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Western Paeony
Paeonia brownii

About Western Paeony (Paeonia brownii) Paeonia brownii (Brown's Peony or Native Peony), is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the family Paeoniaceae, native to the western United States, growing in dry sagebrush and Ponderosa Pine country. Excepting Paeonia californica, which is sometimes considered a subspecies, this is the only Paeonia native to north America. Found throughout the northwestern United States, P. californica grows in southern California, and subspecies brownii is native to Wyoming and Utah. Neither subspecies is typically grown in gardens. It is 24-50 centimeter tall with flowers of a dark maroon opening to 2-3 centimeter. Flowering occurs in April to June followed by a long dormancy. The species grows at high elevations and experiences long, cold winters with little or no snow and a short growing season, while subsp. californica is less cold hardy, and is a near-desert succulent, going a year or more without rain.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
0.8 - 1.6 ft (0.24 - 0.49 m)


Growth Rate

Flower Color
Red, Purple

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Open dry places

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
33' - 10940'

Annual Precip. ?
7.1" - 126.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.27" - 3.91"

Coldest Month ?
18.4° F - 53.8° F

Hottest Month ?
39.7° F - 80.7° F

Humidity ?
0.40 vpd - 28.86 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers loamy soils

Landscaping Information
Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: 2.5 mos. stratification.

Nursery Availability
Rarely Available

Other Names
Common Names
Brown's Peony, Mountain Peony, Western Peony

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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