The woodland peony is an elvish woodland plant that has quite different attractions than the familiar garden peonies: the foliage consisting of rounded ovate leaflets are arranged in graceful whorls and above them the cup-shaped flowers are flaming either in white or rosy pink, depending of provenance.
The autumn brings another display of yellow autumn colour in the leaves and the showy opening of the seed pods. The pods are bright red from the inside, as are undeveloped seeds, while mature seeds are black and shiny. Later in the autumn the stems collapse to the ground. If the seeds are not gathered or the ground turned, the seeds easily germinate at a stem’s distance from the parent.
The woodland peonies do not develop into wide verdant bushes but their stems grow singly and stout, needing no support. Peonies are generally grown in a sunny location, but the woodland peony which originates in forests may be planted in a shadier site than other peonies. The woodland peony grows in two different locations in the Mustila Arboretum: The peonies at the west end of the Etelärinne (Southern slope) originate from the Sakhalin island, and those at the edge of Alppiruusulaakso (Rhododendron valley) from Manchuria. The first group blossoms significantly earlier due to the different climate of the two provenances