Posted by: HortAlaska | January 13, 2019

Endophytic fungi and peonies

Diversity of endophytic fungi of Paeonia lactiflora Pallas and screening for fungal paeoniflorin producers. by Xiaozhong Cheng, Zhiwen Wei, Shunchang Pu, Min Xiang, Aolei Yan, You Zhang and Xiaomei Wang. FEMS Microbiology Letters

This article has nothing to do with cut flower peonies but everything to do with the medicinal aspect of peonies but with an interesting twist. . Endophytic fungi are ones that live symbiotically within the tissues of the host plant, and in most instances, cause no harm. In many plants, they have been shown to improve crop yields, and there is a lot of research to develop fungal inoculants that can be applied to the plant or seeds to promote growth. Paeoniflorin is one of the most important medicinal ingredients in peony roots, seeds, leaves and stems that has been used for hundreds of years in traditional Chinese herbal medicine

In this study, the researchers were not so much interested in peony plant growth as they were in studying the fungi that inhabit peony plants. They found 16 different taxa inhabiting the roots, leaves and stems including Alternaria, Aspergillis and Penicillium species. All of these fungi were found to produce paeoniflorin, and one species, Aspergillis flavus, produced sufficient quantities that led the authors to conclude this fungus could be isolated and “farmed” – grown in cultures – specifically for the purpose of producing paeoniflorin for medicine.

For cut flower growers, it is interesting to learn of these fungal associates of the peony plant. One wonders which, if any, could be used as an inoculant to enhance growth or suppress diseases in our peonies. Just a thought!


  1. Pat:

    Another question is, are these fungi present in the peonies we have? What is the impact on -45F temps on them (or whatever the soil temps got to this winter with only 6-8 inches of snow). Interesting ideas though.

    Ron & Marji Illingworth North Pole® Peonies 5730 Eielson Farm Road North Pole, Alaska 907-488-0446 (H) 1-866-535-6459 (fax) >


  2. Pat: Are these fungi present in our Alaskan peonies? What might the impact of our cold climate be on them? Interesting research project here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: