About Tree Peony

牡丹是芍药科牡丹组的植物, 牡丹组下又分肉质及革质花盘两个亚组。传统的牡丹都属革质花盘亚组, 而肉质花盘亚组的植物则是在1883年才被法国传教士Father Jean Marie Delavay发现的。这两个亚组的植株原产在不同的气侯与生态环境, 在形态及生长习性上都有不同。


Tree peony belong to the genus "Paeonia" section "Moutan", which has two subsections. Delavahanae and Vaginatae. All traditional tree peony belong to Vaginatae, and plants of the Delavahanae were discovered by French catholic missionary Father Jean Marie Delavay in the 1880's. Plants of these to subsection are evolved from different climate and ecological environment, there are differences in morphology and growth habits. 


观赏牡丹是自隋朝(约公元600年)以来由药用牡丹凤丹白逐渐演变而成。在这一千多年裡牡丹也与中国的文化与历史有了不可分离的关系。无论是园艺品种或是野生物种, 牡丹亚属(Subgenus Moutan)的植物都源出于中国。所以在中国的园艺品种群Paeonia suffruticosa 要比在其他世界各地的Paeonia suffruticosa 品种群有更丰富与多元化的遗传组成。然而自清朝末年到1960年代,中国大都是处于战乱及社会不安的情况下渡过,中国的园艺品种群Paeonia suffruticosa 并没有受到现代生物科学进步同样的相对改进。直到过去这二十几年,牡丹品种的选育才受到了重视。


The Ornamental tree peony cultivars were started in China at Sui dynasty(about 600 AD) from the medicinal tree peony "Phoenix White". Over the period of more than one thousand years, tree peony turned into be part of Chinese culture and history. All plants of the subgenus "Moutan" which including all cultivars of Paeonia suffruticosa and all the species are from China and these made the genetic make-up of the P. suffruticosa cultivars are more diversify than those P. suffruticosa cultivars from other part of the world. But since the end of Qing dynasty to the 1960's, China didn't have a peaceful of time to breed better tree peony cultivars as the modern breeding technique improved. It wasn't until about 20 years ago that Chinese people started to realize the situation. 


传说药用牡丹是由日本空海和尚在唐朝(公元802-804年)到中国学习后带回去的, 之后从江户时代(公元1603-1867年) 开始有了民间观赏品种牡丹的培育, 到了明治时期(公元1868-1912年) 适合日本风土条件及审美观念的品种群就形成了。许多这些品种至今在日本仍被广泛栽作。 


It is believed that the Japanese buddhist monk Kukai brought the medicinal tree peony back to Japan when he went to China for study in Tang dynasty(802-804 AD). Horticultural cultivars started to show up in Edo period(1603-1867AD), and many Japanese horticultural cultivars of today which adapted to local climate and appealing to Japanese people were breed in Meiji period(1868-1912 AD).


欧洲引入牡丹较晚也少, 大多是以清朝末年广交会时的催花品种为主, 成活率不高, 也没有育出特别的优秀品种。


The introduction of tree peony to Europe was later in Qing dynasty and in a smaller scale. The plants were those potted forcing flower cultivars for Chinese New Year during in Canton Trade Fair. The survival rate were low and no excellent cultivars were produced. 


到了1880年代法国传教士Father Jean Marie Delavay在云南先后发现了肉质花盘亚组裡的紫牡丹(Paeonia delavayi Franchet.)及黄牡丹(Paeonia lutea Franchet.)。之后法国知名植物育种家Victor Lemoine 也先后育出肉质及革质亚组间杂交的纯黄色牡丹金帝(L'Esperance), 金阳(La Lorraine), 金阁(Souvenir de Maxime cornu), 金鵄(Chromatella) 及金晃(Alice Harding) 等。


In the 1880's Paeonia delavayi Franchet. and Paeonia lutea Franchet. were discovered by French catholic missionary Father Jean Marie Delavay, which lead the successful cross breeding of the subsection Delavahanae and Vaginatae by Mr. Victor Lemoine and produced 5 yellow cultivars: L'Esperance, La Lorraine, Souvenir de Maxime cornu, Chromatella and Alice Harding. 


之后在美国就相继有William Gratwick, A.P. Saunders, Nassos Daphnis, William Seidl及现在的Nate Bremer等人也先后育出了许多颜色特殊的革质及肉质亚组间杂交品种。而这些品种仍有肉质花盘亚组野生物种的许多缺点, 如树型差,不耐寒,花垂头及种子结实少等。


American tree peony breeders Mr. William Gratwick, Mr. A.P. Saunders, Mr. Nassos Daphnis and Mr. William Seidl had continued the cross subsection breeding and so is Mr. Nate Bremer now. Cultivars from cross subsection breeding produce blossoms with bright and unique colors, but with the disadvantage of irregular tree form, poor cold tolerance, head hanging flower and poor fertility.


日前澳大利亚的Bernard and Lucy Chow夫妇与美国的William Seidl合作多年, 至今已在肉质花盘亚组内育种做到第九代, 育出了许多优秀品种,结实率也有改善。

Mr. and Mrs. Bernard and Lucy Chow in Australia had been working with Mr. William Seidl for many years and have carried cross subsection breeding to the 9th generation with many excellent cultivars with improved fertilities.


我们由早年的品种收集到2008年开始转做新品种的选育, 这些新育出的植株都是由我们收集到的牡丹亚属(Subgenus Moutan) 植株及世界各地的园艺品种群Paeonia suffruticosa 植株选配而来。


We have switched from tree peony cultivars collection in the early days to plant breeding in 2008. All those new seedlings are crosses between plants from the subgenus Moutan and cultivars of Paeonia suffruticosa from earlier collection.