Biodiversity Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (7): 781-793.doi: 10.17520/biods.2017129

Previous Article     Next Article

Current status of wild tree peony species with special reference to conservation

De-Yuan Hong1, *(), Shiliang Zhou1, Xingjin He2, Junhui Yuan3, Yanlong Zhang4, Fangyun Cheng5, Xiuli Zeng6, Yan Wang7, Xiuxin Zhang8   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
    2 College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610064
    3 Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden, Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201602
    4 College of Landscape Architecture and Arts, Northwest A & F University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100;
    5 Landscape Architecture School, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083
    6 Institute of Vegetables of Tibet Academy, Agricultural and Animal Husbandry Sciences, Lhasa 850030
    7 Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091
    8 Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081;
  • Online:2017-07-21
  • Hong De-Yuan

The section Moutan DC. of Paeonia L. contains nine wild species of tree peonies and one cultivated species comprising hundreds of cultivars. All wild species are endemic to China, and are highly valuable resources. The China Plant Red Data Book published in 1992 includes 388 conservation units, of which four are tree peonies. The present article briefly reviews the history of field surveys, investigations, and conservation of wild tree peonies, as well as preliminary results, and finally proposes questions and suggestions for future work. The article focuses the biological background of wild tree peonies, their distribution and habitats, and proposes suggestions for endangered ranks and conservation strategies. Based on our survey and incomplete data, we consider that P. ostii and P. cathayana each has only one individual, and thus effective conservation measures should be taken for them immediately; P. rockii, P. qiui, P. decomposita and P. rotundiloba are endangered; P. ludlowii and P. jishanensis are vulnerable, and of the nine wild species of tree peonies, unfortunately, only P. delavayi is classified as a healthy species. We emphasize that if species delimitation is not rational, conservation units are not clearly defined, and ecological and biological information is inadequate, it will be impossible to work out a scientific conservation strategy and practical conservation measures. Lastly, the article appeals to relevant agencies to pay attention to conservation of wild tree peonies, to provide funds for conducting intensive surveys examining the present situation of wild tree peonies, and subsequently to formulate a rational strategy and feasible measures for conserving precious wild tree peonies.

Key words: Paeonia, wild tree peony species, conservation, species delimitation

Fig. 1

Distribution of wild populations of Paeonia decomposita Hand.-Mazz."

Fig. 2

Habitats and fruits of Paeonia decomposita Hand.- Mazz. a, b, Habitats, thickets of sparse forests; c, d, e, Open thickets of edges of forests, where plants have high fecundity."

Fig. 3

Paeonia delavayi Franch. a-d, Habitats; a, Chenggong, Kunming, tall thickets; b, Yunshanping of Lijiang, Yunnan, coniferous forest; c, Bayi Town, Nyingchi, Tibet, open edges of forests; d, Shanggri-la, Yunnan, sparse thickets; e, Fusiform roots and rhizomes; f, Rhizomes (Niri Township of Yajiang, Sichuan); g, A seedling."

Fig. 4

Distribution of wild populations of Paeonia jishanensis T. Hong & W. Z. Zhao"

Fig. 5

Paeonia jishanensis T. Hong & W. Z. Zhao. a, b, c, Habitats, thickets or sparse deciduous broad-leaved forest; d, Vegetative reproduction."

Fig. 6

Paeonia ludlowii (Stern & G. Taylor) D. Y. Hong. a, b, Suitable habitats and illegal digging; c, d, Environment at edges of forest; e, A root like that of common shrub; f, Numerous pedent follicles; g, P. ludlowii in the front of Natural History Museum, London; h, A seed of P. ludlowii in the Royal Botanic Gadens, Kew."

Fig. 7

Distribution of wild populations of Paeonia ludlowii (Stern & G. Taylor) D. Y. Hong"

Fig. 8

Distribution of wild populations of Paeonia ostii T. Hong & J. X. Zhang"

Fig. 9

Paeonia qiui Y. L. Pei & D. Y. Hong. a, b, A population in Mt. Chefengping, Houping Township, Baokang, Hubei; c, d, A population in Bailiu Township, Xunyang, Shaanxi; e, A population in Mt. Shantunyan, Shennongjia, Hubei, showing only one carpel developed; f, The same population as c and d, showing suckering; c, d, f, From Yanlong Zhang’s team."

Fig. 10

Distribution of wild populations of Paeonia qiui Y. L. Pei & D. Y. Hong"

Fig. 11

Distribution of wild populations of Paeonia rockii (S. G. Haw & Lauener) T. Hong & J. J. Li ex D. Y. Hong. Black circles: subsp. rockii; triangles: subsp. atava (Brühl) D. Y. Hong."

Fig. 12

Distribution of wild populations of Paeonia rotundiloba (D. Y. Hong) D. Y. Hong"

1 APG (1998) An ordinal classification for the families of flowering plants. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 85, 531-553.
2 APG II (2003) An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG II. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 141, 399-436.
3 APG III (2009) An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 161, 105-121.
4 APG IV (2016) An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 181, 1-20.
5 Chase MW, Soltis DE, Olmstead RG, Morgan D, Les DH, Mishler BD, Duvall MR, Price RA, Hills HG, Qiu Y-L, Kron KA, Rettig JH, Conti E, Palmer JD, Manhart JR, Sytsma KJ, Michaels HJ, Kress WJ, Karol KG, Clark WD, Hedren M, Gaut BS, Jansen RK, Kim K-J, Wimpee CF, Smith JF, Furnier GR, Strauss SH, Xiang Q-Y, Plunkett GM, Soltis PS, Swensen SM, Williams SE, Gadek PA, Quinn CJ, Eguiarte LE, Golenberg E, Learn GH, Graham SW, Barrett SCH, Dayanandan S, Albert VA (1993) Phylogenetics of seed plants: an analysis of nucleotide sequences from the plastid gene rbcL. Annals of Missouri Botanical Garden, 80, 528-548, 550-580.
6 Cronquist A (1981) An Integrated System of Classification of Flowering Plants. Columbia University Press, New York.
7 Fu LK, Jin JM (1992) China Plant Red Data Book, Vol. 1: Rare and Endangered Plants. Science Press, Beijing. (in English)
[傅立国, 金鉴明 (1991) 中国植物红皮书: 稀有濒危植物(第一册). 科学出版社, 北京.]
8 Haw SG (2001a) Paeonia delavayi, a variable species. The New Plantsman, 8, 251-253.
9 Haw SG (2001b) Tree peonies: a review of their history and taxonomy. The New Plantsman, 8, 156-171.
10 Hong DY (1997a) Notes on Paeonia decomposita Hand. -Mazz. Kew Bulletin, 52, 957-963.
11 Hong DY (1997b) Paeonia (Paeoniaceae) in Xizang (Tibet). Novon, 7, 156-161.
12 Hong DY (2010) Peonies of the World: Taxonomy and Phytogeography, pp. 1-302. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Publishing, Kew & Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
13 Hong DY (2011b) Peonies of the World: Polymorphism and Diversity, pp. 1-96. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Publishing, Kew & Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
14 Hong DY (2011a) Paeonia rotundiloba (D. Y. Hong) D. Y. Hong: a new status in tree peonies (Paeoniaceae). Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 49, 464-467.
15 Hong DY, Pan KY (1999) Taxonomical history and revision of Paeonia sect. Moutan (Paeoniaceae). Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica, 37, 351-368. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[洪德元, 潘开玉 (1999) 芍药属牡丹组的分类历史和分类处理. 植物分类学报, 37, 351-368.]
16 Hong DY, Pan KY (2007) Paeonia cathayana D. Y. Hong & K. Y. Pan, a new tree peony, with revision of P. suffruticosa ssp. yinpingmudan. Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica, 45, 285-288.
17 Hong DY, Pan KY, Yu H (1998) Taxonomy of Paeonia delavayi complex (Paeoniaceae). Annals of Missouri Botanical Garden, 85, 554-564.
18 Jian SG, Soltis PS, Gitzendanner MA, Moore MJ, Li RQ, Hendry TA, Qiu YL, Dhingra A, Bell CD, Soltis DE (2008) Resolving an ancient, rapid radiation in Saxifragales. Systematic Biology, 57, 38-57.
19 Luo YB, Pei YL, Pan KY, Hong DY (1998) A study on pollination biology of Paeonia suffruticosa subsp. spontanea (Paeoniaceae). Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica, 36, 134-144. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[罗毅波, 裴颜龙, 潘开玉, 洪德元 (1998) 矮牡丹(Paeonia suffruticosa subsp. spontanea) (芍药科)的传粉生物学研究. 植物分类学报, 36, 134-144.]
20 Pan KY (1979) Paeonia. In: Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae, Tomus 27 (ed. Delectis Florae Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae Agendae Academicae Sinicae Edita), pp. 37-59. Science Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)
[潘开玉 (1979) 芍药属. 见中国植物志: 毛茛科, 27卷, 37-59页. 科学出版社, 北京.]
21 Stern FC (1931) Peony species. Journal of Royal Horticultural Society, 56, 71-77.
22 Stern FC (1946) A Study of the Genus Paeonia, pp. viii + 155. The Royal Horticultural Society, London.
23 Stern FC, Taylor G (1951) A new peony from S. E. Tibet. Journal of Royal Horticultural Society, 76, 216-217.
24 Takhtajan AL (1987) System of Magnoliophyta. Academy of Sciences USSR, Leningrad.
25 Takhtajan AL (1997) Diversity and Classification of Flowering Plants. Columbia University Press, New York.
26 Yuan T, Wang LY (2003) Morphological studies on Paeonia sect. Moutan subsect Vagiatae in China. Acta Horticulturae Sinica, 30, 189-191. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[袁涛, 王莲英 (2003) 芍药属牡丹组革质花盘亚组的形态学研究. 园艺学报, 30, 189-191.]
27 Zhou SL, Hong DY, Pan KY (1999) Pollination biology of Paeonia jishanensis T. Hong & W. Z. Zhao (Paeoniaceae), with special emphasis on pollen and stigma biology. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 130, 43-52.
28 Zhou SL, Zou XH, Zhou ZQ, Liu J, Xu C, Yu J, Wang Q, Zhang DM, Wang XQ, Ge S, Sang T, Pan KY, Hong DY (2014) Multiple species of wild tree peonies gave rise to the “king of flowers” Paeonia suffruticosa Andrews. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281, 0141687..
[1] Jiang Zhigang. China’s key protected species lists, their criteria and management [J]. Biodiv Sci, 2019, 27(6): 698-703.
[2] Zhang Xiaoling, Li Yichao, Wang Yunyun, Cai Hongyu, Zeng Hui, Wang Zhiheng. Influence of future climate change in suitable habitats of tea in different countries [J]. Biodiv Sci, 2019, 27(6): 595-606.
[3] Mo Zhangqin. Re-legalizing China’s ecological conservation redline: The position, dilemma and path [J]. Biodiv Sci, 2019, 27(3): 347-352.
[4] Zhao Yang,Wen Yuanyuan. Development of Convention on Biological Diversity’s Global Platform for Business & Biodiversity: Policy suggestion for China [J]. Biodiv Sci, 2019, 27(3): 339-346.
[5] Lü Zhongmei. Systematic legislation for nature conservation with national parks as the main body [J]. Biodiv Sci, 2019, 27(2): 128-136.
[6] Xian Yang, Dong Xin, Xie Xiaoman, Wu Dan, Han Biao, Wang Yan. Effect of Conservation Conditions on Restricting Conservation of Acer rubrum cv. ‘Somerset’ [J]. Chin Bull Bot, 2019, 54(1): 64-71.
[7] Wang Yufei,Su Hongqiao,Zhao Xinrui,Su Yang,Luo Min. Conservation easement-inspired adaptive management methods for natural protected areas: A case study on Qianjiangyuan National Park pilot [J]. Biodiv Sci, 2019, 27(1): 88-96.
[8] Dong-Ting ZOU, Qing-Gang WANG, Ao LUO, Zhi-Heng WANG. Species richness patterns and resource plant conservation assessments of Rosaceae in China [J]. Chin J Plant Ecol, 2019, 43(1): 1-15.
[9] Zhiyao Tang, Minwei Jiang, Jian Zhang, Xinyue Zhang. Applications of satellite and air-borne remote sensing in biodiversity research and conservation [J]. Biodiv Sci, 2018, 26(8): 807-818.
[10] Xuehua Liu, Pengfeng Wu, Xiangbo He, Xiangyu Zhao. Application and data mining of infra-red camera in the monitoring of species [J]. Biodiv Sci, 2018, 26(8): 850-861.
[11] Wang Shitong, Wu Hao, Liu Mengting, Zhang Jiaxin, Liu Jianming, Meng Hongjie, Xu Yaozhan, Qiao Xiujuan, Wei Xinzeng, Lu Zhijun, Jiang Mingxi. Community structure and dynamics of a remnant forest dominated by a plant species with extremely small population (Sinojackia huangmeiensis) in central China [J]. Biodiv Sci, 2018, 26(7): 749-759.
[12] Pei Yang,Yanqiong Peng,Ronghua Zhao,Darong Yang. Biological characteristics, threat factors and conservation strategies for the giant honey bee Apis dorsata [J]. Biodiv Sci, 2018, 26(5): 476-485.
[13] Jiaxing Huang,Jiandong An. Species diversity, pollination application and strategy for conservation of the bumblebees of China [J]. Biodiv Sci, 2018, 26(5): 486-497.
[14] Xiangyu Jia,Bin Bai,Jieqing Zhang,Yi Huang. The effects of IPBES deliverables on global biodiversity conservation strategy—an analysis based on the U. S. pollinator protection policy [J]. Biodiv Sci, 2018, 26(5): 527-534.
[15] Yao Zhao,Gengyun Li,Ji Yang. Conservation and utilization of wild relatives of cultivated plants [J]. Biodiv Sci, 2018, 26(4): 414-426.
Full text



[1] HUANG Zhong-Liang, KONG Guo-Hui, WEI Ping. Plant species diversity dynamics in Dinghu Mountain forests[J]. Biodiv Sci, 1998, 06(2): 116 -121 .
[2] Li Jiandong. The 4th Congress of Northeast Grassland Was Held in Changchun City[J]. Chin J Plan Ecolo, 1983, 7(1): 88 .
[3] CUI Ning-Jie, ZHANG Dan-Ju, LIU Yang, ZHANG Jian, YANG Wan-Qin, OU Jiang, ZHANG Jie, SONG Xiao-Yan, and YIN Rui. Plant diversity and seasonal dynamics in forest gaps of varying sizes in Pinus massoniana plantations[J]. Chin J Plan Ecolo, 2014, 38(5): 477 -490 .
[4] CHEN Yu-Fu, DONG Ming. Relative Importance of Clonal and Non-Clonal Plants in the Landscape Dynamics of Mu Us Sandy Land[J]. Chin J Plan Ecolo, 2002, 26(3): 377 -380 .
[5] Tu Weifeng,Zhang Yang,Tang Jie,Tu Yuqin,Xin Jiajia,Ji Hongli,Zhang Nanfeng,Zhang Tao. Comparison of taxonomic morphological characteristics between Rorippa indica and R. dubia[J]. Biodiv Sci, 2019, 27(2): 168 -176 .
[6] Qi GAO,Yan LIU. Aspidistra hezhouensis (Ruscaceae s.l.), a new species from Guangxi, China[J]. J Syst Evol, 2011, 49(5): 506 .
[7] Li Nan. Studies on the Geographic Distribution, Origin and Dispersal of the Family Pinaceae Lindl.[J]. J Syst Evol, 1995, 33(2): 105 -130 .
[8] YANG Qin-Er. Karyomorphology of the genus Oxygraphis Bunge (Ranunculaceae)[J]. J Syst Evol, 2000, 38(4): 350 -354 .
[9] REN An-Zhi, GAO Yu-Bao, GAO Wen-Sheng. Effects of Endophyte Infection on Seed Germination, Seedling Growth and Osmotic Stress Resistance of Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.)[J]. Chin J Plan Ecolo, 2002, 26(4): 420 -426 .
[10] Wu Te-Lin, Chen Zhong-Yi. Pyrgophyllum, a New Genus of Zingiberaceae from China[J]. J Syst Evol, 1989, 27(2): 124 -128 .