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Article|07 Nov 2022|OPEN
Biogenesis of flavor-related linalool is diverged and genetically conserved in tree peony (Paeonia × suffruticosa)
Shanshan Li1,2,3 ,† , Ling Zhang1,2,3 ,† and Miao Sun1,4 , Mengwen Lv1,4 , Yong Yang1,2 , Wenzhong Xu1,2,3 , , Liangsheng Wang,1,2,3 ,
1Key Laboratory of Plant Resources, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
2China National Botanical Garden, Beijing 100093, China
3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
4School of Landscape Architecture, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhac253 (2023)
Views: 244

Received: 13 Jun 2022
Revised: 15 Nov 2022
Published online: 07 Nov 2022


Floral scent is an important and genetically complex trait in horticultural plants. Tree peony (Paeonia × suffruticosa) originates in the Pan-Himalaya and has nine wild species divided into two subsections, Delavayanae and Vaginatae. Their flowers are beloved worldwide for their sweet floral fragrance, yet the flavor-related volatiles and underlying biosynthetic pathways remain unknown. Here, we characterized the volatile blends of all wild tree peony species and found that the flavor-related volatiles were highly divergent, but linalool was a unique monoterpene in subsect. Delavayanae. Further detection of volatiles in 97 cultivars with various genetic backgrounds showed that linalool was also the characteristic aroma component in Paeonia delavayi hybrid progenies, suggesting that linalool was conserved and dominant within subsect. Delavayanae and its hybrids, instead of species and cultivars from subsect. Vaginatae. Global transcriptome analysis of all wild tree peony species and 60 cultivars revealed five candidate genes that may be involved in key steps of linalool biosynthesis; especially the expressions of three TPS genes, PdTPS1PdTPS2, and PdTPS4, were significantly positively correlated with linalool emissions across tree peony cultivars. Further biochemical evidence demonstrated that PdTPS1 and PdTPS4 were the pivotal genes determining the species-specific and cultivar-specific emission of linalool. This study revealed a new insight into floral scent divergence in tree peony and would greatly facilitate our understanding of the phylogeny and evolution of Paeonia.