Herbaceous Peony ‘Karl Rosenfield’


This beautiful variety of peony is a shade of dark velvety crimson, with clear and brilliant colour.

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Karl Rosenfield’   –   Herbaceous Peony

‘Karl Rosenfield’ is a beautiful variety of herbaceous peony. Blooms are a shade of dark velvety crimson, with clear and brilliant colour.

Produces large, globe shaped buds that open to large double blooms reaching up to 18cm wide.

Blooms are held on strong stems to 95cm high. As blooms age they open to reveal a multitude of yellow stamens at their heart.

Introduced in 1908 by Swiss born John Frederick Larson Rosenfield (1855-1934), an American immigrant who became a peony breeder and nurseryman in Nebraska. This variety was named after Rosenfield’s son Karl, on Karl’s 19th birthday.

John became known as the “Peony King”, and established his nursery and gardens on 25 acres, with several hundred of the world’s finest peony varieties.

John started his nursery in 1884, on 10 acres in West Point, Nebraska. He began with a keen interest in growing new varieties from seed crosses but his first attempt was a disappointing one. Most plants turned out to be single bloomed, and inferior to their parents, but John soon learned to grow seed selected from only the best varieties. By the early 1900s John had released several new peony varieties, including this one.

After 26 years in West Point, the nursery moved to a more well travelled location on the Lincoln Highway in Omaha, Nebraska, and became known as the Rosenfield Peony Gardens. John established the gardens over seven years, before selling them and retiring to Indianapolis at the age of 52. Sadly the gardens no longer exist, with the area having now become a shopping complex and car park.

The charming variety of ‘Karl Rosenfield’, as well as the many other varieties John bred, live on as his legacy.

Karl Rosenfield with his sister Myrtle Rosalie Rosenfield in Nebraska before Myrtle’s death in 1907. Image courtesy of Batty Janis.