Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Paeonia lactiflora Pall. var. fragrans

Fully-hardy herbaceous perennial with erect stems and dark green leaves and, in summer, usually solitary, double, cup- or bowl-shaped, fragrant, rose-coloured flowers.  To 70cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

Don describes the flowers of P. albiflora var. fragrans as being double, rose-coloured, although the figure in the Botanical Register shows flowers almost deep crimson in colour: ‘Of the double varieties of Paeonia albiflora, this was the first introduced into this country; it has been cultivated [at Kew] from 1805, but did not become general in the London nurseries for some years afterwards, and is still the least common of all.’  [BR f.485/1820]. 

‘The flowers of the Paeonia albiflora are fragrant, especially in the evening; the roots are said to be eaten in soups in Siberia.  Several varieties of this species are cultivated in the gardens, differing from one another in the size of the flowers and number, form, and colour of the petals; some being flesh-coloured, some pure white, some jagged at the margin, and some quite entire’  [BM t.1756/1815].  Paeonia edulis is figured at BM t.1768/1815 and Paeonia albiflora rosea at BM t.2888/1829.

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.390/1843].


Published Jan 29, 2010 - 01:17 PM | Last updated Jan 29, 2010 - 01:23 PM

Figured are deeply divided leaves and rose pink very double flower. Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.2888, 1829.

Paeonia lactiflora Pall. var. fragrans | BM t.2888/1829 as Paeonia albiflora rosea  | BHL

Family Paeoniaceae
Region of origin

North and east Asia

  • Paeonia fragrans (Sab.) Redouté
  • Paeonia albiflora Pall. var. fragrans
  • Paeonia edulis Salisb.
  • Paeonia japonica Hort.
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Paeonia fragrans 

Confidence level high