilies, small leafy "proliferations" form in bracts. A proliferation forms roots when planted and is an exact clone of its parent plant. Many kinds of daylilies have thickened roots in which they store water. A normal, single daylily flower has three petals and three sepals, collectively called tepals, each with a midrib in either the same basic color or a different color; the centermost part of the flower, called the throat is of a different color than the more distal areas of the tepals.
Each flower has six stamens, each with a two-lobed anther. After successful pollination, a flower forms a botanical capsule; the orange or tawny daylily, common along roadsides in much of the United States, is native to Asia and regarded as an invasive in North America. Hemerocallis species are toxic to cats and ingestion may be fatal. Treatment is successful if started before renal failure has developed; the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families recognizes 19 species as of September 2014: Hemerocallis citrina Baroni - China, Korea, Russian Far East Hemerocallis coreana Nakai - Japan, Shandong Province in China Hemerocallis darrowiana S. Y. Hu - Sakhalin Island in Russia Hemerocallis dumortieri E. Morren - China, Korea Hemerocallis esculenta Koidz. >) - China, Russian Far East Hemerocallis forrestii Diels - Sichuan + Yunnan Provinces in China Hemerocallis fulva L. – orange daylily, tawny daylily, tiger lily, ditch lily - China, Korea. G. Chung & S. S. Kang - Hongdo Islands of South Korea Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus L. – lemon lily, yellow daylily - China, Russian Far East, Kazakhstan.
& C. A. Mey. - China, Korea, Russian Far East Hemerocallis minor Mill. - China, Korea, Russian Far East, Siberia Hemerocallis multiflora Stout - Henan Province in China Hemerocallis nana W. W. Sm. & Forrest - Yunnan Province in China Hemerocallis plicata Stapf - Sichuan + Yunnan Provinces in China Hemerocallis taeanensis S. S. Kang & M. G. Chung - Korea Hemerocallis thunbergii Barr - Japan Hemerocallis yezoensis H. Hara - Japan, Kuril IslandsTwo hybrids are recognized: A number of hybrid names appear in the horticultural literature but are not recognized as valid by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families; these include: The daylily is referred to as "the perfect perennial" by gardeners, due to its brilliant colors, ability to tolerate drought and frost and to thrive in many different climate zones, low maintenance. It is a vigorous perennial that lasts for many years in a garden, with little care and adapts to many different soil and light conditions. Daylilies have a short blooming period, depending on the type.
Some will bloom in early spring while others wait until the summer or autumn. Most daylily plants bloom for 1 through 5 weeks, although some bloom twice in one season"; the Orange Daylily, the sweet-scented Lemon-lily were early imports from England to 17th-century American gardens and soon escaped from gardens. The introduced Orange Daylily, although not a true lily, is now common in many natural areas, where it is considered an invasive. Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden
Kansas State University
Kansas State University shortened to Kansas State or K-State, is a public research university with its main campus in Manhattan, United States. Kansas State was opened as the state's land-grant college in 1863 and was the first public institution of higher learning in the state of Kansas, it had a record high enrollment of 24,766 students for the Fall 2014 semester. The university is classified as one of 115 research universities with highest research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Kansas State's academic offerings are administered through nine colleges, including the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Technology and Aviation in Salina. Graduate degrees offered include 45 doctoral degrees. Branch campuses are in Olathe; the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus in Salina is home to the College of Technology and Aviation. The Olathe Innovation Campus has a focus on graduate work in research bioenergy, animal health, plant science and food safety and security.
Kansas State University named Kansas State Agricultural College, was founded in Manhattan on February 16, 1863, during the American Civil War, as a land-grant institution under the Morrill Act. The school was the first land-grant college created under the Morrill Act. K-State is the third-oldest school in the Big 12 Conference and the oldest public institution of higher learning in the state of Kansas; the effort to establish the school began in 1861, the year that Kansas was admitted to the United States. One of the new state legislature's top priorities involved establishing a state university; that year, the delegation from Manhattan introduced a bill to convert the private Blue Mont Central College in Manhattan, incorporated in 1858, into the state university. But the bill establishing the university in Manhattan was controversially vetoed by Governor Charles L. Robinson of Lawrence, an attempt to override the veto in the Legislature failed by two votes. In 1862, another bill to make Manhattan the site of the state university failed by one vote.
Upon the third attempt on February 16, 1863, the state accepted Manhattan's offer to donate the Blue Mont College building and grounds and established the state's land-grant college at the site – the institution that would become Kansas State University. When the college opened for its first session on September 2, 1863, it became only the second public institution of higher learning to admit women and men in the United States. Enrollment for the first session totaled 52 students: 26 women. Twelve years after opening, the university moved its main campus from the location of Blue Mont Central College to its present site in 1875; the original site is now occupied by Central National Bank of Manhattan and Founders Hill Apartments. The early years of the institution witnessed debate over whether the college should provide a focused agricultural education or a full liberal arts education. During this era, the tenor of the school shifted with the tenure of college presidents. For example, President John A. Anderson favored a limited education and President George T.
Fairchild favored a classic liberal education. Fairchild was credited with saying, "Our college exists not so much to make men farmers as to make farmers men."During this era, in 1873, Kansas State helped pioneer the academic teaching of home economics for women, becoming one of the first two colleges to offer the program of study. In November 1928, the school was accredited by the Association of American Universities as a school whose graduates were deemed capable of advanced graduate work; the name of the school was changed in 1931 to Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. In 1959, the Kansas legislature changed the name again to Kansas State University of Agriculture and Applied Science to reflect a growing number of graduate programs. However, since the "Agriculture and Applied Science" portion has been omitted from official documents such as diplomas and state statutes, as a practical and legal matter it is called Kansas State University. Milton S. Eisenhower served as president of the university from 1943 to 1950, Dr. James McCain succeeded him, serving from 1950 to 1975.
Several buildings, including residence halls and a student union, were added to the campus in the 1950s. The 1960s witnessed demonstrations against the Vietnam War, though fewer than at other college campuses. Enrollment was high through most of the 1970s, but the university endured a downward spiral from 1976 to 1986, when enrollment decreased to 17,570 and a number of faculty resigned. In 1986, Jon Wefald assumed the presidency of Kansas State University. During his tenure and donations increased. On June 15, 2009, Kirk Schulz became the 13th president of Kansas State University. In March 2010 he announced his K-State 2025 plan; the initiative is designed to elevate K-State to a top 50 nationally recognized research university by 2025. His last day was April 2016, as he was selected as Washington State University's next president. In late April 2016, Ret. General Richard Myers began serving as the interim president of Kansas State University and was announced as the permanent president on November 15, 2016.
The state legislature established the state's land-grant college in Manhattan on January 13, 1863. A commission to establish a state university in Lawrence was called for in the same legislative session, provided that town could meet certain requirements, finalized that year. Kansas State was the first public institution of higher learning founded in the state and began teaching college-level classes in 1863. By comparison, the Un
The peony or paeony is a flowering plant in the genus Paeonia, the only genus in the family Paeoniaceae. They are native to Asia and Western North America. Scientists differ on the number of species that can be distinguished, ranging from 25 to 40, although the current consensus is 33 known species; the relationships between the species need to be further clarified. Most are herbaceous perennial plants 0.25–1 metre tall, but some are woody shrubs 0.25–3.5 metres tall. They have compound lobed leaves and large fragrant flowers, in colors ranging from purple red to white or yellow, in late spring and early summer. Peonies are among the most popular garden plants in temperate regions. Herbaceous peonies are sold as cut flowers on a large scale, although only available in late spring and early summer. An emerging source of peonies in mid to late summer is the Alaskan market. Unique growing conditions due to long hours of sunlight creates availability from Alaska when other sources have completed harvest.
All Paeoniaceae are deciduous perennial herbs or shrubs, with thick storage roots and thin roots for gathering water and minerals. Some species are caespitose, because the crown produces adventitious buds, while others have stolons, they have rather large compound leaves without glands and stipules, with anomocytic stomata. In the woody species the new growth emerges from scaly buds on the previous flush or from the crown of the rootstock; the large bisexual flowers are single at the end of the stem. In P. emodi, P. lactiflora, P. veitchii and many of the cultivars these contributed to, few additional flowers develop in the axils of the leaves. Flowers close at night; each flower is subtended by a number of bracts, that may form a sort of involucre, has 3-7 tough free sepals and 5-8, but up to 13 free petals. These categories however are intergrading, making it difficult to assign some of them, the number of these parts may vary. Within are numerous free stamens, with anthers fixed at their base to the filaments, are sagittate in shape, open with longitudal slits at the outer side and free pollen grains which have three slits or pores and consist of two cells.
Within the circle of stamens is a more or less prominent, lobed disc, presumed not to excrete nectar. Within the disk is a varying number of separate carpels, which have a short style and a decurrent stigma; each of these develops into a dry fruit, which opens with a lengthwise suture and each of which contains one or a few large fleshy seeds. The annual growth is predetermined: if the growing tip of a shoot is removed, no new buds will develop that season. Paeoniaceae are dependent on C3 carbon fixation, they contain ellagic acid, ethereal oils and flavones, as well as crystals of calcium oxalate. The wax tubules that are formed consist of palmitone; the basic chromosome number is five. About half of the species of the section Paeonia however is tetraploid many of those in the Mediterranean region. Both allotetraploids and autotetraploids are known, some diploid species are of hybrid origin; the family name "Paeoniaceae" was first used by Friedrich K. L. Rudolphi in 1830, following a suggestion by Friedrich Gottlieb Bartling that same year.
The family had been given other names a few years earlier. The composition of the family has varied, but it has always consisted of Paeonia and one or more genera that are now placed in Ranunculales, it has been believed that Paeonia is closest to Glaucidium, this idea has been followed in some recent works. Molecular phylogenetic studies, have demonstrated conclusively that Glaucidium belongs in the Ranunculaceae family, Ranunculales order, but that Paeonia belongs in the unrelated order Saxifragales; the genus Paeonia consists of about 35 species, assigned to three sections: Moutan and Paeoniae. The section Onaepia only includes P. californicum. The section Moutan is divided into P. delavayi and P. ludlowii, together making up the subsection Delavayanae, P. catayana, P. decomposita, P. jishanensis, P. osti, P. qiui and P. rockii which constitute the subsection Vaginatae. P. suffruticosa is a cultivated hybrid swarm, not a occurring species. The remainder of the species belongs to the section Paeonia, characterised by a complicated reticulate evolution.
Only about half of the species is diploid, the other half tetraploid, while some species both have diploid and tetraploid populations. In addition to the tetraploids, are some diploid species likely the result of hybridisation, or nothospecies. Known diploid taxa in the Paeonia-section are P. anomala, P. lactiflora, P. veitchii, P. tenuifolia, P. emodi, P. broteri, P. cambedessedesii, P. clusii, P. rhodia, P. daurica subsps. Coriifolia, daurica and mlokosewitschii. Tetraploid taxa are P. arietina, P. officinalis, P. parnassica, P. banatica, P. russi, P. peregrina, P. coriacea, P. mascula subsps. Hellenica and mascula, P. daurica subsps. Tomentosa and wittmanniana. Species that have both diploid and tetraploid populations include P. clusii, P. mairei and P. obovata. P. anomala was proven to be a hybrid of P. lactiflora and P. veitchii, although being a diploid with 10 chromosomes. P. emodi and P. sterniana are diploid hybrids of P. lactiflora and P. veitchii too, radically different in appearance.
P. russi is the tetraploid hybrid of diploid P. lactiflora and P. mairei, while P. cambedessedesii is the diploid hybrid of P. lactiflora P. mairei, but also P. obovata. P. peregrina is the tetraploid hybrid of P. anomala and either P. arietina, P. humilis, P. o