April Plant Profile: California Poppy

24 Apr 2018 9:07 PM | Anonymous

Eschscholzia californica

Ever since 1903, this has been the official State Flower of California. In case you missed it, April 6 is California Poppy Day. Don't forget to mark your calendar for this annual state holiday.

Common names for the plant also include flame flower, la amapola, and copa de oro (cup of gold).  The California poppy grows wild throughout the state.

It is easy to grow, drought tolerant, and reseeds so readily that it can become weedy.  In natural conditions, it blooms most heavily from March to May. This bloom period can be extended with supplemental water. When the spring flowers subside, poppies can be cut back hard, and they will resprout and continue blooming through the summer.

The plant is named after Dr. J.F. Eschscholtz who lived from 1793 to 1831. He was the surgeon and naturalist with Russian expeditions to the Pacific coast from 1815 to 1818.

If you want to grow California poppies, plant seeds in the fall, since this plant does not transplant well.  The native bees and bumble bees will thank you.  They really enjoy this colorful native plant.

Source:  WILDFLOWER Newsletter of the National Wildflower Research Center (now known as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas Austin)  July/August 1988

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