Japanese peonies (Paeonia japonica), also known as mountain peonies, are flowering perennial shrubs that are native to Japan. They bloom in late spring to mid summer, and can grow in a range of soils.
The flowers of of Japanese peonies are fragrant, 3 to 6 inches across, white in color and have yellow stamens.The petals are arranged in either double or semi-double, and may be single though this is uncommon. Japanese peonies bloom from May through June, and may continue to July. Each bloom may last five to 10 days.
After the flowers have bloomed, seed receptacles grow and open in late summer. When open they reveal blue seeds on red stalks. The leaves of the Japanese peony are oval with pointed tips, and are a gray green color.
Japanese peonies have soft stems, may grow 12 to 18 inches tall, and are slow growing. Roots of Japanese peonies are fleshy or tuberous, and narrow near the tip. They should be planted 1 to 2 inches deep.
Japanese peonies can be found in mountain deciduous forests and in thickets. They grow well in light shade with fertile, moist soil that has a high humus content.
Japanese peonies are used in alternative medicine. Roots and young leaves can be eaten, and tea can be made from the petals.
The peony species variant japonica of P. obovata may be considered to be the same as Paeonia japonica.