Paeonia (Paeoniaceae) in the Caucasus
The taxonomy of the genus Paeonia in the Caucasus has been controversial, with recognized species varying in number from one to 13. The taxonomic history of Paeonia in this area is reviewed (including an analysis of the characters used by previous authors) based on extensive field observations, population sampling and critical examination of a large number of herbarium specimens. The results show that Paeonia may be divided into three groups. The P. intermedia group is known from only a single population. In the P. tenuifolia group, all the characters used for distinguishing the three previously recognized species were found to be polymorphic. In the P. daurica group, petal colour, shape and size of leaflets, and indumentum of leaflets and carpels were used to distinguish nine species, but these characters were found to be polymorphic or continuous in variation, and thus can only be used for infraspecific classification. Thus, three species are recognized: P. intermedia, P. tenuifolia and P. daurica. The last species is further divided into five subspecies: sspp. coriifolia, wittmanniana, mlokosewitschii, macrophylla and tomentosa stat. nov. © 2003 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2003, 143, 135–150.
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