(Photo copyright Brother Alfred Brousseau, F.S.C. )
The California Poppy,
is our state flower. It is not hard to see why. They color hillsides
throughout the state
for much of the Spring. Our best displays are usually to the south of
the Harp Chairs, where the hills can be ablaze with Poppies and
Goldfields by late April.
I have never checked, but it seems to me that C. Poppies actually
fluoresce--that is they glow by turning ultraviolet light into orange.
Be sure to catch them on a sunny day, as they close up when its
too cloudy or dark.
California Poppies are also remarkable for the length of their season.
You can often find blooms into late October. Late in the year, what
Eschscholzia californica may actually be the smaller
Eschscholzia lobbii, or Lobb's Poppy.
You may even see a white (albino) one if you are lucky.
Another thing to look out for is the way the calyx forms a hood to
protect the petals until they are ready to bloom. Once the hood falls
off, all that is left is a disk under the petals. Lobb's Poppy
does not have a sharp disk, just a raised rim.
are (too!) easy to grow. Any pack of C. Wildflower seeds will
usually result in a big stand of C. Poppies and little else.
Like other poppies, C. Poppies are narcotic. The leaves can be crushed
and placed inside the cheek against an aching tooth--or so they say.
Hillside covered in California Poppies