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Wildflowers:

Eschscholtzia californica


The California poppy is native to grassy and open areas from sea level to 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) altitude in the western United States throughout California, extending to Oregon, southern Washington, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and in Mexico in Sonora and northwest Baja California.

It can grow 5-60 centimeters tall, with alternately branching waxy pale blue-green foliage. The leaves are divided into round, lobed segments. The flowers are solitary on long stems, silky-textured, with four petals, each petal 2-6 centimeters long and broad; their color ranges from yellow (particularly in southern california) to orange, and flowering is 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.

The fruit is a slender capsule 3-9 centimeters long, which splits in two to release the numerous small black or dark brown seeds. It is perennial in mild parts of its native range, and annual in harsher colder and hotter climates.

It was selected as the state flower by the California State Floral Society in December 1890, winning out over the Mariposa lily (genus Calochortus) and the Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri) by a landslide, but the state legislature did not make the selection official until 1903. Its golden blooms were deemed a fitting symbol for the Golden State.

E. californica is tough, fast growing, drought-tolerant, self-seeding, and easy to grow in gardens. It is best grown as an annual, in full sun, but it will tolerate part shade. It prefers well draining, sandy, often poor soils.

Leaves and roots are rumored to have a sedative effect

Calscape



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