From Mallorca (Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea) comes P. cambessedessii. Although it is sometimes offered by peony nurseries, it is extremely rare in the wild.

“As far as we [Hong, ed.] are aware, the species is growing at a few sites on Mallorca, on a small island, Cabrera, and on Menorca. In 2001, we visited the port of Pollença of Mallorca and found a population with only about 100 individuals near the tunnel. This species is surely one the most endangered peonies.”1

It has different foliage, especially the undersides of the leaves with their purplish colour. The upperside is greyish green. If flowers very early here (somewhere mid-April). It tends to grow extremely slow unfortunately, although this may be because the climate I grow them in is far from the Mediterranean type. After four or five years, when you dig the plant up, you’re usually only ending up with one small rootlet, so propagation isn’t easy for this one, thus growing it from seed is probably the way to go. Frost doesn’t usually kill it, but constant wet feet during Winter might be fatal.

Hong describes it thus:

“Paeonia cambessedessii has three distinct characters:

1) glabrous throughout;
2) leaflets 9 or even fewer in number, never segmented;
3) a large number of carpels, which easily distinguish it from all of its allies.

The species has the smallest number of leaflets in the genus, and the greatest number of carpels in section Paeonia. Another characteristic of this species is the mostly purple colour of the lower side of the leaf.”1

1Hong, De-Yuan. “Peonies of the World. Taxonomy and phytogeography.” Royal Botanic Gardens: Kew, 2010, pp. 151.

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