[The Poppy Family in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

California Poppy, Golden Poppy

Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica

Synonyms: Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica, Eschscholzia californica var. crocea, Eschscholzia californica var. douglasii, Eschscholzia californica var. maritima, Eschscholzia californica var. peninsularis, Eschscholzia procera

California Poppy, Golden Poppy: Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica (Synonyms: Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica, Eschscholzia californica var. crocea, Eschscholzia californica var. douglasii, Eschscholzia californica var. maritima, Eschscholzia californica var. peninsularis, Eschscholzia procera)

California poppy as seen along the Old Highway at Catherin Creek in the Columbia River Gorge..................June 3, 2009. The long, maturing fruits can be seen in this photo.


The photo at right shows a close-up sideview of the corolla of California poppy as seen at Catherine Creek in the central Columbia River Gorge.......May 14, 2006. California poppy can be found in bloom in weedy areas or along roadsides near towns from early April until mid-November, although its greatest concentration of bloom tends to be late April into early June.
Characteristics:

The state flower of California, California poppy is a showy perennial wildflower of open places. The genus is named for Johann Friedrich Eschscholz, who as a naturalist and physician, was part of a Russian team that explored the California coast in 1816.

The taproot is long and thin (like a thin carrot), and is a deep orange in color. The herbage is smooth and glaucous, with one-several stems spreading or rising from 10-50 dm in height. The ternately pinnatifid leaves are found at the base of the plant as well as on the stems. Individual leaflets are linear.

The flower stems are 6-20 cm long with a spreading, rim-like receptacle (1-2 mm wide) below the petals. Free sepals are absent, but the 4 petals are cuneate-obovate in shape. From 8-40 mm long, the petals are a pale to brilliant yellow or orange. Flowers are bowl shaped, and they open to 5 cm across. The flowers open during the day, and close at night or in cloudy weather. The seed pods are long and thin, splitting on maturity to scatter the seeds. Plants may flower from April to December, especially near the coast.


Habitat:

California poppy is a plant of dry open places, such as roadsides and disturbed fields.


Range:

California poppy is native from the Columbia River Gorge south to southern California. I believe this is considered native but it has been widely cultivated and has been known to escape cultivation to become a pretty wildflower/weed.

In the Columbia River Gorge, it is found between the elevations of 100'-1000' from Washougal, WA east to about Horsethief State Park (WA).


Flower of California Poppy, Golden Poppy: Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica (Synonyms: Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholzia californica var. crocea, Eschscholzia californica var. douglasii)

Close-up of the flower of California poppy as seen along the Old Highway at Catherine Creek in the Columbia River Gorge..........June 3, 2009.

Flowers of California Poppy, Golden Poppy: Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica (Synonyms: Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica, Eschscholzia californica var. crocea, Eschscholzia californica var. douglasii, Eschscholzia californica var. maritima, Eschscholzia californica var. peninsularis, Eschscholzia procera)

California poppy with both orange and cream-colored flowers as seen along the Old Highway at Catherin Creek in the Columbia River Gorge..........June 3, 2009.

California Poppy, Golden Poppy: Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica (Synonyms: Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica, Eschscholzia californica var. crocea, Eschscholzia californica var. douglasii, Eschscholzia californica var. maritima, Eschscholzia californica var. peninsularis, Eschscholzia procera) - California Poppy, Golden Poppy: Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica (Synonyms: Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica, Eschscholzia californica var. crocea, Eschscholzia californica var. douglasii, Eschscholzia californica var. maritima, Eschscholzia californica var. peninsularis, Eschscholzia procera)

An interesting color variant of California poppy as seen blooming at the Four Sisters near The Dalles, Oregon.........May 5, 2013.

California Poppy, Golden Poppy: Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica (Synonyms: Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica, Eschscholzia californica var. crocea, Eschscholzia californica var. douglasii, Eschscholzia californica var. maritima, Eschscholzia californica var. peninsularis, Eschscholzia procera) - California Poppy, Golden Poppy: Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica (Synonyms: Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica, Eschscholzia californica var. crocea, Eschscholzia californica var. douglasii, Eschscholzia californica var. maritima, Eschscholzia californica var. peninsularis, Eschscholzia procera)

Large drifts of California poppy as seen along the banks of Major Creek just north of Washington Highway 14 east of Catherine Creek, Columbia River Gorge..........May 28, 2013.

California Poppy, Golden Poppy: Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica (Synonyms: Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica, Eschscholzia californica var. crocea, Eschscholzia californica var. douglasii, Eschscholzia californica var. maritima, Eschscholzia californica var. peninsularis, Eschscholzia procera) - California Poppy, Golden Poppy: Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica (Synonyms: Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica, Eschscholzia californica var. crocea, Eschscholzia californica var. douglasii, Eschscholzia californica var. maritima, Eschscholzia californica var. peninsularis, Eschscholzia procera)

Late blooming California poppies as seen near an old homesite along the Mosier Plateau Trail, just east of Mosier, OR........October 6, 2017.

Paul Slichter