You are here

California Poppy

California PoppyCommon Name: California Poppy[1]

Scientific Name: Eschscholzia californica

Description: Early summer-flowering species; bright golden-colored, cup-like flowers and delicate, blue-green foliage

Size: Grows 6 to 12 inches high and wide

Cultural Information: Prefers full sun and well-drained soil; drought tolerant; Re-seeding

USDA Zones: 8 through 10; perennial in warmer regions; grown as an annual in colder areas

Historical Notes: Early 19th-century Spanish explorers sailing along the California Coast first encountered this brilliant species growing in great masses along the seaside hills by the Pacific Ocean, and called the coast the "Land of Fire." With the earliest American citation in 1792, by the 1860s, American seedsmen were offering a variety of distinct cultivars, including creamy white and yellow and orange varieties.[2]

This showy tender annual is easy to cultivate in the flower border and can colonize under favorable conditions. It is the state flower of California.


  1. This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.
  2. Denise Wiles Adams, Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940 (Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc., 2004), 218.

Further Sources


Login or register to participate in our online community.