F.C. Stern A Study of the Genus Paeonia

16. P.Russi var. leiocarpa (Cosson) F. C. Stern, comb. nov. in Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 68, 126 (1943).Syn. P.corallina Retz.var.Corsica Sieber)Cosson, Compl. Fl.Atlant. 2, 53 (1886) ; Ascherson & Graebner, Syn.Mitteleurop.Fl. 5, ii, 552 (1923), quoad pi. cors. P.corallina var. leiocarpa Cosson, Notes PI. France Crit. Pares Now. fasc. 2, 50 (1850) ; Briquet, Prodr. Fl. Corse, 1, 581 (1910).P.corallina f. Corsica (Sieber) Rouy & Foucaud, Fl. France, 1, 144 (1893).P.Corsica Sieber ex Tausch in Flora, 11, i, 86 (1828) ; Baker in Gard. Chron., N. Ser. 21, 780 (1884) ; Saunders in Nat. Hist. Mag. t. P.216 (1934).P.mascula (L.) Mill. var. Corsica (Sieber) Gürke in Richter, PI. EuroP.401 (1903), pro parte.P.officinalis subsP.corallina var. Corsica (Sieber) Fiori & Paoletti, Fl. Anal. Ital. 1, 527 (1898); Fiori, Novo Fl. Anal. Ital. 1, 690 (1924).

Description. Differs from P.Russi by the glabrous carpels flushed with red, and from P.Russi and var. Reverchoni by the deeper green leaflets with reddish nerves, glabrous to only slightly hairy below. Carpels 3, flushed with red. Follicles a to 2-5 cm. long.







Russi leaf




Distribution. corsica : Monte Cagna, near Porto Vecchio, Sieber (K) ; Col de Fontanilla, Cousturier (K) ; near Bonifacio, 500 metres, Reverchon 218 (K) ; Vizzavone, Forsyth-Major (K) ; Col de Bavello, Ingram, cult. F. C. Stern (K).

P.Russi var. leiocarpa was named by Sieber and described by Tausch [supra) as P.Corsica. It was said to come from Mt. Cagna, near Porto Vecchio. It is also reported in the centre of the island on the Col de Vizzavone and on the Col de Bavello further south, where it was found by Mr. Collingwood Ingram, who introduced it to English gardens. Specimens of this paeony are rare. Tausch's description is not full and he says the fruit is unknown.

Some botanists have considered it to be identical with P.Cambessedesii. P.Cambessedesii has a greater number of carpels which are purple, has larger, coriaceous leaflets, which are glabrous and purple underneath and also lacks the distinct petiolule of the terminal leaflet. Further, P.Cambessedesii flowers in April, and P.Russi var. leiocarpa in May in English gardens. P.Russi var. leiocarpa is a tetraploid and P.Cambessedesii is a diploid.

There has been considerable doubt about the identity of Sieber's P.Corsica, probably for two reasons, that there are few specimens in herbaria and that this paeony has some very definite resemblances to P.Cambessedesii in the leaflets which are larger than those of P.Russi and in the red flush on the back of the leaves, the petioles and carpels. Until it was collected by Mr. Collingwood Ingram and introduced to cultivation, it was not possible to examine living plants and obtain the chromosome numbers. Since P.Cambessedesii turns out to be a diploid, whereas P.Russi var. leiocarpa is a tetraploid, the differentiation of the two species, indicated by their morphology, becomes absolute.

There appears to be no difficulty in the cultivation of this plant in the garden. It is not so attractive as either P.Cambessedesii or P.Russi var. Reverchoni. [end page 66]