California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Paeonia californica - California Peony

Paeonia californica is a pleasant surprise to many. Most are not aware that we have a California native peony. I have usually found the California Peony low on the sides of canyons or on well lit North facing slopes. Generally Paeonia californica grows in soil with some clay content but always where there is good drainage due to the steepness of the slope. The foliage will appear in the middle of Winter and the flowers in March. The deep red fragrant flowers of Paeonia californica are nodding and often go un-noticed. Red flowers are often pollinated by beetles and flies attracted to a rotting meat odor. Paeonia californica is pollinated by a diverse array of native bee species and sometimes by beetles. Paeonia californica will die back to their roots as Spring progresses. The bicolored foliage is often very fragrant, and kind of stinky so it would be best not to plant the California Peony in an area where the foliage might be disturbed.

Paeonia californica, California Peony

Red flower and two toned foliage of Paeonia californica - California Peony. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

Other plants that grow in the same part of the garden from our Wildflower List
Clarkia unguiculata
Collinsia heterophylla
Collinsia tinctoria
Dodecatheon clevelandii
Heuchera maxima
Pholistoma auritum
Salvia spathacea
Silene laciniata
Sisyrinchium bellum