01215 Paeonia ludlowii (Stern & Taylor) Hong

Novon 7(2):156-161,1997

type: [herbaceous peony] – [species]





original description of Hong:


Originalbeschreibung von Hong:


Paeonia ludlowii (Stern & Taylor) Hong, stat. nov. Basionym: Paeonia lutea Delavay ex Franchet var. ludlowii Stern & Taylor, J. Roy. Hort. Soc. 76: 217. 1951. TYPE: China. SE Tibet [Kongbo Prov., Miling, Tsangpo Valley], Ludlow, Sherriff & Taylor 4540 (holotype, BM).

Deciduous and caespitose shrubs, up to 3.5 m tall. Roots attenuate downward, not fusiform. Stems gray, up to 4 cm diam. Leaves biternate, glabrous on both sides, green above, pale glaucous beneath; petiole 9--15 cm long; leaflets 9, leaf blade 12--30 ´ 14--30 cm, lateral 3 leaflets on each side with main petiolules 2--3 cm long, terminal 3 leaflets with main petiolules 5--9 cm long; leaflets nearly sessile, 6--12 ´ 5--13 cm, usually 3-segmented nearly to base; segments 4--9 ´ 1.5--4 cm, mostly 3-lobed to middle; lobes 2--5 ´ 0.5--1.5 cm, entire or with 1 or 2 teeth, segments, lobes, and teeth all acuminate at apex. Flowers 3 or 4 on each shoot, axillary, 10--12 cm across; pedicels slightly curved, 5--9 cm long; bracts 4 or 5 and sepals 3 or 4, grade into one another; petals pure yellow, spreading, obovate, rounded at apex, 5--5.5 ´ 2.5--3.5 cm; filaments yellow, 1.1--1.5 cm long, anthers ca. 4 mm long; disc only 1 mm high, yellow, dentate; carpels mostly single, very rarely 2, glabrous; stigmas yellow. Follicles cylindrical, 4.7--7 ´ 2--3.3 cm. Seeds rounded, dark brown, ca. 1.3 cm diam. Flowering late May to early June.

In their description of Paeonia lutea var. ludlowii, Stern and Taylor (1951, 1953) indicated that the taxon is distinctly different from variety lutea and distinguished it by its long, commonly unbranched stems to 8 feet (vs. to 5 feet in var. lutea), larger and more open flowers, and up to 2 carpels twice as large as those of variety lutea. Upon the examination of plants in five populations in Mailing and Nyingchi counties, as well as five populations of variety lutea (= P. delavayi), these differences have been confirmed. As shown in Figures 1 and 2, plants of P. ludlowii are tall, caespitose, and with larger, pure yellow flowers, yellow filaments, acuminate leaf segments and lobes, and mostly one carpel per flower (more than 97% of the flowers examined have a single carpel and less than 3% have two). Furthermore, P. ludlowii produces very large follicles that contain the largest seeds in the genus. In contrast, plants of P. delavayi are not caespitose and have much shorter stems, acute leaf lobes and segments, more or less pendulous and smaller flowers on curved pedicels, yellow petals nearly always red-blotched at base, purple-red filaments, and 3 or 4 (rarely 2) much smaller carpels. These differences clearly support the recognition of variety ludlowii as a distinct species.

Paeonia ludlowii is a narrow endemic of SE Xizang, where it grows in sparse forests, woods, and thickets in Nyingchi, Mailing, and Lhunze counties at 92.4°--94.8°E and 28.4°--29.9°N. All five populations studied were small in size, and the largest was about 200 m in diameter. Except for the Quenima Village population (Hong et al. H96020), which had only four individuals, the other populations consisted of rather dense individuals, and the species was a dominant element in the community. Two factors may explain the small population size with a large number of individuals. First, this species has a high seed-set, and its seeds appear to have a high germination rate. Nearly 100 seedlings were found in an area of a square meter under a large individual in the Nanyigou population (Hong et al. H96030). Second, the seeds of P. ludlowii are large (ca. 1.3 cm diam.) and are not adapted to long-distance dispersal; perhaps they are mostly moved by rats. The species is obligately sexual, and no vegetatively produced individuals or plantlets have been found in any of the populations. More than 20 small plantlets were dug out, and all were found to be seedlings, a sharp contrast to P. delavayi, which also reproduces vegetatively.

Paeonia ludlowii is a tall shrub that often forms large and dense clumps with dozens of stems. A single individual may have up to 105 flowers (Fig. 2). The species is also a medicinal plant dug out by the local people for its root bark. In three of the five populations studied (Hong et al. H96007, H96014, H96030), hundreds of individuals were dug out by people from Gansu and Qinghai provinces (Fig. 2). This causes a serious threat to the survival of this species. Effective measures must be taken to conserve this beautiful flower.

Paeonia ludlowii is diploid with 2n = 10. The meiotic chromosome count, reported here for the first time, is based on Hong, Luo & Zhang H96007 (PE).

Specimens examined.


SE Xizang: Mailing County: Gangga, 4 km E of Gangga Bridge, 29.3°N, 94.4°E, 2900 m, Hong, Luo & Zhang H96005 (GH/A, K, MO, PE, S); Zhare Township, Caimu Village, N of Yarlung Zangbo (River), 29.2°N, 94.3°E, 2980 m, Hong, Luo & Zhang H96007 (GH/A, K, MO, PE, S); between Gangga and Mailing, S of Yarlung Zangbo (River), 29.2°N, 94.2°E, 3000 m, Hong, Luo & Zhang H96014 (GH/A, K, MO, PE, S), Zheng 22 (Herb. Xizang Plateau Inst. Ecol. Bayi); Nanyi Township, Nanyigou (Valley), 29.2°N, 94.1°E, 2950 m, Hong, Luo & Zhang H96030 (GH/A, K, MO, PE, S), 3300 m, Zheng 673 (Herb. Xizang Plateau Inst. Ecol. Bayi); Regagou, 2870 m, Xizang Inst. Ecol. 186 (Herb. Xizang Plateau Inst. Ecol. Bayi); Lhunze County: Qayu, Zuanbadala, 3450 m, Qinghai- Xizang Expedition 750450 (PE, KUN); Nyingchi County: Bayizhen, Juemugou, 2950 m, Yao, Tang, Zheng & Pan 1005 (Herb. Xizang Plateau Inst. Ecol. Bayi), 3000 m, Zheng 19 (Herb. Xizang Plateau Inst. Ecol. Bayi); Dongjug Township, Quenima Village, 29.9°N, 94.8°E, 3100 m, Hong, Luo & Zhang H96020 (GH/A, K, MO, PE, S).


HONG De-Yuan & PAN Kai-Yu Taxonomical history and revision of Paeonia sect. Moutan (Paeoniaceae) Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica 37(4):351-368(1999)

April 2001

02. June 2000

01. Sept. 2000 1.80x 1.60m

Nov. 2000

ripe fruits/reife Früchte


in the Park of Woerlitz:

Diese Seite ist Teil der Website www.paeon.de

1) plant Tag der Pflanzung/date of planting: May 1997
geliefert durch / delivered by: a nursery in South England, besides the street between Wakehurst Place and Sissinghurst, or ... it was a large pot with 2 shoots, and the price was only £4.25. And what a fine plant developed from this!! In 2000 it is still unbloomed, but in 2000 it developed 17 stems with a size of 1.80 m high x 1.60 m broad. Generation nach der Natur: ??
2) seeds No. 101 from Fam. Hötzel, Berlin, sown Sept. 1999

3) seeds from JJ Halda sown Oct. 2000