N. Özhatay1, E. Özhatay2

A New White Paeonia L. from north-western Turkey: P. mascula Miller Subsp. bodurii. N.Özhatay

The Karaca Arboretum Magazine (1995) vol.3 p.17-26


1 Istanbul Universitesi. Eczacilik Fakültesi, Farmasotik Botanik Anabilim Dali, Beyazit. 34452 Istanbul. TURKEY.2 Marmara Oniversitesi, Egitim Fakultesi. Biyoloji Bolumu, Göztepe. Istanbul. TURKEY.






Map 1


fig. 4


fig. 5


Özhatay, N., Özhatay, E., (1995). A new white Paeonia L. from NW Turkey: P. mascula Miller subsp. bodurii N. Özhatay. The Karaca Arboretum Magazine, vol. 3: 17-26. In English: Turkish abstract and summary.

A new subspecies of P. mascula Miller s.l. (Paeoniaceae) from North-western Anatolia is described, its illustration and karyotype are given. Also, other wild taxa occuring in Turkey are listed with their Turkish distribution.

Paeonia L. (Paeoniaceae) is a genus with nearly 30 species in the Northern Hemisphere, divided into 3 sections: Paeonia (Balkans. Spain-eastwards to China & Japan. NW Africa and Kola Peninsula); Moutan DC. (eastern Asia); Onaepia Lindl. (N. America).

A ring of golden stamens encircles crimson tipped, white lanate carpel and enhance the beauty of their broad upcurved or outspreading deep or bright red, purplish, white or yellowish petals. A number of species and hybrids are widely cultivated for ornament. The most spectacular Balkan species is P. peregrina (fig.1). sold by street florists in Istanbul, and well known in European gardens where it has been esteemed for nearly four centuries. It was introduced into Austrian gardens by way of Istanbul last quarter of the 16th century (Stearn & Davis 1984).

In Europe, the genus is represented by 9 species with 9 subspecies (Jalas & Suominen 1991). All recent studies, in particular on Greek material (D.M.Tzanoudakis, 1977; W.T.Stearn & P.H.Davis 1984), have resulted in some changes in the circumscription of the species and their infraspecific taxonomy.

In Turkey, Paeonia is represented by the following 9 taxa. The list based on recent taxonomic studies and contributions (Dane 1992; Davis et al. 1988) to the Flora of Turkey (Davis & Cullen 1965).

Paeonia in Turkey

(All the wild Turkish peonies are herbaceous)

P. tenuifolia L. (European Turkey) Fig.2

P. mascula Miller s.l. (Map 1)

subsp. mascula

subsp. arietina (Anders.) Cullen & Heywood. Accordingly one of the three subspecies recognized in Flora Europaea (Cullen & Heywood 1964 b) has been omitted as not being present in Europe (Stearn and Davis 1984). It would therefore seem to be endemic to Turkey.

subsp. triternata (Boiss.) Stearn & Davis. Syn. P. daurica Andrews (in Flora of Turkey as P. daurica) treated by W. Stearn & P. H. Davis, Paeonies of Greece, as a subspecies of P. mascula.

subsp. bodurii N.Özhatay subsp. nov. Fig.3-5 Endemic to Turkey. ,

P. peregrina Miller (W & NW Turkey) Fig.1

P. kesrouanensis Thieb. (Amanus) “

P. turcica Davis et Cullen (W & SW Turkey) Endemic to Turkey.

P. wittmanniana Hartwiss. ex Lindl. (NE Turkey)

During our field surveys of Kaz Dagi (B1 ÇANAKKALE/BALIKESIR) and its environs, we have been joined by Dr. Süleyman Bodur, manager of Kalebodur ceramic factory, and nature lover. During one of our trips around their mine production area, a member of staff mentioned the presence of a white peony (vernacular name = beyaz tombak) and brought us the specimens in fruit. It was indeed a Paeonia, but without flowers it was impossible to identify. Next year. Dr. S. Bodur and his worker returned to the area and collected material in flower, confirming the white flower colour. It was quite obvious that it is Paeonia mascula s. l., but this white flowered collection represented the first record for such for the Turkish Flora. P. mascula is a very polymorphic species, and it has a white flowered subspecies, subsp. hellenica, in Greece. We accordingly sent some specimens to Dr. Tzanoudakis, a specialist on Greek Peonies and who formally described subsp. hellenica. We received herbarium specimens as a loan from Patras University Herbarium (UPA). We also visited the area in 1993 and 1994 to observe the vegetation, and habitat of the plant. One of authors of this paper (NÖ visited Kew Herbarium and examined Paeonia specimens, including those of subsp. hellenica. The Turkish white Paeonia specimens exhibit a number of differences, mainly in relation to upper leaf segmentation.

As a consequence of a full study on the specimens, we here describe it as a new subspecies of P. mascula and have named it after S. Bodur, who made the original collection of the taxon.

These studies confirm to us that our Turkish Paeonia species need further detailed study. Accordingly a project has already been initiated in Istanbul University. Faculty of Pharmacy, Dept. of Pharmaceutical Botany to examine the Turkish taxa from cytotaxonomical point of view.

Paeonia mascula Miller subsp. bodurii N. Özhatay subsp. nov. Fig. 3-5

Affinis subsp. hellenica Tzan. sed superus cauline foliis ternate, folii segment omnia simplicia, a subspeciebus mascula, arietina Anders. et triternata (Boiss.) Stearn & Davis floribus albis maioribus differt.

Stem glabrous, purplish, striate. 50-80 cm. Lower leaves biternate with (7-)9(-11) leaflets; leaflets obovate, broadly elliptic or nearly orbicular, shortly acuminate, 9-11 cm long, 5-11 cm broad, terminal leaflets attenuate into a shortly decurrent petiole. Leaves glabrous, greyish-green above, glaucous beneath. Upper cauline leaves ternate, leaflets 6-13 cm long, 6-9 cm broad, shortly acuminate. Flowers 11-12 cm across. Petals 5-7, obovate, white, purplish at the base. Filaments dark purplish, 10-13 mm; anthers pink or yellow. Carpels 3-4. short very dense white tomentose. Fertile seeds dark purplish. Tetraploid. 2n = 20 (ISTE 64073). Flowering time: April-May.

Habitat: Open rocky places, around Miocene-aged andezite (rocks rich in silicates), rock outcrops. Among grazed and ungrazed Quercus pubescens coppice. Altitude: 400-700 m.

Type: NW TURKEY: ------

Other examined specimens: ------

A2(A) Istanbul: Samandra. in nursery, cultivated specimen from type collection, 4 v 1993. A. Baytop, ISTE 65081!

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Apart from herbarium specimens, living material of the new subspecies is represented in the following Istanbul collections: Atatürk Arboretum (Bahçeköy); S. Bodur's private garden (Beylerbeyi); Marmara University Education Faculty, in green house (Göztepe); and A. Atilla's private nursery (Samandra).

P. mascula is a very variable species, the leaves are ternately or pinnately compound. The new subspecies is very closely related Greek subsp. hellenica, but it differs having by the upper leaves are usually ternate, the central and lateral primary segments of the leaves have only 3 (undivided) leaflets. The leaflets are broadly elliptic- obovate, nearly orbicular, shortly acuminate, the terminal leaflets petiolate.


We thank Prof. Tzanoudakis for checking our speciemens and giving us his opinion;

Prof. Phitos. curator of Patras University Herbarium. (UPA) for sending us Herbarium specimens on loan; and to Prof. Lucas, curator of Kew Herbarium (K) for giving herbarium facilities available at Kew. We would like to express our thanks to Çanakkale and Kalebodur Ceramic companies for providing all facilities in Çan. We would also like to thank Mr. A. Byfield for his helpful criticism.


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