Torrey & A.Gray
Paeonia californica (California Peony or Wild Peony) is one of two species of Peony native to North America. It is endemic to southwest California, United States, where it grows on dry hillsides in the coastal sage scrub and chaparral communities of the coastal mountains of Southern and Central California, often as an understory plant.
It is sometimes considered a subspecies of the other Paeonia species native to North America, Paeonia brownii.
The California Peony is a summer-deciduous broad-leafed perennial herb or sub-shrub less than 0.5 m high by 1 m wide. Its foliage is highly lobed, roughly 10 cm. in length. The top of the leaves are dark green, with paler undersides. It flowers in from January to March, bearing elliptic (cup-shaped) drooping flowers. Petals are dark maroon in color.
The California Peony has entered limited cultivation in native plant landscaping and xeriscaping. It is drought-tolerant and is moisture sensitive in the summer, when its swollen root will rot if watered. It prefers partial sun and tolerates a variety of soil types. Deer seem to avoid eating this plant.
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