Herb: Tree Peony

Latin name: Paeonia delavayi

Family: Paeoniaceae (Peony Family)

Medicinal use of Tree Peony:

The bark obtained from the root has an antimicrobial effect upon various bacteria, including Escherichia coli, typhoid, cholera, Staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus hemolyticus and Pneumococci. The root is also anti-inflammatory and has been used with success in the treatment of arthritic joint swelling. 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. The plant is used internally in the treatment of fevers, boils, menstrual disorders, nosebleeds, ulcers, irritability and gastro-intestinal infections. This remedy should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. The herb acts as a synergist when used with liquorice (Glycyrrhiza spp). 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.

Description of the plant:


160 cm
(5 1/4 foot)


Habitat of the herb:

Shady, moist areas of pine forests, in forest clearings and among scrub at altitudes of between 3,050 - 3,650 metres.

Edible parts of Tree Peony:

The following use is for P. suffruticosa. It quite probably also applies to this closely-related species. Flowers - cooked. The fallen flower petals are parboiled and sweetened for a teatime delicacy, or can be cooked in various dishes.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. When sown fresh, the seed produces a root about 6 weeks after sowing with shoots formed in the spring. 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. 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. 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.

Cultivation of Tree Peony:

Shady, moist areas of pine forests, in forest clearings and among scrub at altitudes of between 3,050 - 3,650 metres.

Known hazards of Paeonia delavayi:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.