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

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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 E-mail:hongdy@ibcas.ac.cn

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"

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