Paeonia wittmanniana Hartwiss ex Lindley

Bot. Reg. 32, t. 9 ; 1846


[herbaceous peony] – [species] – [synonym]

accepted name (2005):

Paeonia daurica ssp. wittmanniana

Ranunculaceae - Paeonia wittmanniana. From: Annales de la Société royale d’Agriculture et de Botanique de Gand, Journal d’horticulture by Charles Morren (ed.). Gent, Local de la Société (Casino), etc., 1846, volume 2 (plate 64). Hand-coloured lithograph (sheet 168 x 257 mm). (Meemelink)

Belgian horticultural journal, published from 1845-1849 by the Royal Agricultural and Botanical Society of Gent, organizer of the famous flower shows in Gent, Gentse Floraliën, since 1809. Started and edited by Charles Morren at the same time as the more successful competitor Flore des serres et des jardins de l’Europe of the nurseryman Louis van Houtte.

* Great flower books p. 84; Nissen BBI 2212 [Anmerkung (C.Burkhardt, 2004:): Diese Publikation scheint kurz nach der Erstbeschreibung von Lindley erscheinen zu sein. genaue Zuordnung aber bisher nicht möglich]

Wallich 1882 Paeonia wittmanniana. Native of the Caucasus and Armenia, Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Tab. 6645



10. P.Wittmanniana Hartwiss ex Lindley in Bot. Reg. 32, t. 9 (1846); Ann. de Gand. 2, t. 46 (1846) ; Walpers, Ann. 1, 14 (1848) ; Buhse, Aufzähl. Transkauk. Pers. Pfl. 8 (1860) ; Boissier, Fl. Orient. 1, 97 (1867), pro parte ; Huth in Engl. Bot. Jahrb. 14, a66 (1891), pro parte ; F. C. Stern in Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 68, 125 (1943).Syn. P.Wittmanniana subsP.tomentosa (Lomak.) Busch in Kusnezow, Busch & Fomin, Mat. Fl. Caw. Crit. 3, iii, 14 (i90i),224 (1903).P.Wittmanniana var. tomentosa Lomakin in Trud. Tiflis Bot. Soda, 1, 30 (1895), 2, 283 (1897) ; Lipsky, Fl. Cauc. (in Trud. Tiflis Bot. Soda, 4) 213 (1899) ; Schipczinsky in Not. Syst. Herb. Hart. Bot. PetroP.2, 44 (1921).P.abchasica Miscz. ex Grossheim, Fl. Kavkaza, 2, 92 (1930) ; Komarov, Fl. U.R.S.S. 7, 33 (1937).P.corallina Retz. var. Wittmanniana Albow, Prodr. Fl. Colchicae (Trud. Tiflis Bot. Soda, 1, Suppl.), 14 (1895), quoad plantam carpellis tomentosis.P.macrophylla Lomakin sec. Saunders in Nat. Hort. Mag. 13, t. P.224 (1934)1 non (Albow) Lomakin.P.tomentosa (Lomak.) Busch ex Grossheim, Fl. Kavkaza, 2, 91 (1930) ; Stapfin Bot. Mag. t. 9249 (1931) ; Meyer in Gartenfi. 84, 177 (1935) ; Komarov, Fl. U.R.S.S. 7, 30, t. 3, fig. 4 (1937).

Description. Stem glabrous, up to i m. high. Lower leaves biternate. Leaflets broadly ovate or broadly elliptic to oblong-oval, cuneate to obliquely truncate at the base, apex bluntly acute to acuminate, 8-17 cm. long, 4'5-10 cm. broad, glabrous and shining green above, lighter green below, with scattered long white hairs especially dense along the nerves, petioles with long scattered hairs at the apex. Flowers 10-12 cm. across, bowl-shaped. Petals concave, orbicular, 6 cm. across, yellowish. Stamens 2 cm. long, numerous, filaments red, up to 1 cm. long. Anthers golden, 1 cm. long. Carpels 2 or 3 (rarely 4), tomentose, stigma crimson. Follicles 3 cm.


(This description has been drawn up from a plant grown in the garden at Highdown and from dried specimens from Leningrad Herbarium— some of which had been examined by Busch.)

Distribution. north-western caucasus : the district from Abkhazia and South-eastern Caucasus, the district of Talysch, also Elburz Mountains, south of the Caspian Sea in Persia.

The locations of the specimens lent by the Leningrad Herbarium are as follows :— (a) J. Woronow Plantae Caucasicae No. 191 coll. 27/7/1905, Abkhazia : Mt. Matozishkha (or Mochozishkba) alpine pastures. (b) N. V. Schipczinsky and E. D. Sidorova. Lenkoray exP.No. 513 coll. JV.V.S. 3/7/1931, mountain ridge between Lerik and Buzagar, southern and eastern slopes (rocky),at 1700 m. (c) 0. Voronova coll. 4/1904, Sukhum district. Mt. Akhupach in the Tsebei'da. (This mountain is located 41° 15' long. 43° 8' lat.) (</) G. Woronow Plantae Abkhaziae No. 410 coll. 23/8/1902, Arkh-dore on the ascent to Mt. Gypshira, in beech woods about 5000 ft. See also Woosnam (no collector's number), Elburz Mountains, Persia (1907). (BM.)

P.Wittmanniana is one of the yellow-flowered herbaceous paeonies of the Caucasus. A yellow-flowered paeony, according to Lindley (1846), was received in October 1842 at the Horticultural Society's Gardens at Chiswick from N. de Hartwiss, the Director of the Nikita Gardens in the Crimea. Dr. Fischer of St. Petersburg, in a letter to Sir William Hooker, says, " Mr. Hartwiss has received many interesting plants from Abcharia {sic) sent by Count M. Worontzoff. Among them he has found a yellow-flowered paeony, Epimedium pinnatum (confined hitherto to Talysch alone), etc." Lindley goes on to say that " Mr. Wittmann, after whom it [end page 56] has been named, was, we believe, a traveller in the Taurian Caucasus and afterwards gardener at Odessa." Hartwiss distributed this paeony to various European gardens; Lindley described (I.e.} and figured the plant grown at Chiswick, using for it the name P.Wittmanniana, which had been supplied by Hartwiss. Lindley described the carpels as tomentose, but in the plate in the Botanical Register (1846), t. 9, they appear to be glabrous. Christian von Steven afterwards Director of the Nikita Gardens, describing in 1848 a yellow-flowered paeony with glabrous carpels called it P.Wittmanniana, evidently in ignorance of Lindley's prior use of the name. Lindley's name, though the earlier, has hitherto been overlooked in favour of von Steven's, and the name P.Wittmanniana has been applied to the plant with glabrous carpels ; the one with tomentose carpels being treated as a variety or even as a distinct species. It is clear, however, that on grounds of priority the name of P.Wittmanniana belongs to the plant with tomentose carpels; so, should the plant with glabrous carpels be treated as a distinct species, it will have to be renamed.

The reason for Lindley's name being overlooked may be that the yellow-flowered paeony with glabrous carpels was thought to come from the district of Abkhazia in the western Caucasus near the Black Sea, and the one with tomentose carpels to be confined to the districts in the eastern Caucasus bordering the Caspian Sea. Several writers—Lomakin (1897), Busch(1901), Grossheim(1930) and Stapf (1931)—have stated this, though Busch in the Addenda (1902) to Flora Caucasica critica says that specimens with tomentose carpels had also been found in the district of Abkhazia. This statement has been confirmed from an examination of the Leningrad specimens. The place mentioned on one of the specimens has not been located but the other three were collected in the district of Abkhazia near the Black Sea at the west end of the Caucasus range. There seems, therefore, no doubt that the yellow-flowered paeony with tomentose carpels is found in the district of Abkhazia, which was thought to be the habitat only of the form with glabrous carpels.

Wild specimens of these Caucasian paeonies are rare in herbaria ; most of the specimens come from the Tiflis Botanical Garden. The only wild specimen in the herbaria that I have examined, other than those from Leningrad, is in the British Museum, but unfortunately it is fragmentary. Although a poor specimen it can be recognized as the yellow-flowered paeony with tomentose carpels ; it was collected by Woosnam in 1907 in the Elburz Mountains in northern Persia, west of Asterabad. Bunge (1901) also reports that he found this paeony in this region. Therefore one has to rely on the Russian botanists for the description and habitat of the paeony from Talysch and the eastern end of the Caucasus range. Lomakin (1895), in his "List of Plants of Talysch" in the Transactions of the Botanical Garden, Tiflis, includes P.Wittmanniana var. tomentosa and says it differs essentially from the type only in the felting of the fruits. Busch (1901) says the same, adding that Buhse found it in Masula in Persia, which is just south of Talysch. Grossheim (1930) gives its habitat as Azerbaidzhan and Baku (Lenkoran division), and described it as P.abchasica, Mischenko. In Flora U.R.S.S. (1937) there is a note that Lomakin collected a specimen with immature fruits, but later cultivated it in the Tiflis Botanical Garden, when he established that the flowers were almost the same as those of P.Wittmanniana var. nudicarpa.

From the evidence given above there seems to be no doubt that the yellow-flowered paeony with tomentose carpels is found both in the district of Abkhazia at the west end of the Caucasus range and in the districts at the east end of the Caucasus range, extending down to the Elburz mountains. Lindley named this paeony with tomentose carpels P.Wittmanniana so that name must stand, and the closely similar yellow-flowered paeonies with glabrous carpels, which are only[end page 57] reported from the districts at the west end of the Caucasus range, must be renamed. The varietal name P.Wittmanniana var. nudicarpa, given by Schipczinsky (1921) has been adopted, as there appears to be no difference between the two paeonies except the glabrous and tomentose carpels. This occurrence within the same geographical area of two forms of a species, one with glabrous the other with tomentose carpels, but with no other significant difference, has been found with other species.

P.Wittmanniana differs from P.Mlokosewitschi in possessing leaflets acute to acuminate at the apex and broadly ovate or elliptic to oblong-oval in shape. Its filaments are red and it has light yellow flowers. Also it is a tetraploid. From the variety macrophylla it is distinguished by its leaflets which are larger in all respects, though of the same shape. This increased size of the leaflets is in my opinion of somewhat doubtful value as a specific character ; possibly when more information is available it may be found to belong merely to a geographical form growing under better conditions.

The variety with glabrous carpels has been known long in gardens as P.Wittmanniana. It is unfortunate that since the name was first given to the form with tomentose carpels, the current names have to be changed round and the form with tomentose carpels must be known in future as P.Wittmanniana and the form with glabrous carpels as P.Wittmanniana var. nudicarpa.

P.Wittmanniana and its varieties come into bloom towards the end of April in the gardens of the south of England. They are most decorative plants and seem to grow easily in any position in good soil, though the flowers last longer if the plants are not put in full sun. P.Wittmanniana var. nudicarpa is said {Flora U.R.S.S., 7, 1937) to be perfectly hardy at Leningrad without any covering in winter. [end page 58]

1950 Grossheim

P.Wittmanniana Hartwiss ex Lindl in Bot reg. XXXII t.9(1846). - P. abchasica Mischz ex Grossheim II, 92 - Schipczinsiki Fl. SSSR, VII 29(1937) [3]. Wurzel spnidelförmig; Stiel bis l m hoch. Blattsegmente elliptisch- lanzettlich, meist etwas scharf, untere Fläche des Blattes mehr oder weniger mit den Härchen bedeckt; Blätter grösser 8-15(24) cm lang, 4,5- 10(16,5) cm breit; obere Fläche dunkel- grün, untere blass. Blüten gelb oder weisslich- gelb. Blütenblätter 4- 6 cm lang. Fruchtblätter ungefähr 3 cm lang mit Härchen. Kav.: Krtl., Klch.: Abch, Kut., Adsch., Per.: Smch (westl. Teil). Bis zur mittleren Gebirgszone. In Bergwäldern.

Klass. Standort: Atzchuri, Geogr. Typ: Kolchida(Landkarte 6).

1961 Wister:

P. wittmanniana Hartwiss ex Lindley, 1846.

Synonyms: wittmanniana var. tomentosa Lomakin, 1895; wittmanniana subsp. tomentosa (Lomakin) Busch, 1903; corallina (Retzius) var. wittmanniana Albow, 1895; and, tomentosa (Lomakin) Busch ex Grossheim, 1930. Northwestern Caucasus. Stern accepts as the true species under this name the plant with tomentose carpels which is rare in gardens. Stern reports it as yellow flowered, but the paintings he has in his book show very pale creamy color not the yellow of mlokosewitschi. Plant discovered by Count M. Worontzoff in Abkhazia in western Caucasus. Introduced to gardens by the Royal Horticultural Society in 1842. Listed by Barr in 1885. To 40". Cream white. Named for Wittmann, a Russian traveler in Taurus in the Caucasus, afterwards a gardener in Odessa. Tetraploid—20 chromosomes.


A.A. Kolakowskij



3. Paeonia Wittmanniana Hartwiss

Hartwiss ex Lindley Bot. Regist. XXXII (1846) 9; Grossh. Opr. (1949) 44 pp. "Fl. Cauc." IV (1950) 12 pp.

Syn. P. Wittmanniana auct. cauc. non Stev. pp. ; P. abchasica Mitz. Grossheim in "Fl. Cauc." II (1930) 92; Schipchin. in "Fl. USSR" VII (1937) 33; Kemularia Nathadse in "Fl. Georg." (1948) 6; P. tomentosa Kolak. "Fl. Abch." IV (1939)121.

Perennials. The stem is 80-100 cm high, with a branchy rhizome and not large root thickenings; at both sides leaves are nearly monotonously dark-green almost smooth, shining, bare or with sparse fine hairs at the lower side; leaf-lobes are oval, obovate, ovate with a long-narrowed base, sharpened or slightly blunt at the apex. The blossoms are broad patent, with pale-yellow, nearly whitish petals which are oblong-oval or oval, nearly not narrowed at their base, with a broad and short claw; anthers are yellow, filaments are yellow or flesh-coloured up to the middle, ovary is ovate with dense yellowish-tomentose pubescence, stigmas are nearly symmetrical-laminate, almost sessile or upon a very short style. The fruits are oblong-ovate, divirgent, yellowish-tomentose downy. The seeds are blackish-bluish, IV-VI.

Habitat. From the intermediary to upper montane belt, in the forest, upon margins.

Original area. Georgia, Abchazia.

Type. In London. It was described from samples grown in a garden of the Agronomic Society in Chisvik (the outskirts of London). The rhizomes gathered by Wittman in Abchazia were used in this case as a planting material.

Studied samples.

Georgia, Abchazia. The outskirts of Gagri; mnt. Mamdzishkha, 3, VII, 1912, I. G. Gusev!

Gorge of the river Bzibi, 13 km along the road to Ritse, slopes and bays of the inversional depression; 22. V, 1948, N. Purtskhanidze!

near Sukhumi; mnt. Apiancha. a margin of the beech-forest, 22, IV, V, 1902, Voronov! 20, V, 1953, T. Dumbadze!

Geographic type. Montane Kolchidsky. General distribution. Endemic.

Remarks. A history of this species is quite complicated. A yellow-flowered Caucasian peony had been firstly mentioned in 1842 by Fisher (the St. Peterburg Botanical Garden) in his letter to the famous English botanist Hooker, in London, who was informed that Hartwiss,( the director of the Crimean Botanical garden) had received from the count Vorontsov, from Abchazia, many interesting plants collected by Wittmann who travelled along the Caucasian Black sea coast, (afterwards, he became a garner in Odessa). Among the plants received, there was a yellow-flowered peony (along with Epimedium pinnatum Fisch.) which was propagated by Hartwiss throughout European States afterwards.

In 1846, in "Botanical Register", being issued by Lindley in London, materials about a new yellow blossomed peony named P. Wittmanniana Hartwiss, were published. This peony was described from samples grown in a garden of the Agronomic Society (London suburb.), and these samples had been obtained from the collection of Wittmann from Abchazia. In the diagnoses, it was indicated that the new peonies fruit was downy. Nevertheless, from a picture published the fruit looked naked.

It has happened so, that independently from each other, two authors described a yellow-blossomed peony found at different places and periods and had given to it the same name. A circumstance of this kind could not but mislead botanists, and some disagreement ensued among them subsequently in future. The majority of botanists acknowledged the authority of Steven and used, as a species name P. Wittmanniana Stev. Others botanists, especially from abroad, recognized the priority of Hartwiss, supposing the name Wittmanniana Stev. to be a synonym of the former or, at the most, considered it a variety with the name (var.) nudicarpa.

The author of the newest monograph about the genus Paeonia L. Stern (1946) has made a further step joining all yellow-blossomed peonies from Caucasus, excepting P. Mlokosewitschii Lomak from Lagodekhy, with P. Wittmanniana Hartwiss, to which P. Wittmanniana Stev. and P. macrophylla Lomak have been subordinated as its two i varieties by him.

We firmly object to the enlargening of species carried out in this way, especially, in case when such ancient representatives of the genus Paeonia L. as the Caucasian peonies are concerned. All Caucasian peonies with yellow flowers and growing at their natural habitats distinctly differ from each other with the complexes of morphological characters and the areas of distribution.

We quite agree with Stern (1946), who asserts that the priority concerning the species name and authorship belongs to Hartwiss, and that the peony with downy fruits and growing in Abchazia, but not in Talish or the North Iran, should be identified as P. Wittmanniana Hartwiss, and that the peony of Steven should be renamed, but not as a I variety, but as a self-dependent species.

It is quite obvious for us that Hartwiss (1846) and Steven (1848) described two different peonies from different places, Abchazia and Meskhetia, respectively, having given these peonies the same name.

We suppose that the identification of P. tomentosa (Lomak.) N. Busch from Talish with P. Wittmanniana Hartwiss is a result of an obvious mistake which is that in a box with plants sent to Hartwiss from Abchazia, there was a yellow-blossommed peony placed by a sample of P. Epimedium pinnatum Fisch, and the latter was known to grow in Talish only and, afterwards, botanists decided that the peony of Hartwiss should originate from Talish too; moreover, it was known that a yellow-blossommed downy-fruited peony had been found in Talish in 1888, and in the North Iran, in 1860.

But, at present, we are well aware of that, firstly, in the West Transcaucasus (Abchazia, Adjaria, etc.), the new peony species [Epimedium L. - Epimedium colchicum (Boiss) Trautv.] has been found and depicted, which is closely related, being almost indistinguishable, with Epimedium pinnatum Fisch. growing in Talish? secondly, in Abchazia, there is a yellow-flowered downy-fruited peony growing in Abchazia which is now under study by the prof. Mischenko and which is named P. abchasica Miscz. thirdly, it is well-known that Wittmann gathered plants near Tiflis, in Akhaltsikh, along the Black-Sea coast, and had never been in Talish. Hence, we must arrive at the conclusion that Hartwiss made his description of P. Wittmanniana in Abchazia and as to P. tomentosa(Lomak.) N.Busch. it grows in Talish and the North Iran; these two species noticeably differ from each other with the complexes of morpTioTogical features and with separated areas of distribution.


Chemical Content an medical use / Chemische Zusammensetzung und medizinische Anwendung

P. wittmanniana Hartwiss ex Lindl.

in the leaves Tannic acids contain 11.4 %,

in the seed fat - sour 22.41 %, and. ÷. 135.4.


Rote Liste der UdSSR/ Red Book of the USSR

P. wittmanniana Hartwiss ex. Lindl.

Status: Seltene Pflanze

Bedeutung der Art im Naturschutz: Endemit des Kaukasus. Zierpflanze

Kurzbeschreibung: Staude bis 1 m Hohe Wurzeln spindelförmig, Blätter elliptisch- lanzettlich, deutlich gewölbt, unterseits mehr oder weniger behaart, Länge 8- 15 cm, Breite 7.5 - 10 cm , Blüten gelb oder gelblich- weiß. Fruchtblätter behaart.

Vorkommen: Westkaukasus (Abchasien).Standorte: Bergwälder, Waldränder, Sträucher, Waldlichtungen.

Häufigkeit und Tendenz ihrer Veränderung: Keine Informationen.

Wichtigste Faktoren der Zerstörung: Sammeln der Blumen (massenweise).

Besonderheiten der Biologie: Vermehrung durch Samen und vegetativ. Nach der Aussaat blühen die Pflanzen im vierten Jahr. Blütezeit im April, reife Samen Mai- Juni.

Mittel des Schutzes: In Roten Buch der UdSSR seit 1978.Notwendige Mittel des Schutzes: Gegründung von Naturschutzgebieten, Einführung in Kultur, Eingliederung in das Rote Buch von Georgien. Informationsquellen: 1. Grossheim 1950, 2.Redkije i istschesajuschtschije... 1983; 3. Beregite ...1977; 4. Gabrielian und andere 1981 (Berbeitet von L.S. Bielousova).




Artamanow (deutsch)

P. wittmanniana besitzt glatte Stiele mit einer Höhe bis 60-100 cm. Die Blätter sind relativ dünn, bi- oder triternat. Oberseits sind sie glatt, unterseits hellgrün, wenig behaart. Die Blüten sind schalenförmig gelblich- weiß oder gelblich- grün, ca. 8 cm im Durchmesser. Die vielzahligen Staubfäden sind gelb.

Die Pflanze wächst hauptsächlich in der Wald- und subalpinen Zone des nord-westlichen Kaukasus und im südlichen Teil des Transkaukasus, auch in Iran. [letzteres ist bezieht sich allerdings auf P. tomentosa!, der Übersetzer]. P. wittmanniana ist dekorativ, unkomliziert in der Kultur, vermehrt sich in guter Gartenerde sehr schnell und benötigt keinen Schutz im Winter.


Kapinos & Dubrov


P.wittmanniana Hartwiss ex Lindl. - Wittmann's peony Endemic, native in forests and on mountain slopes in Abkhasia. Stems 80-100cm. Leaves dark green. Flowers open pale-yellow, later creme. One of the earliest species.

2002 in Wädenswil

2002 in Wädenswil

2005 bei Hermann Fuchs:




Wurzeln einer Pflanze aus Sotschi:

Carsten Burkhardt's Web Project Paeonia - The Peony Database


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