Another entry today compiled and mostly written by Alexis:
Today’s photo was submitted via email by Liesl Zappler, who writes: “After reading The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest by Jack Nisbet, and finding out about the native Brown’s peony, I was determined to find it this spring. It’s been known to be in the Blue Mountains of Washington, as well as in northeast Oregon. Thanks to the rangers at the Pomeroy, WA and Pendleton, OR National Forest stations, I was able to find the peonies east of Athena, OR on Wild Horse Rd.” Thanks, Liesl!
Paeonia brownii, a native to the western United States, is a fleshy leafy plant that usually has several clustered stems. Its leaves are deeply lobed and bluish-green in colour, while its solitary flowers (a single flower on each peduncle) are greenish and reddish-brown. Paeonia brownii habitats range from ponderosa pine forests to sagebrush deserts.
The licorice-tasting roots of Paeonia brownii were used by First Nations to make a tea for healing lung illnesses. In fact, the genus name Paeonia originates from the name Paeon (or Paean), who was the physician of the Greek gods.
Though some consider Paeonia brownii to be the only peony species native to North America (and divided into two subspecies), two species are recognized by the Flora of North America (representing the general consensus). Paeonia californica (image) is found in southern California to northern Mexico.