Eschscholzia californica Cham.

Californian Poppy

Annual or perennial herb to 30-40 cm tall. Flowering stems branched. Leaves hairless, slightly waxy blue, divided into thin segments. Flowers with petals to 5 cm long; spring to summer. Capsule to 8 cm long.

This is the State floral emblem of California, USA.


Watery sap a mild narcotic and used by American Indians as a relief for toothache.

Although recorded as escaping from gardens in Australian metropolitan areas, it has failed to set seed for more than a few generations. However, it is well established as an environmental weed in the Upper Snowy River region of Victoria and New South Wales and is also established beside streams in E Gippsland, Victoria and Blue Mountains in New South Wales.

Several colour variants are grown and sometimes given cultivar names or sold as coloured seed mixes. Double-flowered variants are also available.

Source: Spencer, R. (1997). Papaveraceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Distribution map

Eschscholzia californica 'Alba'

Flowers creamy white.

Eschscholzia californica 'Aurantiaca'

Flowers orange. [var. aurantiaca hort.]

Eschscholzia californica 'Crocea'

Flowers deep orange.

Eschscholzia californica 'Rosea'

Flowers salmon pink; seeds of this cultivar may produce plants with streaked petals.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Ranunculanae
order      Ranunculales
family       Papaveraceae
genus        Eschscholzia Cham.