F.C. Stern A Study of the Genus Paeonia

19. P.banatica Rochel, P/.Banat.Rar. 48, t.n(1828) ; Reichenbach, Ic.Fl.Germ. 4,26,t. 125 (1840) ? ; F.C.Stern in Jorn.Roy.Hort.Soc. 68,127 (1943).Syn. P.feminea (L.) Mill. var. banatica (Rochel) Giirke in Richter, PI. EuroP.2, 403 (1903) ; Javorka, Magyar Fl. 350 (1924).P.officinalls L. sec. Kitaibel Add. Fl. Hung. Ed. Kanitz (in Linnaea, 32, 488 : 1863), 184 (1864), non L. P.officinalis var. banatica (Rochel) Ascherson & Graebner, Syn. Mitteleur. Fl. 5, ii, 556 (1923).P.officinalis subvar. banatica (Rochel) Hayek, Prodr. Fl. Penins. Balcan. 1 (in Fedde, ReP.SP.Nov. Beih. 30, i), 298 (1924).P.peregrina Mill. sec. Heuffel in Verh.Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien, 1858, P.49; Neilreich, Aufz. Ungarn and Slav. Gefasspfl. 246 (1866) ; non Mill.P.peregrina var. banatica (Rochel) Kittel, Taschenb. Fl. Deutsch. Ed. 2, P.790 (1844), fide Asch. & Graebn.; Huth in Engl. Bot. Jahrb. 14, 270 (1891).P.rosea Host, Fl. Auslr. 2, 64 (1831), pro parte; Kerner in Verh. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien, 12, 571 (1863); nonJaume St. Hil. (1809).

Description. Stem 35-50 cm. high, glabrous. Lower leaves biternate, but some leaflets (usually of the lateral sets of 3) bifurcate, and sometimes deeply divided in addition, giving in all 12-15 leaflets or segments ; leaflets or segments elliptic to broad elliptic or ovate, apex acute to obtuse, base cuneate or widely cuneate to almost truncate, (4'5)-6-ir5 cm. long, 2-4-5 cm. wide, dark green and glabrous above, glaucous and sparsely villous or glabrous below ; petioles and petiolules glabrous or sparsely villous, but petioles of lower leaves usually glabrous. Flower 8-12 cm. across. Petals obovate-cuneate, rounded at the apex, rose-red. Stamens 14-22 mm. long, filaments red, anthers yellow. Carpels i, 13-16 mm. long, densely tomentose except for the large crimson stigma. Follicles not seen.

Distribution. hungary : Above Bazias, Lindlauer (K), Javorka and Timko (K), Wierabicke (K), Degen (K), Heuffel (K) ; Banat, sine loc. A. F. Lang (K).

Paeonia banatica was described by Rochel in 1828, with a figure which looks like P.arietina. There are specimens at the British Museum and at Kew, which at first might be considered to be P.mascula, since they resemble that species in possessing a lower leaf broadly elliptic, though they are like P.arietina in that the upper leaflets are oblong or narrow elliptic. The underside of the leaves are in some specimens glabrous and in some slightly pilose. It is difficult to say whether this plant may be a variety of P.mascula or of P.arietina since it has some of the characters of both these paeonies. Typical plants of P.mascula are glabrous and those of P.arietina are villous.

This paeony appears to be found only in a small district in the Banat, which is in south-east Europe on the borders of Hungary and Transylvania, a region enclosed by the Danube on the south, the Maros on the north, the Theiss on the west, and the Transylvanian Alps on the east. Nearly all the specimens have been found in the vicinity of the monastery at Bazias, and it may be that this paeony is an escape from the monastery garden at Bazias.

The specimens vary somewhat in the shape of the leaflets and also as regards the underside of the leaves, some being pilose and some glabrous. These variations suggest that the plant might be a hybrid of garden origin, but on the other hand, the specimens in herbaria, which are the only ones available, are sufficiently distinct from both P.mascula and P.arietina as to appear to be worthy of specific rank. [end page 72]