CALIFORNIA POPPY

Eschscholzia californica

Chumash: qupe Español: Toroza

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Plant Description

Category: Herb
Origin: California coastal 
areas and grasslands Evergreen: Annual

Flower Color: Orange to yellow

Bloomtime: March to May; or longer

Height: 1-2 feet

Exposure: Sun

Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs

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As the official state flower of California Eschscholzia californica is pictured on welcome signs along highways entering California and official Scenic Route signs. From late February to late September, numerous and varied insects are attracted to the vibrant flowers and abundant pollen of the California poppy. Two types of alkaloids found in the poppy have generated interest for their antibacterial and cancer treating potential.

The California poppy has cultural significance for many indigenous people of the western United States. While some tribes consider the plant poisonous, such as the Mahuna, most make routine use of the plant, or specific parts of the plant, as both a food source and drug. The roots, which generally contain higher levels of alkaloids, have been used as sedatives and painkillers. The flowers, high in carotenoids and somewhat sweet, may be chewed as a gum or candy, while the rich pollen of the flowers serves as eye shadow or body paint for special occasions. Entire plants have been placed under the bed of children to hasten a restful sleep. Every year, April 6 is California Poppy Day and May 13th - 18th is Poppy Week. Gold is a theme in California symbols; the state colors are blue and gold, the state nickname is The Golden State, and gold is the official state mineral. The poppy is also known as the flame flower, la amapola, and copa de oro. (cup of gold) Can be poisonous if ingested.

For Additional Information About this Plant

Key to Native Plant Symbols 

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Native Plant Information provided by