A number of my various species are all rushing into bloom together here; I'll try to keep them in some semblance of the order of bloom, but won't be able to post them all on the date of their actual bloom commencement. Today's subject actually first opened 2 days ago.
Named after a village in Lebanon, Paeonia kesrouanensis is considered a subspecies of P mascula by some botanists, so if you thought it looked familiar you are right. Thus, syononym Paeonia mascula subsp kesrouanensis; and also P turcica which is another clue to part of it's limited range... .
This second flower close-up is of the plant in the woods bed, a bit paler and with a 2-tone thing going on.
My plants of this species are grown from seed collected from plants in cultivation and thus may not be true to name, although there is not much variation between them. Mine are more vigorous in the partially shaded bed near the house than they are in the woods bed, one plant being 7 flowering stems already, as compared to 1 to 3 on most of the other species plants of the same age. Unusually, they are flowering simultaneously in both areas.
Kesrouanensis is native to Asia Minor, ranging from Turkey to Syria, growing in forest, scrub, and rocky slopes (notably limestone which would indicate a preference for a higher pH of soil than it gets here!) It's reportedly uncommon in cultivation, but has proven easy and adaptable here so far.
The large bud of P ruprechtiana has opened, and what a massive flower it is! Well worth the wait. Packed with anthers and pollen, it has wasted no time in collecting a line of pollen all along the stigmas.
The plant grouping this one belongs to is curious in one respect. In the woodland bed the peonies are planted in pairs, with one of each on the southerly side of the strip bed, and the other on the northerly side. In all cases except ruprechtiana the more southerly plant is larger and more vigorous than the northerly one of the pair which it shades somewhat. This indicates to me that this species seems to prefer even more shade -- or that there's something going on in a little pocket of lucky soil.