California is getting international attention for its superbloom this spring and the most celebrated wildflower has its own day, California Poppy Day, which is Saturday, April 6.

Poppy pop quiz[hhmc]

There are hundreds of species of poppies in the world, and California poppies are highly variable with many similar plants throughout the state. Here is a quick test of your knowledge of the popular plant.

1. Is it legal to pick California poppies?

Answer: No. California poppies are not threatened or endangered, but as the state flower it is illegal to pick them in the wild. It is legal buy seed and plant them.

2. Are California poppies other colors besides orange?

Answer: Yes. The orange poppy is the most commonly found, but flowers can also be pink, purple, yellow and cream. Some gardeners have created seed strains of an array of poppy colors. If left alone, the flowers will likely succumb to the dominant orange genes.

3. Are California poppies poisonous?

Answer: No. California Indians used the poppy as both a source of food and for oil extracted from the plant.

4. Eschscholzia californica, is the botanical name given by naturalist Adelbert Von Chamisso around 1816. What year did the poppy officially become the state flower —1850 or 1903?

Answer: 1903, It was selected as the state flower by the California State Floral Society in December 1890, beating out the Mariposa lily (Calochortus) and the Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri). The state Legislature made it official in 1903.

lily and poppy

poppy anatomy

Sara Plummer Lemmon[hhmc]

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Sara plummer lemmon

Lemmon was a botanical illustrator, serving as the official artist for the California State Board of Forestry from 1888–1892. She was instrumental in making the golden poppy Californias state flower.

fryingpan poppy

Popular impostor[hhmc]

Another common poppy that is often mistaken for Eschscholzia californica is Eschscholzia lobbii, known by the common name frying pans.

Frying pans are smaller than the California poppy. The plants are 4 to 8 inches tall and the flowers are 1.5 cm to 2.5 cm diameter

California poppies have 1- to 2-foot stems and are 1 to 3 inches wide.


State grass[hhmc]

Purple Needlegrass, Stipa pulchra

The official state grass was designated in 2004. Purple needlegrass is a bunchgrass adapted to clay soils. Its growing range is from the Oregon border into northern Baja California.

Its seeds were used by many California Native American communities as a food source. It was widely used by California wildlife and grazing cattle. When green, livestock will eat it, but once it dries it becomes prickly and animals tend to avoid it. Its abundance has decreased due to invasive competition.

Purple needlegrass is heat and drought tolerant and can live more than 150 years. It is often planted for use in habitat restoration,Read More – Source

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