Plants 35-75 cm. Leaves usually 7-12 per shoot, primary divisions 3-9 × 1-6 cm, bases not notably narrowed (not stalklike), ultimate divisions linear to spatulate, apices usually acute, surfaces not notably glaucous. Flowers: petals dark red or purplish, almost black, margins pinkish, elliptic, 15-25 mm, usually longer than inner sepals; filaments 5-8 mm; anthers 3-7 mm. Follicles 3-4 cm. Seeds ± curved, ca. 16 mm. 2n = 10. Flowering Dec-Apr(-May). Chaparral, coastal scrub; 0-1500 m; Calif.; Mexico (Baja California). Paeonia californica ranges from Monterey County to San Diego County and is known from at least one location in northern Baja California, Mexico.