F.C. Stern A Study of the Genus Paeonia
13. P.Cambessedesii (Willk.) Willkomm in Willkomm & Lange, Prodr. Fl. HisP.3, 976 (1880), in obs., et 3, Fl. HisP.1, io4, t. 65A (1881-85) ; Rodriquez, Fl. Minorca, 4 (1904) ; Bot. Mag. t. 8161 (1907) ; Bailey, Stand. Cycl. Hart. 5, 2435 (1916); F. C. Stem in Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 56, 74 (1931) ; F. C. Stern in ibid. 68, ia6 (1943).Syn. P.corallina Retz. sec. Amor y Mora, Fl. Fanerog. Penis. Iber. 6, 745 (1873), non Retz. corallina var. Cambessedesii Willkomm in Oesterr. Bot. Zeit. 25, 113 (1875), et in Linnaea, 40, 133 (1876); Barcelo, Fl. Balear. 18 (1879); Huth in Engler, Bot. Jahrb. 14, 267 (1891).P.corallina var. fructibus glabrls Cambessedes, Enum. PI. Balear. 33 (1827) ; Costa, Fl. Catal. 9 (1864) ; Rodriques, Cat. Raz. PI. Vase. Minorca, 2, loo (1865-68) ; Mares & Vigineix, Cat. Rais. PI. Vase. Balear. 12 (1880).P.corallina f. leiocarpa Coss. sec. Knoche, Fl. Balear. 1, 475-6 (1921), non P.corallina var. leiocarpa Goes.
Description. Stem glabrous, 30-45 cm. high. Leaves coriaceous, regularly disposed along the stem, decreasing in size towards the apex, 7-5-25 cm. long; lower leaves bitemate. Petiole up to 10-5 cm. long. Leaflets entire, from lanceolate to ovate, sometimes elliptic, apex subacute to acute, 4-10 cm. long, by 2-5 cm. wide, dark green and glabrous above, with nerves impressed, purple or pale green flushed with purple, and glabrous and with nerves raised below. Flowers 6-10 cm. across. Petals broadly obovate, deep rose. Stamens 1-1.7 cm. long, filaments red, anthers 3-4-5 mm. long, yellow. Carpels 5-8, glabrous, purple. Follicles 6 cm. long.
Distribution. balearic islands : Majorca, Puerti Pollenza, Edmonds ss8 (K) ; Las Basas between Audrailx and Estelleuch, 300 metres, Martindale 146 (K); Puig Major, Porta and Rigo (K), Bourgeau (K) ; sine loc. Cambessedes (K), Leighton (K).
Paeonia Cambessedesii is included in the Russi group because of the number and shape of the leaflets which are lanceolate to ovate with the apex sub-acute to acute. It differs from the other paeonies in this group in being glabrous, in possessing larger and coriaceous leaflets, in the deep purple colour of the back of the leaves, and in the greater number of the carpels which are deep purple. It is a diploid while P.Russi var. Reverchoni and P.Russi var. leiocarpa are tetraploids.
P.Cambessedesii flowers at the end of April or the beginning of May ; P.Russi var. leiocarpa at the end of May and P.Russi var. Reverchoni at the beginning of June in English gardens. It was introduced into cultivation in 1896 from the Island of Majorca by Miss Geoghegan, of Dublin. It is becoming scarce in the Balearic Islands and is said to be found now only in the more inaccessible places.
P.Cambessedesii is one of the most delightful of all paeonies for the garden and is the earliest to flower. The flowers are a beautiful shade of deep pink and the whole plant is charming with deep green leaves, purple underneath, set off by the red petioles and stem. It is not always hardy in England, though plants raised from seed seem hardier than those imported. It does best when planted among shrubs where the early sun does not reach it, or against a wall. [end page 62]