The petals of the California Poppy have a sheen that magically transforms their orange color into metallic gold. How did California's state flower get its unusual scientific name—Eschscholzia? It is named for Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz (1793-1831), surgeon and naturalist with Russian expeditions to the Pacific Coast in 1816 and 1824. The flowering process of this poppy unfolds like a play. Each bud is enclosed by two fused sepals that are united into a cap that is pushed off by the four expanding petals. When the petals fall away, a pinkish rim becomes evident as a spreading collar at the base of the elongate developing capsule.
DISTRIBUTION: Grassy areas and disturbed sites throughout the Calif. Floristic Province and western areas east of the Sierra Nevada to the Mojave Desert; 0-2000 m.