Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Paeonia californica (California peony)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Paeonia californica

Paeonia californica Nutt.

California Peony

Paeoniaceae (Peony Family)

Synonym(s): Paeonia brownii ssp. californica

USDA Symbol: paca2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

California Peony is a 30 in. perennial with 5-30 branched stems per plant. Large, drooping maroon flowers occur at the top of the branches. Each flower has 5-6 petals and numerous stamens.

This plant can be difficult to cultivate. Its swollen roots will rot if watered in the summer.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 30 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Purple
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Dec


Native Distribution: Monterey to San Diego, Cos., CA
Native Habitat: Dry, brushy places below 4000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Description: Various extremely well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: This plant can be difficult to cultivate. Its swollen roots will rot if watered in the summer.


Description: Propagation by seed is easiest.
Seed Treatment: No treatment is necessary, but scarification may improve germination.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Paeonia californica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Paeonia californica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Paeonia californica


Record Modified: 2023-02-21
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back