California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

The state flower of California, the golden color of these poppies sprawling across open grasslands seems to imitate the gold that attracted so many to the state in previous centuries. These poppies were found right here in my neighborhood, but in the past we have travelled to the California State Poppy Reserve to our north to see them in their natural habitat. I haven’t had much success growing them in our garden, but others seemed to have developed naturalized, self-seeking patches throughout their gardens. Maybe I need to try again.

California Poppy

Photo: Douglas E. Welch

Eschscholzia californica (California poppygolden poppyCalifornia sunlightcup of gold) is a species of flowering plant in the family Papaveraceaenative to the United States and Mexico, and the official state flower of California.

It is a perennial or annual growing to 5–60 in (13–152 cm) tall, with alternately branching glaucous blue-green foliage. The leaves are ternately divided into round, lobed segments. Theflowers are solitary on long stems, silky-textured, with four petals, each petal 2 to 6 cm (0.79 to 2.36 in) long and broad; flower color ranges from yellow to orange, with flowering from February to September. The petals close at night or in cold, windy weather and open again the following morning, although they may remain closed in cloudy weather.[1] The fruit is a slender, dehiscent capsule 3 to 9 cm (1.2 to 3.5 in) long, which splits in two to release the numerous small black or dark brown seeds. It survives mild winters in its native range, dying completely in colder climates. — Wikipedia

More information on California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica):
Some of these books may be available at your local library! 


Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas