Alpine Garden Society          

Ulster Group        


       Plant of the Month - April 2014
                                                         Paeonia broeteroi - by Joan McCaughey
Paeonia  broteroi is found growing in the wild in the Iberian peninsula and while I have seen plants growing at El Torcal in Southern Spain, last week I saw it for the first time in flower in the Algarve in Portugal. It is found among scrub on rocky mountainsides and in woodlands  and is becoming rarer due to both agricultural and tourist expansion.

The plant is around 45cms. tall and the flowers are single, deep rose pink with a golden centre and fresh blue-green leaves. It is probably related to P. mascula and P. clusii - the difference being in the number of basal leaves and the different growing areas.

In medieval times paeonias were used in herbal treatments, appropriate as they are named after Paeon or Paean, a pupil of Asclepius, the god of medicine.



While I enjoy growing species paeonias and find them relatively easy from seed and quite hardy, so far I have never grown P. broteroi, but after seeing it in the wild I imagine it should be possible provided it was given a sheltered site.
It is a lovely plant and well worth seeking out in the wild if you happen to take a holiday from March to May to escape to the Iberian sun.