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Molly The Witch

Our thanks to Vic Fox for sending this cover photograph of his specimen plant.

Molly the Witch, or to give it it's full botanical name of Paeonia daurica subsp. mlokosewitschii (Lomakin) D.Y.Hong and also known as Golden Peony or Caucasian Peony comes from the Caucasus in mountain forests, stony slopes in middle and upper mountain zones.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing 23–27 in (58–69 cm) tall, with biternate (with three components, each with three leaflets), glaucous leaves with obovate (teardrop-shaped) lobes.

In spring it bears large, single, bowl-shaped lemon-yellow flowers 5 in (13 cm) in diameter, the ovary pubescent (hairy), the two to four carpels white, pink or yellow, and the stamen filaments yellow-green.

In cultivation in the UK it has been given the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant which is a good choice for attracting butterflies, and should be cut back in late Autumn in preparation for winter.

It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years.

It does best in full sun to partial shade and prefers average to moist conditions, but it should not be allowed to dry out. It is not particular to soil pH and grows best in rich soils. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter.

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