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About Intersectional (Itoh) Peonies
also see:  Intersectional Peony Catalog | Peony Culture
Intersectional peonies originate from a cross between a herbaceous peony and a woody (tree) peony.  The resulting intersectional plant is somewhat intermediate in appearance, but has a rather herbaceous plant habit.  'Itoh' is a name often used for the group, but is actually the name of the man that hybridized and flowered the first plants in this group.  The actual 'Itoh' Intersectionals include: 'Gold Crown', 'Yellow Emperor', 'Yellow Dream' and a couple of others.  Whatever you want to call them, the Intersectionals are a wonderful new addition to a peony garden.

Flowers often more closely resemble the woody peony and can have quite unique coloration.  Carriage is very good with little, if any, leaning.  Some cultivars have fragrance, but not that of a lactiflora.  

The characteristically deep green foliage is waxy and of good substance.  Leaves generally have deeply cut lobes, that most closely resemble their woody peony parent and in many cases make a fine looking shrub out of flower.  Cutting the foliage down at the end of the growing season, as with herbaceous peonies, is a good practice to prevent disease in subsequent years.   Disease resistance is excellent and the plants often display hybrid vigor.  Plants may be divided every 3 to 5 years with good results, but a saw will be necessary as the crown is very woody.

This hybrid has been difficult to hybridize from seed due to fertility incompatibilities; therefore prices tend to be high, as is demand.  The group is gaining in popularity and becoming commonplace in many fine gardens.  Perhaps the best yellow peony available today comes from this group of plants (Bartzella).  Roger Anderson of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin is the most well known hybridizer of these plants and to date has produced the finest examples of the group.  Other notable hybridizers are Don Smith, Don Hollingsworth, Irene Tolomeo and Bill Seidl.  Many other hybridizers are now working to further this group's best characteristics and we have high hopes that new breaks will occur in the near future!  For further information, please see our Culture and Care page.

Seeing high profit margins, a number of companies have begun to micro-propagate this group of peonies and selling them in large quantities as containerized plants.  The production of micro-propagated peonies can yield plants that are difficult to grow or are prone to mutation.  Often these young plants will produce root systems that are braided or swirl and do not expand outward easily in the garden,  a product of their early life in-vitro.  Flowers can show mutations that may be manifested in color changes or even lack petals.  The plants themselves can express less vigor or have changes in their growth habits.  While micro-propagated plants are less expensive to produce and will likely cost less for the gardener, they are a gamble and can be quite disappointing.  Solaris Farms and many other peony specialty nurseries will only sell plants that are produced from root divisions of proven adult plants, insuring plants are what is advertised.  After many years of trialing micro-propagated we cannot endorse the sale of these plants. 
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