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Edible uses


The following use is for P. suffruticosa. It quite probably also applies to this closely-related species.[K - see 214]. Flowers - cooked[1][2][3]. The fallen flower petals are parboiled and sweetened for a teatime delicacy, or cooked in various dishes[4].


Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Paeonia potaninii.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The bark obtained from the root has an antimicrobial effect upon various bacteria, including Escherichia coli, typhoid, cholera, Staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus hemolyticus and Pneumococci[5]. The root is also anti-inflammatory and has been used with success in the treatment of arthritic joint swelling[5]. The root is also analgesic, sedative and anticonvulsant, it has a high success rate in the treatment of dysentery and can also be used to treat allergic rhinitis[5]. The plant is used internally in the treatment of fevers, boils, menstrual disorders, nosebleeds, ulcers, irritability and gastro-intestinal infections[6]. This remedy should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner[6].

The herb acts as a synergist when used with liquorice (Glycyrrhiza spp)[7].

A tea made from the dried crushed petals of various peony species has been used as a cough remedy, and as a treatment for haemorrhoids and varicose veins[5].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[5]. When sown fresh, the seed produces a root about 6 weeks after sowing with shoots formed in the spring[8]. Stored seed is much slower, it should be sown as soon as possible in a cold frame but may take 18 months or more to germinate[8]. The roots are very sensitive to disturbance, so many growers allow the seedlings to remain in their pots for 2 growing seasons before potting them up. This allows a better root system to develop that is more resilient to disturbance[5]. If following this practice, make sure you sow the seed thinly, and give regular liquid feeds in the growing season to ensure the plants are well fed. We usually prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle, and then grow them on in a cold frame for at least two growing seasons before planting them out when they are in growth in the spring[K]. Division of suckers in the dormant season. They are probably best potted up and grown on in light shade in a greenhouse until they are established.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Paeonia potaninii. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Requires a deep rich soil, preferably neutral or slightly alkaline[9], doing quite well in sun or light shade[9]. Prefers a limy soil and a sheltered position[8]. Plants are tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, but will not survive if the soil becomes waterlogged or is too dry[5]. This species is lime tolerant[8]. Plants grown on sandy soils tend to produce more leaves and less flowers, whilst those growing on clay take longer to become established but produce better blooms[5].

Hardy to about -20°c[10], plants do better in the north of Britain than they do in the south and are generally best if given an open northerly aspect[11]. Closely related to P. delavayi, differing mainly in the size of the flowers, its more dissected leaves and its suckering habit[11]. This species is not recognised by Chinese botanists, who hold that it is no more than a form of P. delavayi[12]. A very ornamental plant[9]. It grows best in areas with long hot summers[9] and requires an airy position because it is very subject to fungal attack[11]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[8]. Plants come into growth early in the year and are then subject to damage by late frosts, they are therefore best sited in a position that is shaded from the early morning sun[11]. The branches are brittle and very subject to wind damage, especially when young[8]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[13]. A very greedy plant inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[14]. The plant does not really need much pruning apart from removing dead or diseased stems. It is, however, very tolerant of pruning and can be cut right back to ground level if it requires rejuvenation[8]. Strongly resents root disturbance, taking some time to recover after being divided[9]. Peony species are usually self-fertile, though they will also hybridise with other species if these flower nearby at the same time[5]. Plants take 4 - 5 years to flower from seed[8]. They generally breed true from seed[9].

Cultivated in China as a medicinal plant[12].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Paeonia potaninii. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Paeonia potaninii.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Paeonia potaninii
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? 1.01.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    5. ? Page. M. The Gardener's Guide to Growing Peonies. David & Charles. Newton Abbot. ISBN 0 7153 0531 X (1997-00-00)
    6. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    8. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    9. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    10. ? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30258-2 (1989-00-00)
    11. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Matthews. V. The New Plantsman. Volume 1, 1994. Royal Horticultural Society ISBN 1352-4186 (1994-00-00)
    13. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    14. ? Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds. Frederick Muller Ltd ISBN 0-584-10141-4 (1977-00-00)