Paeonia veitchii1

Herbs perennial. Tap roots up to 60 cm long, thickened, carrot-shaped, attenuate downwards, up to 2 cm in diameter, lateral roots, if present, also carrot-shaped, neither tuberous, nor fusiform. Stems single or 2 -3-cespitose, simple, mostly 25 – 59 cm, rarely up to 70 cm tall. Lower leaves biternate, with leaflets 9 and segments 70 – 100 in number; leaflets often decurrent, finely segmented; segments 1.5 – 10 cm long, 0.3 – 2 cm wide, with bristles along veins above, glabrous beneath. Flowers usually 2 – 4 on a stem, forming a cyme, less frequently solitary but with one or two undeveloped flower buds, rarely simply solitary; involucrate bracts 1 – 3  in number, leaf-like; sepals 3 – 5  in number, mostly caudate at apex, rarely one or occasionally two non-caudate, glabrous, very rarely hispidulous on abaxial surface; petals rose, pale red, red, less frequently white, 6 – 9 in number, obovate, entire or incised at apex, 4 – 5 cm long, 3 – 4 cm wide; disk waved, ca. 1.5 mm high; carpels mostly 3 or 2, rarely 4 or 1 in number, densely tomentose, rarely sparsely hairy or glabrous; ovules 12 – 16 in number per carpel; styles absent or less than 0.5 mm long; stigmas red, 2 mm wide. Follicles columnar, 1.5 – 3 cm long, 1 – 1.5 cm wide. Seeds ovoid or ovoid-spherical, black 6 – 7 mm long, 4 – 5 mm wide.

Phenology. Flowering from late April to early June; fruiting in August and September.

Chromosome number. 2n=10 (diploid)

Habitats and distribution. Relatively moist places : forests, edges of forests, rarely in bushes or meadows; from 1,800 to 3,870 m alt. A few collections recorded from the localities with limestones, granites and sandstones as the medium. Widely distributed in China: SE & C Gansu, E. Qinghai, S Ningxia, Shaanxi (Qinling Range), Shanxi, W Sichuan, Tibet (Eastern extreme) and NE Yunnan.

  1. Hong, De-Yuan. “Peonies of the world. Part III: Phylogeny and evolution.” Kew Publishing: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2021, pp. 227-228.[]

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