The Caucasian Representatives of the Genus Paeonia L.

L.M. Kemularia-Nathadse, Trudy Tiflis. Botan. Sada 1961


Chapter IV

Systematic analysis of Caucasian species of the genus Paeonia L.

5. Paeonia Mlokosewitschii Lomak.

Lomakin in "Trudi Tifl. BG" II (1897) 282; Busch in Flora cauc. crit. III. 3. (1901) 14; Komarov, "Fl. USSR" VII (1937) 26; Grossheim, "Fl. Cauc." II (1930). IV (1950) 13 pp. "Opred." (1949) 44 pp; Stern in Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 68 (1943) 125. in Roy. Hort. Soc. (1946) 56; Kemularia-Nathadse in "Fl. Georgia; IV (1948) 5.

Perennials. The rhizome is woody, branchy with slightly thickened roots; stems are 80-100 cm high, branchy, densely-leaved; leaves are double-ternate, glaucescent at both sides, with very short, nearly unseen hairs at the lower side or bare at both sides; leaf-lobes are obovate, tapered at the base, rounded and shortly-bluntly-acuminate; veins are not coarse, thin,, slightly protruding. The blossoms are large, up to 10-12 cm wide, broad-patent; sepals are unequal, mostly concave and rounded, scarious-marginate at the brim, and, in less frequent cases, one of them is foliiform and much longer than others; petals are yellow, being dried out they get greenish at the brim often, ovate or obovate, slightly concave and slightly narrowed at base; stamens are with yellow anthers and filaments; ovaries are tomentose downy with yeltow curly hairs, ovate; stigmas are pink, sessile, almost symmetrical. The fruits are tomentose-downy, curved, spreading. The seeds are bluish-black.

Habitat. From the intermediary to upper montane belt, in forest, upon rocky slopes. Original area. Kachetia, the Lagodekhsky gorge, Ninigora.

Type. The description was obtained from samples grown in the Caucasian dept. of the Tiflis Botanical Garden, from rhizomes and seeds collected by Y. Mlokosewitsch.

Studied samples. Georgia. Kachetia, the Lagodekhsky gorge, a middle hill, 1901, Fomin! 1902, König! 5, V, 1935 Kapeller, Kemuaria-Nathadse! Ninigora! 1953, Kudigora! 1953, Kazarova and Dolukhanov!

Other parts of the Caucasus: Dagestan, Upper reaches of Avarsky Koys;

The basin of the Djurmut-or, left bank, 1958, A. Dolukhanov and N. A. Kazarova!

Geographic type. Montane Caucasian. General distribution: Caucasus. Endemic.

Remarks. It is a splendid species, and no disagreement exists between botanists about its self-dependance. Even Stern (1946) had no resolution quite enough to impinge on its self-dependance, despite him being so enthusiastic about joining all yellow-flowered peonies from Caucasus into one species.

With its bluish-grey, soft, smooth leaves, the lagodekhsky peony quite impresses imagination, looking so decorative, even at the time it has no blossoms. Also, its peculiar features are the pink colour of stigma, yellowish-curly pubescence of a nearly pyramidal ovary, and yellowish hue of filaments, that definitely distinguishes this peony from all other yellow-flowered Caucasian peonies (In "Flora USSR" these peonies are included into different serieses, and the Lagodekhsky peony is even considered to be in some proximity to P. oreogeton S. Moore, described in Mukden and propagating in Japan, China and the Far East).

As the matter of fact, among Caucasian peonies the P. Mlokosewitschii stands out separately, and it would be proper to establish a special series for it. But joining it with P. tomentosa (Lomak.) N. Busch from Talish and the North Iran, as it has been carried . out by A. A. Grossheim ("Opred." 1949 and "Fl. Cauc." 1950) and Rzazade ("Fl. Azerb." 1953) is quite irrelevant. We can't help commenting the pictures, published at -1 the above-mentioned editions and designated as P. Mlokosewitschii Lomak. which have . nothing in common with the Lagodekhsky peony and are depicting the Talishsky peony P. tomentosa, (the pictures have been taken from samples found in Talish, but not in Lagodekhy). The true picture of the Lagodekhsky peony is given by Stern (1. c.) and comparing it with the pictures from "Flora Azerbaydjan", it becomes obvious that there is a noticeable difference between them.