Herbs & Plants

Paeonia brownii

Botanical Name: Paeonia brownii
Family: Paeoniaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Saxifragales
Genus: Paeonia
Species: P. brownii

Common Name: Brown’s Peony

Habitat :Paeonia brownii is native to the western United States(California to Nevada and Washington.) and usually grows at altitude( 900 – 1800 metres.), often as undergrowth in part-shade. The fleshy roots store food to carry the plant through the dry summers and produce new leaves and flowers the following spring.

Paeonia brownii is a glaucous, summer hibernating, perennial herbaceous plant of 25–40 cm high with up to ten stems per plant, which grow from a large, fleshy root. Each pinkish stem is somewhat decumbent and has five to eight twice compound or deeply incised, bluish green, hearless, somewhat fleshy leaves which may develop purple-tinged edges when temperatures are low. The blades of the leaflets or segments are oval to inverted egg-shaped, 3-6 × 2–5 cm, with a clearly narrowed, stalk-like foot and an stump or rounded tip. The bisexual flowers are cup-shaped, 2–3 cm when open, nodding, and are set individually at the tip of a branching stem, and bloom for 9–15 days. Flowering occurs from March to June (mostly mid-April to mid-May). The five or six overlapping sepals are a purplish green, cupped, and oval or almost circular, persist after flowering. The five to ten circular petals are usually shorter than the sepals, and grade in colour from brownish-maroon at the base, via wine red to greenish or yellowish on the edge. Each flower has 60-100 yellow stamens, consisting of filaments of 3–5 mm, that are topped by anthers of 2–4 mm long. These open in succession from the inside out shedding yellow pollen, starting from the second day. A disc consisting of about twelve fleshy cone-shaped greenish-yellow lobes of 2½-3 mm high surrounds the two to six (mostly five) glabrous, initially yellow-green to ultimately yellow-red carpels, each having a short style topped by a curved stigma that forms a ridge. These are receptive during the first two days that the flower is open. Fertilised carpels mature into 2–4 cm long follicles that have become leathery when ripe. About four seeds develop per follicle, which are yellowish-brown to black, round to oval and 6–11 mm in diameter. As all diploid peonies, Paeonia brownii has ten chromosomes (2n=10)


Requires a deep rich soil, preferably neutral or slightly alkaline, doing quite well in sun or light shade. Plants are tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, but will not survive if the soil becomes waterlogged or is too dry. This species requires an extremely well-drained soil. This species is lime tolerant. Plants grown on sandy soils tend to produce more leaves and less flowers, whilst those growing on clay take longer to become established but produce better blooms. A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. A long-lived plant, specimens can survive in the garden for at least 50 years. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. A very greedy plant inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes. Strongly resents root disturbance, taking some time to recover after being divided. Peony species are usually self-fertile, though they will also hybridise with other species if these flower nearby at the same time. Plants take 4 – 5 years to flower from seed. They generally breed true from seed.

Edible Uses: Roots are eaten. A liquorice flavour.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is cardiac, febrifuge, laxative and pectoral. A decoction has been used by some native North American Indian tribes in the treatment of pneumonia, tuberculosis, VD, nausea, indigestion, coughs, diarrhoea and kidney troubles. A decoction of the sun-dried roots has been used to help people put on weight. A decoction of the root has been used as a liniment on swellings. An infusion of the root has been used as a wash for sore eyes. A powder of the dried and ground root can be used as a dressing on cuts, wounds, burns and sores. A poultice of the crushed roots has been used to treat boils, deep cuts and wounds. A cold infusion of the seeds has been used as a cough medicine. A tea made from the dried crushed petals of various peony species has been used as a cough remedy, and as a treatment for haemorrhoids and varicose veins.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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