Here’s a flower you’ll want to check out when riding or hiking the trails in Ash Canyon. It’s easy to miss, since the flowers hang towards the ground, and the rest of the plant is somewhat unremarkable. Brown’s or Wild Peony can be found growing all along the lower trails right now, but I’ve seen a few plants up higher too.
According to the Sierra Wildflowers website:
Scientific Name: Paeonia brownii
Common Name: Brown’s or Wild Peony
Color: Maroon with Yellow edges
Description: The nodding flower heads consist of five purplish sepals, five to ten maroon petals with yellow edges, and many scraggly yellow stamens. Two to five pistils develop into pod-like fruits that push through the stamens.
Habitat: Dry slopes and forest openings.
Medicinal uses: Northwestern Native Americans made tea from the roots to treat lung problems.
Comments: The unusual look of this early bloomer can intrigue even the mildly interested observer. The large flowers are surprisingly inconspicuous, blending in to their own foliage. The genus name (Paeonia) comes from “Paeon,” physician to the gods in Greek mythology.
So if you’re looking for a good excuse to rest on the climb up the canyon, take some time to enjoy these flowers while they’re blooming!