Peony (Paeonia broteri)
It is an evergreen herbaceous plant with a rhizome instead of a root. The stems are red coloured and can reach up to 80 cm long. The leaves are divided once or twice, in 10 to 30 oval or lanceolate parts (elongated, shaped like a lance tip). They are green and shiny on the beam and without furs on the underside. The flowers, very striking and showy (16 cm diameter) have 5 to 6 purplish-pink petals. The yarns (male reproductive part) are very numerous and have a whitish to yellowish filament, of very intense tones as well. The carpels (the female reproductive part) appear in groups of 1 to 7. The fruits (up to 5 cm long) are grouped in follicles, they are covered in furs and resist with age.
WHERE DOES IT LIVE?
It grows in broad daylight, in cleared forests, although it can also tolerate shade and can appear under the forest canopy. It mainly develops in forests of fall oaks, holm oaks, cork trees and riverbanks woods. This species is indifferent to the kind of substrate, so it can be found both in acid and basic soils, from 100 to 1850 meters above sea level. It requires deep soils, well drained, fresh and somewhat humid soils, so that it is usually associated with the most mature state of woody formations.
HOW DOES IT LIVE?
It is a monoecious species with hermaphrodite flowers (both male and female flowers on a single plant). The flowers are pink, solitary, of a large size and showy. They are very attractive for insects, so that pollination is entomophil, mostly made by bees. It has very primitive features: the numerous and elongated yarns, typical of very ancient species in evolutionary history. It flowers in spring, from April to June. It fruits in summer, from July to September.
WHERE CAN WE SEE IT IN THE MALAGA PROVINCE?
It is a very common species in the Malaga province, and it can be found on a very dispersed way all over the territory, always associated with very developed holm-oaks, gall oaks and cork oaks forests. It is also very represented in the most western part of the province, in the surroundings of Sierra de las Nieves, in the environment of Montejaque and in the Camarolos, El Jobo and San Jorge mountain ranges. On the Great Path, it can be detected on stages 11, 12 and 22 to 26.
In Greeck mythology, Peán-Apollo (the god saving gods) cured Pluton using peony. In some places in Europe, when children were teething, they were given a necklace with peony seeds: not a very prudent tradition because the seeds, although they are very showy, are also very toxic.
It can be confused with the Peonia coriácea. This species grows at 700 m above sea level. Stems and fruits are also differentiated in highest areas where those two species usually coexist. P.broteri has reddish stems and 5 follicles, P.coriacea has whitish stems and only 3 follicles.
Routes where it can be observed
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 11. Alfarnate - Villanueva del Rosario
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 12. Villanueva del Rosario - Archidona
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 22. Ardales - El Burgo
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 23. El Burgo - Ronda
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 24. Ronda - Estación de Benaoján
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 25. Estación de Benaoján - Jimera de Líbar
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 26. Jimera de Líbar - Benalauría