Paeonia moutan Aiton subsp. atava Brühl

Ann. Bot. Gard., Calcutta, 5, ii, 114, t. 126 .(1896)

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

accepted name (2005):

Paeonia rockii subsp. atava (Brühl) Hong D.Y. & K.Y.Pan

Hong : (in Paeonia in Xizang, 1996)

Paeonia moutan Aiton subsp. atava Brühl

Brühl (1896) described this subspecies based on King 549 (K), which was collected from Tibet (Chumbi, Tuk Chang, June 1884). Haw and Lauener (1990) treated the plant as Paeonia suffruticosa Andréanszky subsp. atava. The wild plants of P. suffruticosa subsp. spontanea are confined to a small area in N Henan, S Shanxi, and C Shaanxi. In fact, the whole P. suffruticosa complex (including P. rockii, P. ostii, and P. qiui) is confined to the Qinling Range and adjacent regions in North-central China, and none of its taxa has been recorded from Sichuan or Xizang. Several expeditions to Yadong County, where Chumbi is located, have been made since the early 1950s, but no Paeonia was found. The populations of subspecies spontanea and subspecies atava are isolated by more than 2000 air km and by the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau and the Himalayas.

During the 1996 expedition, the present author and three assistants spent considerable time in Chumbi Valley searching for Paeonia, but none was found. An extensive search was made in nearly every plant community in the valley to 3600 m elevation. The search was also extended to other places in Yadong County from Xiayadong at 2750 m, near the border with Bhutan and Sikkim, to Shangyadong at 3200 m. The peony is a famous flower in China, and wherever it exists in the wild, almost all the local people know its exact location. For example, during the expedition of 1995, inhabitants of NW Sichuan could point out the exact places where P. decomposita grew, and people in Mailing, Nyingchi, and Bomi counties in SE Xizang were also able to identify Lumaidao (God’s flower). All 37 persons questioned indicated that no peony grows in the area. On the way back to Lhasa, a single plant of P. rockii (S. G. Haw & L. A. Lauener) T. Hong & J. J. Li was found in front of the Zhashilenbu Temple in Xigaze City. When asked about that plant, a Buddhist monk replied that it has "a very long history." Paeonia rockii has two subspecies, and Brühl’s figure (t. 126) fits P. rockii subsp. rockii rather well except for the flower color. The petals of Paeonia may change color if specimens are not dried quickly. Haw and Lauener (1990) commented on a specimen, Gould 132 (K), from Bhutan as "having a large flower with blotched petals. It appears to be closer to [P. suffruticosa] subsp rockii, but the leaflets are quite frequently lobed, with up to ca. 5 rather blunt, shallow lobes per leaflet." They also considered this plant as a possible escape from cultivation at a lamasery, and their description fits P. rockii subsp rockii very well. On the basis of these findings, it is rather reasonable to say that "P. moutan subsp. atava" is actually P. rockii subsp. rockii introduced to Xigaze, Yadong, and nearby Bhutan by Buddhist monks from lamaseries in the Qinling Range.

Hong, D.-Y. & Pan, K.-Y. 1999. A revision of the Paeonia suffruticosa complex (Paeoniaceae). -Nordic Journal of Botany 19: 289-299. Copenhagen. ISSN 0107-055X.

5. Paeonia rockii (S. G. Haw et L. A. Lauener) T. Hong et J. J. Li

Bull. Bot. Res. 12(3): 227. Fig. 4. 1992; D. Y. Hong in Acta Phytotax. Sin. 37: 1998.

P. suffruticosa Andrews subsp. rockii S. G. Haw et L. A. Lauener in Edinb. J. Bot. 47(3): 279. Fig. l a (p.276). 1990. - Type: China, Kansu (Gansu), "probably near Wutu (Wudu), (Farrer's Chieh Jo)", Farrer no 8(?) (E, photo PE!).

P. papaveracea auct. non Andrews: Anonymous, Icon. Cormophyt. Sin. l: 652. Fig. 1303. 1972.

P. suffruticosa Andr. var. papaveracea auct. non. Andrews: K. Y. Pan in Wang, W. T. (ed.): Fl. Reip. Pop. Sin. 27: 45. pl. 3(p.43). 1979.

P. suffruticosa auct. non Andrews: Stern, Stud. Gen. Paeonia, 40. 1946, p. p.; Fang, in Acta Phytotax Sin. 7(4): 313. 1958, p.p.

P. moutan Sims subsp. atava Brühl in Ann. Bot. Gard. Calcutta 5(2): 114. pl. 126. 1896, syn. nov. -Type: Tibet (Xizang), Chumbi, Tuk Chang, 1884, 06, King's Collector 549 (K).

P. suffruticosa Andr. subsp. atava (Brühl) S. G. Haw et L. A. Lauener, in Edinb. J. Bot. 47(3): 280. 1990. syn.nov.

P. suffruticosa Andrews, "Rock's Variety' ('Joseph Rock') hort.

This species is characterized by leaves tri- (or bi-) pinnate; leaflets usually 1933, very rarely less than 19; filaments yellow; floral disc yellowish white; Stigmata yellow and petals white but with a dark purple blotch at the base. Thus, the species differs distinctiy from the other four in the complex. And its flowers are the largest in the whole genus.

D.-Y. Hong (1997a) has described bis searching for P. moutan subsp. atava in its type locality, Yadong, S. Tibet, in 1996 with failure, and explained his consideration that so-called "atava" was actually "P. rockii" introduced by lamas.

1t is relatively widely distributed in four provinces, Gansu, Shaanxi, Henan and Hubei (Fig.8). Two subspecies can be recognized.


HONG De-Yuan & PAN Kai-Yu Taxonomical history and revision of Paeonia sect. Moutan (Paeoniaceae) Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica 37(4):351-368(1999) Paeonia rockii (S. G. Haw et L. A. Lauener ) T. Hong et J. J. Li

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