Paeonia mascula ssp. russi (Bivona) Cullen & Heywood ex Stearn & Davis

type: [herbaceous peony] – [species] – [synonym]

accepted name

mascula Miller subsp. russoi (Biv.) Cullen & Heywood 1995

Passalaqua & Bernardo 2004

Paeonia mascula Miller ssp. mascula var. russoi (Biv.) Passalaqua & Bernardo 2004


Stearn & Davis


3b. P. mascula subsp. russi

Plates 2, 8, 9; Figs 14, 15, 28, 29

P. russi Bivona, Stirp. Rar. in Sicilia Descr. 4:12 (1816); Gussone, Fl. Siculae Prodr. 2:29 (1828-32); F.C Stern, Study of Paeonia, 63, fig.(1946).

P. corallina var. pubescens Moris, Fl. Sardoa 1:64, t. 4 (1837).

P. corallina var. russi (Biv.) Cosson, Comp. Fl. Atlant. 2:53 (1887).

P. revelieri Jordan in Jordan & Fourreau, Icones Fl. Europ. 2:38, t. 322 (1903).

P. mascula subsp. russi (Biv.) Cullen and Heywood in Feddes Repert. 69:35 (1964), Fl. Europ. 1:224 (1964); Tzanoudakis, Cytotaxon. Study of Paeonia in Greece, 34 (1977).

Illustrations: Moris, op. cit. t. 4 (1837); Jordan & Fourreau, op. cit. t. 322 (1903); F.C. Stern, op. cit. 64, 124 (1946).

Protologue: “POENIA RUSSI Peonia foliis biternatis, foliolis ellipticis, integris capsulis recurvatis pilosis, radice fusiformi. Radix fusiformis, simplex vel ramosa, ramis 1-2, pariter fusiformibus, patentibus. Caulis erectus, pedalis et altior, teres, subangulatus glaber, simplex, foliosus, purpurascens uti petioli. Folia inferiora biternata, summa saepe ternata, potiolo tereti, superne sulcato, foliolis obscure viridibus, ellipticis, integris, supra glabris, subtus vix pubescentibus. Calycis foliola quinque, quorum 2-4 parva, oblonga, concava, reliqua majora, elliptica, integra, raro biloba. Petala 5-6, obovata, chermisina. Capsulae duo, recurvatae, pilosae, pilis flavis, latere interiori dehiscentes.

Panormi in montibus cum Peon. officinalis et corallina. Perennis Floret Majo.

Observ. Paeoniae humili quam corallinae proximior, at differt ab illa forma radicis, integritate foliolorum et directione capsularum.

Dixi in honorem solertissimi patriae Botanices cultoris D. Joachimi Russo Cassinensis " (Bivona, 1816).

Description: Stem glabrous, 25-45 cm, purplish when young. Leaves purplish and not fully expanded when in flower; lower leaves biternate; leaflets ovate to obovate or broadly elliptic, flat, in fruit up to 10-12 cm long, 6-8 cm broad, apex shortly acuminate, blade densely to weakly pubescent over lower surface. Petiolule of terminal leaflets 8-15 (-20) mm. Flowers 9-12 cm across. Petals (5-) 6-8 (-9), obovate-orbicular, pinkish mauve. Filaments white or sometimes rose. Carpels 1-4, shortly tomentose. Style c. 6 mm long; stigmatic area 2 mm broad, undulate-circinnate from slightly above base. Fl. March - April. 2n: 10.

Type: Described from Sicily.

Distribution: Ionian Islands and western central Greece.

IONII NISI (Ionian Islands). ---------

STEREA ELLAS (Central Greece). --------

External distribution: Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily. The two gatherings from Sterea Ellas, Stamatiadou 17846 and 10315 (ATH), differ from typical subsp. russi in having a slender style recurved and stigmatic only in the upper third.

Two peonies occur in the mountains of Sicily, both now placed as subspecies in the collective species P. mascula but well distinguished: one mauve-flowered with leaves slightly pubescent below (subsp. russi), the other white-flowered and glabrous (subsp. hellenica). The mauve-flowered one was known to Francesco Cupani (1657-1711) but was first named, as P. russi, by Bivona-Bernardi in 1816. This and Saxifraoa russi C. Presl (1822) commemorate the abbé Giocchino Russo from Monte Cassino, who was evidently keenly interested in the flora of Sicily during the first quarter of the 19th century. As his name would have been latinized as Russus, Bivona-Bernardi and Presl both used the genitive epithet Russi. This was first recorded from Sicily as Paeonia hyemalis, pumila, Rosae rubrae monoflore in Cupani's Hortus Cathiolicus 169 (1696) and later illustrated by an engraving (Fig. 14) in his extremely rare and almost always incomplete Panphyton Siculum (1713).

Passalaqua & Bernardo (2004)

in The Genus Paeonia in Italy (2004)


Carsten Burkhardt's Web Project Paeonia - The Peony Database


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© 2006 Dr. Carsten Burkhardt