F.C. Stern A Study of the Genus Paeonia

17. P.mascula Miller, Gard. Dict. Ed. 8, no. i (1768) ; Desfontaines, Tabl. Ecole Bot. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris, 126 (1804) ; Jaume St. Hilaire, Ft. and Pom. Franf. 6, t. 502 (1833); G. Beck, Fl. Nied.-Oesterr. 1, 393 (1890) ; Fritsch in Verb. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien, 49, 240 (1899) ; Gürke in Richter, PI. Ew. 2, 400 (1903) ; Hire, Rev. Fl. Croat. 1 (Rod. Jugoslav. Akad. 167, ii6), 445 (1906) ; Moss, Cambr. Brit. Fl. 3, 155, t. i66 (1920) ; F. C. Stern in Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 68, 126 (iQ43).Syn. P.mascula var. flavescens (Presl) Gürke, I.e. (1903). P.corallina Retzius, Obs. Bot. 3, 34 (1783) ; Willd. L. SP.PI. 2, i22i (1800); Sowerby & Smith, Engl. Bot. 22, t. 1513 (1806) ; Alton, Hort. Kew. Ed. 2, 3, 315 (1811) ; DC. Fl. France, 6, (5) 643 (1815) ; DC. Syst. 1, 388 (1817) ; Anderson in Trans. Linn. Soc. London, 12, 268 (1818) ; Smith in Rees, Cycl. 4 (1819) ; DC. Prodr. 1, 65 (1824) ; Reichenbach, Fl. Germ. Excur. 752 (1832), et Ic. Fl. Germ. 4, t. 128 (1840) ; Bertoloni, Fl. Ital. 5, 395 (1842) ; Koch, Syn. Fl. Germ. Helv. Ed. 2, P.28 (1843) ; Pouzolz, Fl. Gard. 1, 32 (1856) ; Boreau, Fl. Centre France, Ed. 3, 2, 27 (1857) ; Syme, Engl. Bot. 1, 68, t. 50 (1863) ; Boissier, Fl. Orient. 1, 97 (1867) ; Cusin & Ansberque, Herb. Fl. Franc. 1, t. 151 (1867); Schlosser & Vukotinovic, Fl. Croatica, 189 (1869); Schlechtendal, Lang & Schenk, Fl. Deutschl. Ed. 5,11,264, t. 1089 (1882); Baker in Gard. Chron., N. Ser. 22,9 (1884); Baillon, Ic. Fl. France, 3, t. 262 (1885-94) ; Thorny, Fl. Deutschl. 2, 125, t. 256 (1886) ; Lynch in Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 12, 436 (1890) ; Hallier, Koch's Syn. Deutschen and Schweizer Fl. Ed. 3, 57 (1890) ; Fritsch in Verh. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien, 44, 136 (1894), et Excursion/!. Oesterr. 212 (1897) ; Pospichal, Fl. Oesterr. Küstenl. 2, in (1898); Halacsy, ConsP.Fl. Grace. 1, 35 (1901) ; Hayek, Fl. Steierm. 1, 434 (1908) ; Hegi, ///. Fl. Mitt. Eur. 3, 454, c. fig. (1909) ; Bonnier, Fl. Compl. France, Suisse,Belg. 1, 40, t. 22 (1911) ; Vollmann, Fl. Bayern. 261 (1914) ; Hayek, Prodr. Fl. Penins. Balcan. 1 (in Fedde, ReP.SP.Nov. Beih. 30, i), 297 (1924); Mansfeld in Fedde, ReP.SP.Nov. 47, 274 (i939). P.corallina var. corallina (Retz.) Cosson, ComP.Fl. Atlant. 2, 52 (i886).P.corallina var. flavescens (Presl) Gussone, Fl. Sic. Syn. 2, i, 26 (1843) ; Lojocono Pojero, Fl. Simla. 1, i, 53 (i888).P.corallina var. typica Huth in Engl. Bot. Jahrb. 14,267 (1891); Ascherson & Graebner, Syn. Mittelleur. Fl. 5, ii, 550(i923). P.corallina f. corallina (Retz.) Rouy & Foucaud, Fl. France, 1, 144 (1893).P.Integra Murray in Comm. Soc. Sc. Getting. 7, 92 (1786). P.kavachensis Aznavour in Magyar Bot. Lapok, 16, 7 (1917).P.mas [Garsault, Fig. PI. Anim. Med. t. 435 (1764), et DescriP.PI. Anim. 3, 259, t. 435A (1767)] Thellung in Bull. Herb. Boiss., Ser. 2, 8, 902 (1908)P.officinalis L.; John Miller, ///. Sex. Syst. L. t. 47 (1777); Plenck, Ic. PI. Med. 5, 45, t. 432 (1792); non L. emend. Willd.P.officinalis fi mascula L. SP.PI. 1, 530 (1753) ; Fiori, Nuovo Fl. Anal. Ital. 1, 670 (1924). P.officinalis subsp. corallina var. mascula (L.) Fiori & Paoletti, Fl. Anal. Ital. 1, 527 (1898).

Description. Stem glabrous, 60-90 cm. high. Lower leaves biternate, but sometimes with one or more leaflets bifurcate or trifurcate ; leaflets broad elliptic, acute, cunate at the base, dark green above, glaucous below, glabrous, or rarely with a few weak hairs on the back. Flowers 9-14 cm. across. Petals obovate, red-rose. Stamens 1.5-2 cm. long, filaments red, anthers yellow. Carpels 3-5, densely pubescent. Follicles 2'5-4 cm. long.




Distribution. Centre of France, South-eastern Germany, Trieste, Steep Hoime Island, Cyprus, Sicily, Armenia, and Syria. england : Cult. orig. Steep Hoime, dark (K). france : Loir et Cher, Pare des Mantils, Franchet (K) ; Les Mantils, near Blois, Mathonnet 3JSa (K). Sienne, Pindray, near Montmorillon, Chahoisseau 6y>a (K). Cote d'Or, Savigny, Dures (K, P) ; Bois de Bouilland, near Chaumes, Chevignon (K) ; near Darois, Herb. Bonnet (K) ; Divione, Lorey (K) ; Bois d'Etaule, Combe Royat, Laguesse (K). germany : Reichenhall, Blielrohkofer (K), Hinterhuber (K). italy : Florence, Camel (K), Istria, Mt. Spaccato, Brumati (K) ; Mt. Maggiore, Bentham jij (K). cyprus : Sintenis & Rigo 854 (K, P) ; Cult. orig. Cyprus, F. C. Stern (K). russia : Azerbaidjan, near Lenkoran, Hohenacker (K) ; Russian Armenia, Szovitz (K).[end page 67]

Paeonia mascula is the well-known paeony, famous among the ancient writers as the male paeony, and has been known for a long time by botanists and by gardeners as P.corallina. This name under the Rules of Nomenclature must be superseded by Miller's name of P.mascula ; a full history of the nomenclature of this paeony will be found on page 126. It is a pity that a name so well known as P.corallina has to be dropped.

P.mascula has distinct leaflets, which are usually nine in number on a fully developed lower leaf; the terminal leaflets sometimes bifurcate, making as many as 13 segments in all. The segments are glaucous and glabrous beneath and the carpels are densely pubescent with white hairs. P.arietina possesses a larger number of segments, usually 12 to 15 on a lower leaf, which are villose below. The leaflets of P.mascula are broadly elliptic, while the leaflets of P.arietina are oblong or narrowly elliptic. Both P.mascula and P.arietina are tetraploids. There is also a glabrous form of P.arietina, the differences of which are discussed later.

A form of P.mascula, found around Vastan, in the district of Kavache in the vilayet of Van, Armenia,was described by Aznavour (1917) as P.kavachensis. There is little doubt from his description that this plant is the typical P.mascula. It is interesting to note that it was found in the vicinity of a monastery in this district.

A paeony growing in Sicily somewhat like P.mascula but with a few weak hairs on the back of the leaves was named by Presl" (1822) P.flavescens. There is some uncertainty about this plant which was said to have pale yellow petals. P.Russi is also found in Sicily but differs from P.flavescens by possessing ovate leaflets, which are more densely hairy below.

It is curious how several paeonies found on the islands of the Mediterranean are not quite typical of their species—for instance, the form of P.mascula in Sicily looks very like P.Russi when examined as dried specimens, though possibly if a living plant were examined there would be little difficulty in distinguishing it. Again the paeonies from Cyprus here named P.arietina var. orientalis, suggest that they may be hybrids between P.mascula and P.arietina.

P.mascula is indigenous to the centre of France in the Departments of Loir et Cher and Cote d'Or, and also near Reichenhall in south-east Germany. There are also a number of outlying stations where it is found wild. It is found on the island of Steep Hoime in the Bristol Channel, in Cyprus and Sicily, and also in such outlying stations as Syria and northern Armenia. In all these places there may have been monasteries in the past, and it is possible these plants are descended from plants grown in the monastery gardens for the medicinal properties credited to paeonies in the old herbals. Steep Hoime Island is the only place where the paeony is (or was) found apparently wild in the British Isles. According to the Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological Society (1916) a Priory of St. Michael formerly existed on the island, founded by a member of the Berkeley family in the 12th century and occupied by a community of Austin friars. The paeonies are growing on a cliff just below where the Monastery formerly stood. [end page 68] There are old records of this paeony being found in the woods near Winchcombe, in Gloucestershire. Winchcombe is a very old town and was the capital of Mercia ; a monastery was founded there in the 8th century, and as the monks came from Tours, which is near the Department of Loir et Cher, they may well have brought this paeony with them. No paeony has been found in these woods of recent years.

P.mascula is not found in gardens as often as it should be, for it makes a good garden plant; the red rose flowers making an admirable contrast to the dark green foliage. It grows well in any position in the garden, but the flowers last longer when it is grown in half shade. [end page 69]