Mexican Gold Poppy is responsible for the brilliant wild flower displays on the desert- lands. The number of blossoms occurring between February and Mid April depends upon the winter condition and the amount of rain fall, in the previous year. These flowers are winter annuals.
E Californica (also known as California poppy, golden poppy, California sunlight, cup of gold) is a species native to U. S. A and Mexico. It is the official flower of California. It is an annual perennial and grows to a height of 5–60 inches. The leaves are ternately divided into round, lobed segments with a blue-green foliage
Standing solitary on a long stem, the flower is silky with four petals, 2 cm to 6 cm long and broad. Flowers bloom from February to September. The colour of the flower varies from yellow to orange. The petals close at night as well in cloudy and windy weather. They open again in the morning.
Its slender, capsule shaped fruit 3 to 9 cm long splits into two and releases small seeds – black or dark brown in colour. The plant survives in mild winters but perishes completely in colder climates.
E. californica is drought-tolerant, self-seeding, and easy to grow in gardens. It grows best in full sun light on a poor soil – sandy and well-drained. Numerous cultivars have been produced by Horticulturists with a range of colours, blossoms and stem forms.
Native Americans used the leaves as a medicine, the pollen as cosmetics and seeds for cooking. An aqueous extract of the plant acts as a sedative – milder than opium – when smoked.
Eschscholzia Californica is pictured on welcome signs along highways entering California – being its official state flower. It was selected as the state flower by the California State Floral Society in December 1890. It had a landslide victory over Mariposa Lily and Matilija poppy.
In 1903 the selection was made official. Its golden blooms were deemed a fitting symbol for the Golden State. April 6th is designated California Poppy Day.
State law prohibits cutting or removing any plant growing on state or county highways or public lands. Only authorized government employees or contractors are permitted to do it. It is against the law to remove plants from a private property without the owner’s permission