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.

7. Paeonia caucasica Schipcz.

Schipczinsky in "Fl. USSR" VII (1937) 28; Kemularia-Nathadse in "Fl. Georgia" IV (1948), 6.

Syn. P.corallina var. caucasica Schipcz. in Notul. Syst. Horti. Bot. Petrop. II (1921) 45. ,. P. corallina var. triternata (Pall.) Boiss. Fl. Or. (1867) 97 pp. ; P. corallina subsp. triternata (Pallas) N. Busch in Fl. cauc. crit. 3.III.(1901-1903) 10 pp. ; Ledeb. Fl. Ross. I (1842) 73 pp. ; Ruprecht. Fl. Cauc. (1869) 44 pp. ; Stern in Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 56 (1931) 74 pp. ; P. kavachensis Grossheim, Fl. Cauc. IV (1950) 12 non Aznavour; P. daurica Stern in Journ. Roy. Soc. (1946) 70 pp. . XXIV

Perennial. The rhizome is palmate-ramificating with slightly swollen root thickenings; stems are from 50 to 100 cm high, robust, branchy; leaves are double-ternate, dark-green from above, grayish, in result of pubescense, from beneath or glaucescent at both sides or only at the upper side; leaf-lobes (leaflets) are oblong-obovate or oval, shortly acuminate. The blossom is large, 3-5 cm in diameter, with red petals, yellow anthers and red or violet filaments; ovary and fruits are tomentose-downy with yellowish or grayish hairs; fruits are large, curvedly spreading. Seeds black and red; unripe seeds are red, fleshy.

Habitat. From the intermediary to upper montane belt, in forest, upon margins. Original habitat. The West Transcaucasus. The type has not been preserved.

Studied samples. Georgia, Abchazia. By mnt. Chipsira 3.X. 1893, Albov!

Near the vill. Yuryevskoe, Sukhum, IV. 1900. Voronov!

Near the vill. Tsebelda, 1956, Dumbadze!

Bridsky ridge 1948, Purtskhvanidze!

Svanetia. Lentekhy. 28. VII. Some and Levye!

Racha-Lechkhumi; a gorge of the river Rion, mnt. Konchkhu by the vill. Achariskhidi (Achara) 12.VII.1929, Kemularia-Nathadse!

Between the vill. Mikotsminda and Abanoyety, in forest 22.IV. 1935 M. Sokhadze!

Megrelia. Mut. Ochakhuye, a forest margin at the upper belt 22.VII.1954, Kemularia-Nathadse, Mandenova, Kutateladze!

between the vill. Leshamge and mnt. Barkha, in forest 15.VII.1954. M. Dolidze and I. Mikeladze!

Imeretia. Kvirili, an oak forest IV. 1916, Lomakin!

Sakolovsky ridge beyond the vill. Gavati, in forest 20.VII.1927!

in a forest between the vill. Gelati and Godogani 26.VII.1926, 22.IV.1930, Kemularia-Nathadse!

the Tkibulsky region, beyond the vill. Akhalsopeli, upon mnt. Tsintskala, 4. VI. 1948. A. Kutateladze!

Adjaria. Upon the ridge Khanii, 28.VII. Somye and Levye!

Kartly. The outskirts of Tbilisi, in forest, IV. 1844 Hohenacker!

Martkobi, abundantly in forest, 15.IV.1861, Ruprecht!

Borjom 1876, Medvedev, 28.VII.1888 Akinfiev! II.V.1918, Kodjori!

in forest 26.V.35, Barnabishvili! Zedelmeyer!

Saguramo 7.V.1920, Kafiev! 12. V. 1929 A. Kolakovsky! 23. V. 1920., Zedelmeyer!

Kakhetia, Kakabeti, in forest Dvrina 8. VI. 1914, Kanchaveli!

Kardanakh, shady places 4. V. 1900, Grinevetsky!

Azerbaydjan. Lenkoran, in forest. May of 1838, Hohenacker.

Other parts of the USSR: RSFR, the Stavropolsky region, Klukhorsky distr.

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

Remarks. In the Caucasian botanical literature our red-flowered peony was mistaken for P. corallina Retz. (the South-European species) or for P. triternata Pall. growing in the Crimea, for too long. Just recently. Grossheim designated this plant by the name P. kavachensis Aznav. applied to a peony from the Kavachsky region in Turkey (1949, 1950). N. Busch (1901) denied existence of the typical form P. corallina Retz. with peculiar narrow lanceolate leaf-lobes in Caucasus and identified our Caucasian peony with the Crimean peony, considering the latter a subspecies of the Europen species.

N. V. Schipczinsky (1921) separated the Caucasian peony from the Crimean peony, considering the former a variety of the European species P. corallina Retz., and in 1937 he declared it as a self-dependent species named P.-caucasica Schipcz.

In 1946, Stern proclaimed the Caucasian peony to be a synonym of the Crimean P. daurica Andr. Consequently P. corallina Retz. and P. kavachensis Aznaur. were assumed by him to be synonyms of P. mascula Mill. Stern separated them from our peony that was quite correct, but identified the Caucasian peony with the Crimean species, that was a mistake.

Undoubtedly, P. caucasica Schipcz. is closely enough related with the Crimean peony, but from which it differs quite noticeably with the yellowish pubescence of ovaries and fruits, with flesh-colored stigmas, large leaf-lobes which are glaucescent at the lower side only and with more vigorous, high stems. Recognized by the name P. caucasica, our Caucasian red-flowered peony is not homogeneous throughout the area of its propagating. Yet in 1869, Ruprecht from the Borjomi region marked out by the name P. corallina forma coriifolia Rupr. a peculiar form of peony with nearly leather-like lustrous green leaves. In 1948, we have presented 4 varieties, such as var. viridifolia, var. glauca, var. pubescens and var. gigas. The first of them occurred to be identical with the form of Ruprecht, which is defined by us as a self-dependent species (see above P. Ruprechtiana); the second and last varieties are to be joined with the typical form, for which the samples from the West Transcaucasus are recognized, as it was indicated in "Fl. USSR" (1937).

Besides, in result of our researching, we have reached a conclusion that the pink-flowered peony from the Lagodekhsky gorge is a self-dependent species which is submitted below with the name P. lagodechiana Kem.-Nath.

As to the red-blossommed peonies mentioned by old authors and growing in Armenia and Talish, we could not find out anything about them. In "Flora of Armenia" (1954) peonies are not indicated at all, and in "Flora of Azerbaidjan" (1953) only P. tenuifolia L. and P. Mlokosewitschii Lomak. are mentioned, and the latter is mistaken for P. tomentosa (Lomak.) N. Busch.

Some indications in "Armenia rossica" given by Schovits and his herbarium sample preserved in Leningrad pertain to some regions of Georgia, Trialetia or Kartly, probably.

As to the red-blossommed peony, indicated by Stern, as P. mascula Mill. and found in Azerbaydjan, not far from Lenkoran, it remains unclear what it may look like. ("Russia; Azerbaydjan, near Lenkoran, Hohenacker (K)").