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 officinalis L. subsp. humilis (Retz.) Cullen & Heyw.

Fully-hardy herbaceous perennial with hairy stems and leaf stalks and single, cup- or bowl-shaped purple-red flowers in spring or summer.  To 80cm.  [RHSE, Hortus, Don].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The dwarf Peony differs from P. peregrina, No. 1050, chiefly in having its leaves more finely divided, glaucous above, and clothed with a soft pubescence underneath; its leaflets are more acute and more incised; the germens are nearly smooth, having only a few thinly scattered short hairs, whereas in peregrina they are quite woolly.  This species seems to have been well known to the older Botanists, but was never correctly described till taken up by Retzius.  With his ample description our plant corresponds in every respect, except that, in his specific character, he has capsulis pilosis; in his full description, however, he says the capsules are but slightly hairy (parum pilosae).  Supposed to be a native of Spain, and is perfectly hardy’.  [BM t.1422/1811].  Paeonia humilis was introduced to Britain in 1633. [JD]. 

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [B.392/1850].


Paeonia humilis Willd. (1821) = Paeonia paradoxa Anders.

Paeonia humilis Retz. is related by some to Paeonia peregrina Mill. which see.

Published Jan 29, 2010 - 11:57 AM | Last updated Jan 29, 2010 - 12:16 PM

Figured are deeply divided leaves and deep pink single flower with prominent stamens.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.1422, 1811.

Paeonia officinalis ssp. humilis (Retz.) Cullen & Heyw. | BM t.1422/1811 | BHL

Family Paeoniaceae
Region of origin

South west Europe

  • Paeonia humilis Retz.
  • Paeonia officinalis L. ssp. microcarpa
  • Paeonia microcarpa Boiss. & Reut.
Common Name

Dwarf paeony

Name in the Camden Park Record

Paeonia humilis 

Confidence level high