Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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M.A. Rao

Herbs or undershrubs, perennial, erect or spreading, stout with leafy stems. Leaves alternate, petiolate, bipinnate or 1 - 2 ternately compound with sublobed segments, exstipulate. Flowers usually solitary or sometimes few, panicled, large, 8 - 12 cm across, bisexual, actinomorphic. Sepals 5, free, subfoliaceous, persistent. Petals 5 (-10), larger than sepals, imbricate, variously coloured (white, pink or red). Stamens numerous (40 - 75), spirally arranged, centrifugal; ftlaments elongated; anthers basifixed, 2-loculed, extrorse, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Carpels 1 - 5, free, girdled below by a fleshy disc; style short; stigma sessile, thick, 2-lipped. Fruit a cluster of feathery 2 many seeded follicles. Seeds large, ovoid or subglobose with fleshy copious endosperm, arillate.

Asia, Europe and N. America; one genus and ca 33 species, one species in India.

Notes. Previously treated under Ranunculaceae, Paeonia is regarded as a rather isolated primitive genus of the Ranales (Hutchinson, Evol. & Phyl. Fl. Pl. 477. 1969) and included in a distinct family Paeoniaceae under the Ranunculales. Nakai (in J. Jap. Bot. 24: 8 - 14. 1949) placed it in the order Paeoniales, and this has been accepted by some authors.

Literature. RAD, M. A. (1978) Paeoniaceae. In: Fasc. Fl. India 1: 5 - 8.

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