The Delavay Group

COMPARED to the long history of the Moutan peony, the yellow and ma­roon species and botanical varieties of the Delavay Group are of comparatively recent discovery and introduction. The two first known, Paeonia lutea and P. delavayi, were discovered in China by the French Jesuit, Father Jean Marie Delavay. He sent them to Paris in the late 1880's, and they bloomed in the early nineties.

They were first described as distinct species by the French botanist, Fran-chet. Later botanists considered P. lutea to be merely a botanical var­iety of P. delavayi. Rehder, in his Manual of Cultivated Trees and Shrubs, felt that the differences were sufficient for each to be regarded as a species. Similar differences of opin­ion greeted later discoveries by the botanist, Potanin, and the great ex­plorer, George Forrest. Potanin's plant, which had maroon flowers, was regarded by the Kew botanist, Stapf, as a species, and named by him in an unpublished manuscript P. angustiloba. Rehder and Wilson promptly (in 1913) reduced this to P. delavayi variety angustiloba, and a few plants got into the trade under that name. The Russian botanist, Komarov. in