F.C. Stern A Study of the Genus Paeonia

47. P.Veitchii Lynch var. Woodwardii (Stapf& Cox), F. C. Stern var. nov. in Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 68, 130 (1943).Syn. P.Woodwardii Stapf (in MS. in Kew Herbarium) ex Cox, PI. Introd. Farrer, 43 (1930) ; F. C. Stem in Jown. Roy. Hort. Soc. 76 (1931) ; Saunders in Nat. Hort. Mag. 13, tab. P.233 (1934).

Description. Differs from P.Veitchii in its smaller stature, not much exceeding 30 cm. high, and in its leaves which have longer bristly hairs on the midrib and nerves above, prominently long-bristly on nerves and midrib below ; the petioles and petiolules are also markedly bristly.

Distribution. western china : Kansu, Minchow, in part, Purdom 719 (K) ; Sin long chan, Licent 4088 (K). Szechwan, Pingwu Hsien, Lungan Fu, Fang 4217 (K) (P).

P.Veitchii var. Woodwardii differs from P.Veitchii by its dwarf habit, growing only about 1 ft. high, and by the increased hairiness on the edge and back of the leaves, petiole and stem. These characters appear constant when plants are grown from seed. Like P.Veitchii it is a diploid.

Stapf described this plant as a new species under the name of P.Woodwardii; a full description was found among his papers after his death but as he had felt some doubt about it, it had never been published. He had originally intended to name it ' rosaeflora' but Mr. H. J. Elwes suggested that it should be called after the late Mr. Robert Woodward of Arley Castle, who first raised the plant from seed. Mr. Woodward was killed in action in 1915.

The differences between this paeony and P.Veitchii do not appear to me to be sufficiently great to raise it to specific rank, rather it seems to be only a variety of P.Veitchii and I suggest it should be known as P.Veitchii var. Woodwardii.

This charming pink paeony was found by Captain George Fenwick-Owen in 1912 at about 9000-10,000 ft., near Choni in Kansu, growing in open Yak grazing country. He collected seed from a plant growing in a tub at the Lamaserie at Choni. This seed is the origin of the plants now in cultivation.

It is a delightful garden plant and easy to grow in any soil or situation. The flower is rose-pink and there are several flowers on a stem. It comes late out of the ground and grows quickly in the same way as P.Veitchii, coming into bloom in June. In my experience it comes true from seed with no variation in the colour of the flower if kept apart from P.Veitchii, but it is likely to cross with it if these two paeonies are grown near each other. Mr. Chad Woodward of Arley Cottage, Bewdley, writes in 1939 about this plant, " I grew about 350 from seed, and one of these had a white tuber instead of the usual reddish-brown. Its leaves came green from the start with no bronze colouring, and the stalks clear green ; and now it has pure white flowers."

A paeony was collected by Farrer in Kansu under his number 554, a low growing plant about 1 ft. high with fiery magenta flowers. This plant was lost in my garden and there is, as far as I know, no dried specimen. It might also have been a form of P.Veitchii var. Woodwardii. [end page 117]