Paeonia × chameleon was RE: Maryland update

Jim McKenney
Thu, 01 Mar 2007 09:20:50 PST
Lola mentioned a peony named 'Chameleon'.

Although an IPNI search turned up nothing, one site gives this citation:
Paeonia × chameleon Troitsky (1930) ex Grossg

That name is applied to " Wild hybrid between P. caucasica (P. mascula
triternata) and P. wittmanniana"

Here's the link I saw:…

Several comments: I'm surprised at the spelling chameleon - that's an
Americanism, isn't it? I would have expected chamaeleon. Does anyone know if
the authors of this name are Americans? 

Given the parentage, I am surprised that Lola is experiencing quick
germination. Lola, what exactly is happening? I'll bet a root tip is
emerging from the seed. If so, this seedling is likely to require a cold
period before it will produce foliage. 

The photos given at the site cited (note the dexterous use of
homophones-thank you) above really got me thinking. In one of those
fascinatingly serendipitous coincidences, I just got confirmation that this
fall I will be receiving a long-desired Saunders hybrid peony named
'Athena'. This hybrid bears some resemblance to this Paeonia × chameleon:
both have pinkish white flowers with a strong pinkish-red splash of color at
the base of the petals. At first glance, they look a bit like tree peony

That they look a bit alike is no accident: 'Athena’ was reposted to have
Paeonia macrophylla (wittmanniana) and  P. mlokosewitschii in its ancestry.
P. mlokosewitschii, P. macrophylla, P. wittmanniana and P. caucasica are now
sometimes considered to be forms of P. daurica, so this old hybrid and this
P. × chameleon must share many genetic similarities. 

In any case Lola, if you can flower them they should be lovely – and
incidentally, not interspecific hybrids at all but simply variants of
Paeonia daurica to those who accept that grouping.    

In doing some peony searching lately, I ran across a bit of information
which is new to me (but now I forget where I saw it - my apologies to the
source). If you had asked me recently about peony germination, I would have
said that all germinate hypogeally. Not so: apparently Paeonia tenuifolia
and the North American Paeonia have epigeal germination. 

Life is beautiful – and complex!

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where the glowing red
petioles of Oxalis ‘Garnet’ are the most colorful thing in the protected
cold frame.

My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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