Another beauty (well, they all are according to me), Paeonia ruprechtiana (synonyms P daurica subsp daurica and about a dozen other names) is very similar to P mascula. However the single most differentiating difference is that it's seeds are globular, according to JJ Halda. To me there is a difference in quality of the leaf (please don't ask me to explain just what! and I'm not saying it is better or worse, just different) and the pollen sacs of the anthers are reddish here as opposed to yellow on P mascula, although Halda indicates that even the anther filament colour is not uniform through the range of the species.
Please keep in mind that I'm using the name on the label the seed arrived with. Distinctions between some of these very similar species and subsp are often beyond my ability effectively to apply the botanical descriptions of the books to the actual plant sitting in front of me. (That's the part where this mortal fears to tread.)
The size of the bud! This impressive thing is on a plant in my woodland bed. The rest of them were not as large.
This species ranges from SE Europe to the Caucasus. My plants are from seed reportedly (3rd hand) wild collected in the SW of the Republic of Georgia (Not Georgia USA, but over in the Caucasus region.) Its' natural environment is woodlands and mountainsides in the subalpine zone and lower. Here it is equally vigorous in part shade as in my woods; I didn't have enough plants to put any in the open field yet.
Finally a decent day for a bike ride. Even my old legs are faster than the black flies, and they haven't figured out how to set a mass ambush yet, so it was nice to be outdoors and not have the things setting up house in ears and eyes and nose. (ok, small exaggeration...)