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California State Flower

22.06.2022 views 1817
Botanical Name
Year AdoptedPeak BloomHistoryGrowing InformationFacts About Golden PoppyAre California poppies really poppies?

The California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, is an annual herbaceous wildflower that grows to 20–60 cm (8–24 in) tall, with alternately arranged leaves and nodding orange flowers. It is native to the Western United States and Mexico. The California poppy is a member of the Papaveraceae family, which includes about 42 different genera and 1,200 species of flowering plants. The best known members of this family are undoubtedly the opium poppies (Papaver somniferum), from which heroin and other opiate drugs are derived. However, not all members of the poppy family are drug plants; in fact, most are completely harmless.

Botanical Name

The California poppy was named after the German botanist Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz (1786-1831).

Year Adopted

The plant was first described by Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz, a German physician, naturalist, and explorer who conducted the first scientific investigation of California's healthy growing conditions in 1822.

Peak Bloom

The poppy is a beautiful flower that has graced California landscapes for centuries. Though its appearance may be delicate, the floret is a strong and hardy plant. 

The poppies start blooming in late February or early March and continue through May. The best time to see them varies from year to year, depending on the winter weather. But generally speaking, the later in the spring you go, the more blooms you'll find. That being said, even a few scattered poppies are enough to delight any nature lover. And if you happen to be in California during peak bloom season, you're in for a real treat!


The California poppy is endemic to the Western US and was used by Native Americans for food and as a ceremonial flower. It was introduced to Europe in the mid-1800s, where it became a popular garden decoration. Today, it's the state flower of California. It became the official state symbol in 1903. 

Growing Information

If you want to add cheerful and vivid colors to your life, or you’re interested in using California poppy’s flowers as a treatment of a variety of medical conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, and pain relief – try to grow it yourself. 

To grow California poppies, simply sow the seeds directly into the ground in early spring. They will germinate within a few days and begin blooming in late spring or early summer. You can also propagate California signature flowers by dividing the plants in late fall or winter.


Californian poppies love soil that is light and sandy, with good drainage. They are not too fussy when it comes to pH levels, but perform best in ground that are on the acidic side. If your garden has heavy clay soil, you can mix in some sand or gravel to improve drainage before planting your Californian poppies.


California poppies need full sun to blooming and they will do best if they get at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. But how can you except less from a flower that symbolize one of the sunniest states in U.S.?  

Taking Care Of The California Poppy

The California poppy is a hardy, drought tolerant flower that needs little care. In fact, it does well in poor soil and can thrive in full sun or partial shade. The best way to care for your flower is to water it regularly, especially during the summer months when the clay is dry. You may also want to fertilize it once or twice a year with an organic fertilizer. As long as you provide your poppy with adequate water and fertilizer, it will continue to bloom throughout the spring and summer months.

Facts About Golden Poppy

•  It is a small annual plant with a slender, spindly stem and gray-green leaves. The flowers are orange or yellow and measure 2 to 3 centimeters in diameter;

•  Caltrans began featuring the poppy on its traffic signs in 1997 as part of a campaign to increase awareness of the scenic highways system in California;

•  Fragile sunny blooms need sleep as well – flowers are open the day and close at night. However, they stay closed to the world during cloudy weather;

•  The California poppy is edible — both the flowers and the seeds can be eaten. The petals have a slightly sweet taste and can be used in salads or as a garnish. The seeds can be ground into a powder and used as a spice, or they can be used to make oil cooking.

Are California poppies really poppies?

In short, yes. California poppies are technically poppies (Papaver rhoeas). However, they're not the same type of Papaver as the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), which is used to produce opium and other narcotics. The controversy surrounding whether or not California poppies are "real" poppies stems from the fact that there are many different types of these plants in the world, and not all of them are related to each other.

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