F.C. Stern A Study of the Genus Paeonia
46. P.Veitchii Lynch in Gard. Chron., Ser. 3, 46, 2, fig. i (1909) ; Veitch, Cat. 1913, P.19, cum fig. ; Rev. Hort. 1914, pP.196-197, cum fig. ; Garden, 73, 539, cum fig. (1909) ; Horticulture, Boston, 14, 363, cum fig. (1911) ; Bailey, Stand. Cycl. Hort. 5, 2434 (1916) ; F.C. Stem in Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 68, 130 (1943).Syn. P.Veitchii var. Beresowskii Schipczinsky in Not. Syst. Herb. Hort. Bot. PetroP.2, 46 (1921). P.Veitchii var. purpurea Schipczinsky, I.e.P.anomala L. sec. Maximowicz in Acta Horti PetroP.11, 34 (1890) ; Finet & Gagnepain in Bull. Soc. Bot. France, 51, 527 (1904), et Contrib. Fl. Asie Or. 1, 224 (1905) ; non L.P.Beresowskii Komarov in Not. Syst. Herb. Hort. Bot. PetroP.2,5 (1921) ; Saunders in Nat. Hort. Mag. t. P.214 (1934).
Description. Stem glabrous, 20-50 cm. high. Leaves biternate ; leaflets deeply cut into 2 to 4 segments, which are deeply and incisely lobed or more rarely entire, segments and lobes oblong-elliptic, long-attenuated to the acuminate apex, 5-14 mm. broad, dark green above with minute bristles along the midrib and main nerves, pale to glaucous-green and glabrous below. Flowers usually two or more to a stem, rarely one by abortion of the second flower, 5-9 cm. across. Petals broadly obovate-cuneate, apex truncate or emarginate, 2.5-4.5 cm. long, 1.5-2.8 cm. wide, all shades of magenta. Stamens 1.2-1.7 cm. long, filaments pink, anthers yellow. Carpels 2-4, densely tomentose. Follicles 1.5 cm. long by 1.1 cm. broad, strongly recurved at maturity.
Distribution. china : Kansu, Minchow, 2750 metres, in part, Purdom 719 (K) ; Sin long chan, Licent 4246 (K) ; 33 miles S.E. of Sining, 3050 metres, French Ridley (K) ; T'ao River BasinChoni River, 3050 metres. Rock 12335 (K), valley of Toyuku, 2740 metres, Rock 12829 (K), Kwadjaku valley, Rock 12456 (K) and 13593 (K) ; Tangut, Przewalski (K); sine loc. Potanin (K), Hosie (K). Szechwan, Ta-tsien-lu, Soulie 587 (K), Limpricht 1676 (K), Pratty6 (K), 851 (K), R. Cunningham (E), Henry 8801 (K); Baurong to Tachienlu via Hadjaha, Stevens 195 (K) ; Tongolo, Soulie 587 (K) ; between Hunka and Woloho, 3500 metres, Schneider 1591 (K) (E) ; Sun pan, Beresowsky (L) ; Sungpan Hsien, Fang 4273 (K), 6037 (K) (P); sine loc. 2440-3050 metres. Wilson Veitch Exped. 3034 (K), 5036(K), Wilson Am. Arb. Exped. 3195 (K) (E). Shensi, Tapei Shan. Purdom (K).
P.Veitchii has been compared with P.anomala with which it shares the characteristic hairs along the veins on the upper side of the leaf. It differs however in having several flowers on a stem and in its densely tomentose carpels, though in this character it resembles the var. intermedia. It flowers late, in June, about a month later than P.anomala and its var. intermedia. P.Veitchii is a diploid as is P.anomala.
I have seen a large number of living plants of P.Veitchii and have never seen a plant with only a single flower to a stem. There are a number of single flowered specimens in the Kew Herbarium and other herbaria but in every case when these specimens are closely examined, abortive buds will be found in the axils of the leaves ; these specimens mostly come from the neighbourhood of Tatsienlu, a recognised station for P.Veitchii.
P.Veitchii was introduced from Szechwan by E. H. Wilson in 1907 when he was collecting for Veitch. It was named by Lynch66 (1909) but only a very brief description was made by him. Komarov described this species in 1921 as P.Beresowskii; the Leningrad Herbarium authorities lent Kew the type specimen of Komarov's species which tallied with the specimens of P.Veitchii except [end page 115] that it was a smaller-leaved variety. Although there was only one flower to the stem, a bud of a second flower could be seen in the axil of one of the leaves. Stapf intended to call the single-flowered specimens at the Kew and Edinburgh Herbaria P.rhizomatosa and made a preliminary description in MSS.; but as stated above, all these specimens have abortive buds in the axil of the leaves and come from the same station as P.Veitchii. In the Arnold Arboretum Journal, vol. 14, 1933, Dr. J. F. Rock83 is said to have collected P.Veitchii and P.anomala in the same district in S.W. Kansu in the Tao River Basin. I have not been able to examine these specimens but I have little doubt that they are all P.Veitchii.
P.Veitchii is of the easiest cultivation with no particular idiosyncrasies as to soil or position. The plant appears out of the ground later than any other species, then grows quickly, coming into flower in June. If raised from seed the flowers vary considerably in colour in different shades of magenta. It seeds itself freely in the garden. [end page 116]