Bulletin of Botanical Research vol.12, No.3 July 1992 p. 223-234

Study on the chinese wild woody peonies (I) New Taxa of Paeonia L. Sect. Moutan DC.

Hong Tao, Zhang Jia-xun, Li Jia-jue, Zhao Wen-zhong, Li Ming-rui














(The Chinese Academy of Forestry. Beijing 100091).

(Zheafzhou Istitute or Aerorautiol Industrial Management, Arboretum of Rare and Endangered Trees)

(The Forestry Department of Gansu Province)

(State Forestry Centre of Jishan county, Shanxi Province)

(Administrative Office of Wanhua Mountain of Yanan. Shaanxi-Province)

Paeonia ostii T. Hong et J. X. Zhang, sp. nov.

Species insignis, a P. rockii (Haw & Lauener) T. Hong et J. J. Li differt foliolis anguste ovato-lanceolatis, saepe integris, subtus. glabris) petalis intus infra et basi dilute rubido-purpurascentibus, filamentis, disco, stigmatibusque atro-purpuratis.

Frutex deciduus circa 1.5m altus, cortice brunneo-griseo, striato, basi surculo praeditas, Ramuli annui 20cm longi, pallide flavo-virentes, leviter canaliculati. Folia bipinnata, pinnis 3, foliolis ad 15, anguste ovato-lanceolatis vel anguste longeque ovatis, 5—10cm longis, 2—4cm latis, apice acuminatis, basi cuneatis, rotundatis vel truncatis, saepe integris, interdum foliolis terminalibus 1—3-lobis, supra prope basin secus nervo medio sparsim hirsutis, subtus glabris, nervis lateralibus utroque latere 4—7, foliolis lateralibus subsessilibus raro petiolulatis, petiolulis 6mm longis. Flores solitarii, terminales, 12.5—13cm diam. bracteae oyato-lanceolatae vel anguste longeque ovatae, 3—5,5cm longae subtus glabrae; sepala triangulo-ovato-rotundata vel late elliptica, 2,7— 0.5—1.5cm latae, 3.1cm longa, 1.4—1.8cm lata, apice caudata; petala 11, alba obovata, 5.5—6.5cm longa, 3.8—5cm lata, apice emarginata, basi cuneata, intus infra et basiddilute rubido-purpurascentia; stamina numerosa, antheris flavis; linearibus, filamentis atro-purpuratis; discus atro-purpuratus; carpella 5, dense hirsute-sericea, stigmatibus atro-purpuratis. Folliculi 2—3,2cm longi,dense brunneo-griseo-hirsuti, Semina nitida, nigra, 0.8—1cm longa, glabra. Florescentia medio et fine Aprilis, (See pic.1)

Henan: Zhengzhou Institute of Aerorautical Industrial Management, Arboretum of Rare and Endangered Trees, Cultivated, introduced from Yangshan of Songxian, May 10 1990, Hong Tao 905010 (Holotypus, CAF); Songxian, Yangshan, alt. 1200m, in thickets oa slopes, October 10 1980, Zhang Jia-xun 801010.

Hunan: Longshan County, alt. 1400m, in thickets, October 20 1982, Zhang Jia-xun 821020; Zhengzhou Institute of Aerorautical Industrial Management, Arboretum of Rare and Endangered Trees, Cultivated, introduced from Longshan County, May 10 1990, Hong Tao 906010.

Gansu: Liangdang County, Forestry Bureau, Cultivated, April 21 1991, Hong Tao 914021.

Shaanxi: Meixian, Taibaishan, alt, 1000m, peasant cultivated. May 8 1989, Hong Tao 896080; Liuba County, Zhang Liang Temple, in thickets, wild, November 20 1988, Zhi Fu-cang 881120.

Paeonia jishanensis T. Hong et W. Z. Zhao, sp. nov.

Varietati P. suffruticosae Andr. var. spontaneae Rehd. affinis, sed petalis albis, filamentis omnino fertilibus differt.

Frutex deciduus, circa 1.2m altus, cortice brunneolo, striato, Rami floriferi brunneo-rufi, viriduli, lenticellis indistinctis; floricannae grisellae, lenticellis punctiformibus nigris notatae. Folia bipinnata, pinnis 3, foliolis ad 15, leviter rotundatis vel ovatis, 2,8—5,5cm longis, 1.3—4.9cm latis, apice obtuso-acutis, basi rotundatis, late cuneatis vel leviter cordatis, 1—5-lobis, dentatis, supra glabris, subtus sericeis, postremo glabratis, nervis lateralibus utroque latere 2—3, foliolis lateralibus subsessilibus raro petiolulatis, petiolulis 6mm longis, basi comosis. Flores solitarii, terminalesi brabteae lanceolato-ellipticae, anguste oblongae vel lineares, 3—5.8cm longae, 0.5—1.4cm latae, subtus pubescentesi sepala late ovata vel oblongo-elliptica, 4—5cm longa, 1.8— 2.5cm lata, apice rotundata vel obtuso-acuta; petala 10, leyiter rugosa, plus minusve rotundata, 4—5.5cm longa, 4—5cm lata, apice pauci-dentata, alba, ex parte erubescentia, basi dilute purpureo-rubescentia; stamina numerosa, antheris flavis, linearibus, 0.8—1.1cm longis, filamentis juxta apicem albis ceterum atro-purpuratis, 0.8—1cm longisi discus atro-purpuratus, apice dentatus; carpella 5, dense flavo-albo-hirsute sericea, stigmatibus atro-purpuratis. Folliculi juvenives 1.8—2cm longi, dense albo-griseo-hirsuti. Semina nitida, nigra, glabra. Florescentia fine Aprilis ad initium Maji. (See pic. 2)

Shanxi: Jishan, Xiqiu (West mound), alt, 1200m, in forests and thickets, May 10 1991, Hong Tao 915010 (Holotypus, CAF), Majiagou forestry farm, Chayu-angou, alt, 1450m, on mountain slope. May 14 1982, Liu Tian-wei et Zeng Zhao-zhen 165 (PE).

Paeonia yananensis T. Hong et M. R. Li, sp. nov.

Species P. rockii (Haw & Lauener) T. Hong et J. J. Li affinis, sed foliolis ad 11, petalis 4—5 cm longis, dilute purpureo-roseis; stigmatibus discoque atro-purpureis differt.

Frutex deciduus, circa 40cm altus, cortice ravido, striato. Ramuli annui virides. Folia bipinnata, foliolis ad 11, ovato-rotundatis vel ovatis 2.5—7.5cm longis, 1.9—8,3cm latis, apice obtuso-acutis, basi auguste cuneatis, cuneatis vel late cuneatis, partitis vel lobatis et dentatis, subtus sericeis, postremo glabratis, nervis lateralibus utroque latere 2—3, foliolis lateralibus subsessilibus vel petiolulatis, petiolulis 0.1—1.1cm longis, dispersim vel fasciculate longe sericeis. Flores solitarii, terminalesi bracteae anguste elliptico-lanceolatae vel oblanceolatae, 6—8cm longae, 1—1.5cm latae, subtus sericeaei sepala late elliptica vel oblongo-elliptica, 3.8—4cm longa, 2—2.8cm lata, apice rotundata; petala 10, obovata, 4—5cm longa, 3—4.5cm lata, apice emarginata, dilute purpureo-rosea vel alba, basi purpureo-nigro-maculata; stamina numerosa, antheris flavis, linearibus, 4—8mm longis, filamentis 0.7—1.1cm longis, superne albis, ceterum purpureis, discus atro-purpuratus; carpella 5, dense hirsuto-sericea, stigmatibus atro-purpuratis. Follculi non visi. Florescentia Medio Maji. (See pic. 3)

Shaanxi: Yanan, Wanhua Mountain, in Platycladus forests, rare, May 13 1991, Hong Tao 915013 (Kolotypus, CAF),

Paeonia rockii (S. G. Haw & L. A. Lauener) T. Hong et J. J. Li, stat. nov.—

Paeonia suffruticosa Andr. 'Rock's Variety' ( 'Joseph Rock') Hort.—

P. suffruticosa Andr. subsp. rockii S. G. Haw & L. A, Laeuner, Edinburgh Journal of Botany 47 (3) : 273—281 (1990). —

P. suffruticosa sensu Stern, Stud. Gen. Paeonia 40 (1946), p. p.) Fang Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica 7(4) i 302 (1958), p. p. non Andr.—

P. suffruticosa Andr. var. papaveracea sensu K. Y. Pan, Fl. Reip, Pop. Sin. 27 : 45 (1979), non. Kerner.


Woody Peony is a kind of precious flower and medicinal tree endemic to China, which has had a cultivation history of over 1500 years. So far, there are over 500 cultivars in China.

Most of the research on the classification of woody peony and the description and identification of peony species were conducted by scientists. of the western countries on the basis of the peony plants and specimens. introduced into England, USA and France etc. from China during the 18th—19th century.

In recent years, the author has conducted a series of investigation and study on Chinese wild woody peonies in Anhui, Henan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces of China.

The present paper proposes 3 new species and I new status of Chinese-wild woody peonies. This achievement leads to provide the scientific and theoretical basis for the study on the origin and natural classification of peony cultivars and exploitation, protection, utilization of Chinese precious, rare and endangered gene resources of wild woody peonies as well as the hybridization of new cultivars and expansion of peony cultivated area. etc.

Osti's Peony (Paeonia ostii T. Hong et J. X. Zhang sp. nov.)

The species name "ostii" is dedicated to Dr. Gian Lupo Osti, the Italian Vice President of International Dendrology Society. We do appreciate his friendly, valuable and precious help to promote the scientific research of Chinese wild woody peonies!

Osti's Peony differs from Rock's Peony and its congeners are in more or less lanceolate leaflets with entire margin, glabrous beneath and 4—7 pairs of veins, the terminal leaflets 1—3 lobed, petals white or slightly tinged with dilutely reddish color, but without purple basal blotch, filaments, disks and styles dark purplish red all together,

Jishan Peony (Paeonia jishanensis T. Hong et W. Z. Zhao sp. nov.)

It differs from P. suffruticosa Andr. subsp. spontanea (Rehd.) Haw & Lauener in its white flowers and without petaloid stamens.

A. Rehder, an American dendrologist, identified and nominated it as a new variety (P. suffruticosa Andr. var. spontanea Rehd.) in 1920, based on the specimen No. 338 collected by W. Purdom in 1910 at a place located at 25 kilometers away from the west of Yanan. The original Latin description of its main characteristics is; "floribus roseis, interdum staminibus petaloideis praeditis" (flowers roseate, sometimes presence of petaloid stamens).

In 1990, S, G, Haw & L. A. Lauener changed Render's variety into subspecies (P. suffruticosa subsp. spontanea) and identified the white-flowered wild peony which is distributed over Majiagou Jishan County in Sbanxi Province at the alt. 1450m to the same subspecies.

The author thinks that the petaloid stamens is one of the most important characteristics of Peony Cultivars originating from wild species after cultivation. It shouldn't be confused with wild peony. Therefore, Haw's subspecies should be lowered and changed to cultivar. The Jishan Peony is an undoubted wild woody peony species,

Yanan Peony (Paeonia yananensis T. Hong et M. R. Li sp. nov.)

It's a rare and endangered wild woody peony species which has a superficial resemblance to Rock's Peony being dark purplish blotched at the base of petals, but is easily distinguished by few leaflets (up to 11), smaller and dilutely purplish roseate or white petals,reddish purple stigma and disk etc.

Rock's Peony (Paeonia rockii (Haw & Lauener) T. Hong et J. J. Li stat. nov.

It's identified and nominated by S. G, Haw & L. A. Lauener as a new subspecies (P. suffruticosa Andr. subsp. rockii.) based on "Rock's Variety" which was bred from seeds collected by an American Geographer Joseph Rock in 1925—1926 from a peony with big white flower and dark purple basal blotch in a lamasery of Choni County in the south of Gansu Province.

The author of Genus Paeonia of Fl. Reip, Pop. Sin. was mistaken to identify the peony with white flower and dark purple basal blotch which is distributed over the south of Gansu and Mt. Taibai of Shaanxi Provinces etc. as Paeonia suffruticosa Andr. var, papaveracea (Andr.) Kerner.

H. C. Andrews, a British plant taxonomist, studied a peony plant with white flower and dark purple basal blotch, which was introduced to England from Guangzhou, China and cultivated in the garden of Sir Abraham Hume, and identified and nominated it as a new species, Paeonia papaveracea Andr. in 1806, After that, Kerner changed it as a variety, P. suffruticosa Andr. var. papaveracea (Andr.) Kerner in 1816.

Bean, a British scientist, studied the peony planted in Sir Abraham Hume Garden, He thought it is neither a species nor a variety and reduced it as a cultivar, P. suffrulicosa Andr. cv. 'Papaveracea' .

The author thinks that Paeonia suffruticosa Andr, is a name for a big group of various cultivars while Rock's Peony is a wild woody peony species', from which originating a series of cultivars. So the author raised Haw's subspecies to species grade, Paeonia rockii (Haw & Lauener) T. Hong et J. J. Li stat. nov.

Key words Paeonia, Sect. Moutan, P. ostii, P. jishanensis, P. yananensis , P. rockii