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.

11. Paeonia tenuifolia L.

Linneus Sp. pl. (1763) 748; Ledeb. Fl. Ros. I (1842) 73; Boiss. Fl,. or I (1867) 98; Schmalhausen, Fl. Sr. i Juzn. Rossii, I bvfr(1895) 73; Lipsky, Fl. Cauc. (1899) 213; N. Busch in Fl. Cauc.crit. 3.III.(1901) I; Komarov and Schipczinsky in Fl. USSR, VII (1937) 34. Stern, in Roy. Hort. Soc. (1946). Grossheim, Opred. (1949) 44; Fl. Cauc. IV. (1950) 12; Rzazade in Fl. Azerbaidj. IV (1953) 30.

Perennials. The rhizomes are with oblong, cone-shaped root thickenings upon short pedicels. The stem is simple, 10-15 cm high, densely leaved; leaves are with very narrow nearly filiform 1-2 mm wide pendent lobes. The blossoms are large, 3-5 cm in diameter; petals are dark-red, obovate, rounded at the apex and base; anthers are yellow; filaments are reddish; ovary and juvenile; fruits are with dense red tomentose pubescence. The fruit is short-ovate or oval, slightly spreading aside, with brownish-red pubescence; seeds are brown-black, shining, IV, V.

Habitat. The steppe zone, among shrubbery.

Type. Preserved in London. Original area. Ukraine, the outskirts of Taganrog.

Studied samples. Armavir region (North Caucasus) 8.V. 12.V. 1889, 12.IV.I 1891.!

Nevinomiskaya 15.V. 1889 Lipsky!

Sergievskoe VI. 1893!

Kislovodsk 2.VI.1893!

near Pyatigorsk 15.IV.1897 Akinfiev!

the river Kuban, Radde!

Kuban, Veliaminovskoe 25.IV.1907 N. Busch and V. Klopotov!

Prichernomorye. Near Anapa, IV. 1900, 0. Dekleiz and Y. Voronov!

Novorossiysk, montane meadows above the cement factory, 23.IV.1902 A. Fomin!

Georgia. Kartly. The Gorysky region, the outskirts of the vill. Samtavisi 16.IV.1918 Volochanetsky!

Mikhetsky region near the vill. Tsilkani 6.IV.1958 and 6. VI. 1949 Dumbadze!

Kizik., Schiraki, the Gorge LekisO-Khevi 20.IV.1958 Kakheladze and Gavrilenko!

Azerbaidshan. Karabulakh V. 1902. Schneider from the herbarium of Medvedev!

Geographic type. Pontean. General distribution. The middle Europe, the European part of the USSR, the Middle Dnjepr; Volga-Don, the Crimea, the down stream of Volga.

Remarks. Describing P. tenuifolia L. found in the outskirts of Taganrog, Ukraine, Linneus characterized it as having leaves manifold dissected into narrow, linear lobes. Willdenow added a new character which is the purple hue of ovarie's pubescence and which has been noticed and pointed out at by Pallas just too long ago, in 1773. Afterwards, these characters were ignored by the most of botanists, excepting the authors of "Fl. USSR" only.

Nevertheless, the hue of ovarie's pubescence is a constant quite important taxonomic feature for the genus Paeonia L., being a well distinguishing character for the related species, such as P. tenuifolia L., Biebersteiniana Rupr. , tenuifolia L. and P. carthalinica Ketz.

All these species are very closely related with each other composing one evolutinal series lFissae Kom., which should be named after one of its species, that might have been P. tenuifolia L., but taking into consideration priority demands, we retain the name given by the academician Komarov previously.

As to the distribution of P. tenuifolia in Caucasus, opinions of botanists diverge considerably. Most of them suppose that this species is typical for steppe regions of the North Caucasus, Transcaucasus, including Georgia, Azerbaydjan and Armenia (Grossheim 1930, 1950). In "Fl. USSR" the P. tenuifolia is indicated as growing in Predcavkaskye only. Although the question about what a peony with leaves dissected into narrow lobes and named P. tenuifolia L. from TransCaucasus, according to some old authors (e.g. Boisser, 1867, et al), does just happen to look like, is silenced somehow.

In the first edition of "Fl. Georgia" (1948) we expounded an opinion that in Georgia and Transcaucasus, as a whole, the P. carthalinica ketzch grew instead of the P. tenuifolia L., the both being closely related with each other; nevertheless, new data obtained from collections by researchers from the Institute of Botany (N. Kakheladze, B. Gavrilenko, Kakulia, M. Sakhokia, M. Sokhadze, Kebadze) and from the Botanical Garden (T. Dumbadze, B. Serdyukova), and our own observations made us reject our previous opinion and at present these two species are submitted here in our present work.

As to the presence of P. tenuifolia L. in other republics of Transcaucasus, on a base of data available in "Flora Azerbaydjana" (volume IV, 1953) it may be concluded that this plant may grow in Dzegam, Pirchevan, Nakhichevan. Also, the indications by old authors in concern to P. tenuifolia L. growing in Armenia and which were based on the herbarium materials of Szovitz (herbarium samples with labels "Armenia rossica") and A. A. Grossheim's data "Fl. Cauc." 1950, v. IV), have not been corroborated by recently obtained data by A. L. Takhtadjan. So, in "Fl. Armenia" (v. I. 1954) the genus Paeonia L. is not mentioned at all.