California Poppy (Eschscholzia Californica)

Garden Alphabet: California Poppy | A Gardener's Notebook with Douglas E. Welch

Eschscholzia californica is the state flower of California, our native poppy is seen everywhere at this time of year. In past years, we have visited the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve just north of us in Lancaster, California. Unfortunately, according to a story in today’s Los Angeles Times (California poppies are a no-show in Lancaster, but festival goes on) there won’t be much of a bloom at the Reserve this year. These poppies were found in a neighbor’s garden during a walk this week. I have tried growing them here, but haven’t had much success for an unknown reason. They are said to be somewhat fussy to cultivate, but I see them in many gardens, so I wonder if that fussiness is exaggerated.

“It is a perennial or annual growing to 5–60 in (13–150 cm) tall, with alternately branching glaucous blue-green foliage. The leaves are ternately divided into round, lobed segments. The flowers are solitary on long stems, silky-textured, with four petals, each petal 2 to 6 cm (0.79 to 2.4 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.” —

More information on the California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica):

Previously in Garden Alphabet: