F.C. Stern A Study of the Genus Paeonia

24. P.Mairei Leveille in Bull. Geogr. Bot. Le Mans. 25, 42 (1915) ; F. C. Stem in Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 68, 128 (1943). Syn. P.bifurcata Schipczinsky in Not. Syst. Herb. Hort. PetroP.1, No. 7, P.3 (1920).

Description. Stem about 50 cm. high, fide Schipczinsky, 60-90 cm., fide Wilson 5035, glabrous. Lower leaves bitemate, sometimes with lateral leaflets bifurcate ; leaflets elliptic or obovate-elliptic, cuneate to long-cuneate at the base, long-acuminate to caudate at the apex, 12-19 cm. long, 3-8 cm. wide, dark green above, paler below, glabrous, of thin papery texture. Flowers 8-n cm. across. Petals rose, obovate to obovate-elliptic, rounded at the apex, 5-7 cm. long, 2-4 cm. broad. Stamens I-5-2 cm. long, filaments red (?), anthers yellow. Carpels 2-2-5 cm. long, conical in the lower part, attenuated upwards to the stigma, densely covered with a silky tomentum of short golden-brown hairs or glabrous.

Distribution. china : Yunnan, lo-chan, 3200 metres, Maire S/igig (E) ; Mo-tsou, 800-890 metres, Maire (E). Szechwan, Tatsienlu, 2900 metres, Wilson Veitch Exped. 5035 (K) ; Tchen-keou-tin, Farges ij66 (K.) (L).

Paeonia Mairei at first glance might be mistaken for P.lactiflora ; it differs from the latter in having a solitary flower instead of more than one to the stem, in the leaves which are larger and which are long acuminate to caudate at the apex and in the leaflets which are glabrous with smooth margins. Further, the carpels are narrowly attenuated to the stigma. In this character of the carpels it is like P.obovata, but it differs from P.obovata in its longer, differently shaped and glabrous leaves. P.Mairei is very closely allied to P.oxypetala, the main distinction being in the petals which are obovate to obovate-elliptic and rounded at the apex, whilst in P.oxypetala they are obovate to obovate-oval with a shortly acute or pointed apex.

In both species some specimens have glabrous and some tomentose carpels ; but in both the tomentum is composed of short golden-brown hairs quite distinct from those seen on any other species of paeony.

It was described by Leveille in 1915 when he was working out the plants collected by Maire in Yunnan. Maire's specimen is in the herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, and has tomentose carpels. Pere Farges collected this species (No. 566) in Szechwan in the district of Tchen-keou-tin, and his specimens are in the Kew Herbarium and at Paris. Some of these have glabrous and some tomentose carpels. One specimen at Paris has huge leaflets measuring 17 cm. long by ii cm. wide. Wilson also found a specimen (No. 3035 (K)) near Tatsienlu in Szechwan which has glabrous carpels.

Leningrad authorities kindly lent the type specimen of Schipczinsky's P.bifurcata which was described from Pere Farges's specimen No. 566. This has enabled a comparison to be made with the type specimen of P.Mairei, and there appears to be no difference between them. P.Mairei) as far as is known, has never been in cultivation. [end page 79]