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. whitleyii

Similar to Paeonia lactiflora Pall. var. fragrans, which see.  Whitleyii has large, cup-shaped, single or double ivory-white flowers with yellow stamens.  [RHSE, Hortus].  Don describes the flowers as being pale blush in colour, the outside petals being reddish, the inside ones a pale straw-colour, the whole becoming nearly white before they drop off, emitting a scent somewhat like that of elder flowers.

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘A neat habited plant, growing from eighteen inches to two feet in height, with conspicuous double white blossoms, from six to eight inches across, and prettily contrasted with masses of yellow stamens in the disc.’  [Gard. Chron. 1854].  ‘A supposed variety of P. albiflora, and now almost general in our collections.  It was introduced from China in 1808 by Mr. Whitley, nurseryman, Fulham.’  [BR f.630/1822].  Paxton's Dictionary gives the earlier date of introduction of 1784.  Figured in Andrews' Botanical Repository under the name P. albiflora flore pleno.  [ABR pl.612/1810].  Figured by Bonpland as Paeonia albiflora flore pleno.  [Bonpland pl.47/1812-17].


History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1857 catalogue [B.400/1857].  Originally received per ‘Sovereign’ February 1831.  [MP A2948].  The late catalogue entry would suggest that it had been lost and reintroduced, but its specific exclusion from desiderata to Loddiges’ Nursery in 1846 makes this unlikely.  


Published Jan 29, 2010 - 01:27 PM | Last updated Aug 04, 2011 - 05:09 PM

Figured are deeply divided leaves and white very double flower with prominent red stigmas. Bonpland pl.47, 1812-17.

Paeonia lactiflora Pall. var. Whitleyii | Bonpland pl.47/1812-17 as P. albiflora fl. pl. | BHL


Family Paeoniaceae
Region of origin

China, probably garden origin

  • Paeonia ‘Whitleyii major’ Hort.
  • Paeonia albiflora Pall. plena


Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Paeonia Whitleyii 

Confidence level high