The carotenoid peridinin is abundant in the biosphere, as it is the main pigment bound by the light-harvesting complexes of dinoflagellates, where it collects blue and green sunlight and transfers energy to chlorophyll a with high efficiency. Its molecular structure is particularly complex, giving rise to an intricate excited state manifold, which includes a state with charge-transfer character. To disentangle the excited states of peridinin and understand their function in vivo, we applied dispersed pump - probe and pump - dump - probe spectroscopy. The preferential depletion of population from the intramolecular charge transfer state by the dump pulse demonstrates that the S1 and this charge transfer state are distinct entities. The ensuing dump-induced dynamics illustrates the equilibration of the two states which occurs on the time scale of a few picoseconds. Additionally, the dump pulse populates a short-lived ground state intermediate, which is suggestive of a complex relaxation pathway, probably including structural reorientation or solvation of the ground state. These findings indicate that the unique intramolecular charge transfer state of peridinin is an efficient energy donor to chlorophyll a in the peridinin - chlorophyll - protein complex and thus plays a significant role in global light harvesting.