Every spring, California flowers (Eschscholzia californica), also named the California poppy, delight our eyes with their bright yellow color. If you want to capture these flowers in their true splendor, you should see them in their peak flowering season: the short period from late March to mid-April. So, let’s enjoy reading some information about the symbol of California:
* What is the California flower?
* California flower history
* How to grow and care for California flower
* Uses of California flower
* Where can you find California flower?
What Is the California Flower?
This drought-tolerant plant is the first plant that was named in the genus Eschscholzia, after Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz. This happened in approximately 1810, during a scientific expedition on the Rurik ship. The plant was, however, named by Johann’s friend. Since then, many varieties of the Eschscholzia californica became popular, ranging from orange, red, and yellow blooms.
Thus, Eschscholzia californica is a flowering plant species from the Papaveraceae family, native to the United States and Mexico. It is an ornamental plant with spectacular cup-shaped flowers. Furthermore, the California poppy grows up to 5-6 inches in height, with blue-green foliage.
The plant has a solitary flower on a long stem, with a silky texture. Each flower has four petals, each petal from 0.79 to 2.36 inches long. The color of the national Californian flower is yellow, but poppy flowers also have orange or red colors.
It may bloom in the Northern Hemisphere from February to September, but in April-May, the flowering reaches its peak. The petals close at night or during unfavorable weather conditions and reopen in the morning or after the weather improves. The California poppy withstands mild winters in the native region but does not survive harsh winters.
The golden poppy flower blooms in grassy or sandy slopes. Californian Native Americans used the poppy flower as a food source and also extracted oil from poppy seeds. The oil was used in cooking, lighting, painting, and in the process of making soap.
California Flower History
In December 1890, the California State Floral Society reached the consensus that this beautiful flower should become a symbol of the state. The Mariposa lily and the poppy Matilija were still competing, but the poppy flower won the competition.
The official selection was made in 1903 when the golden flower was considered an appropriate symbol for the state of California through a bill signed by Governor George Pardee. Sarah Plummer Lemmon had supported the adoption of the golden poppy as the state flower in California since 1890.
Eschscholzia californica is illustrated on all the welcome boards along California’s freeways. The national day of California poppy flower is designated on the April 6th, while May 13th-18th is Poppy Week.
The California flower can be found as far as Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, or northwestern Baja California. In full bloom season, orange flowers cover huge surfaces.
How to Grow and Care for California Flower
California poppies like rich and sunny soil, with fast drainage and abundant water. Although California flowers adapt well to any soil, enrichen the soil with one or two shovels of well-aged manure or compost before planting the seeds. This helps to obtain a spectacular flowering.
Poppies multiply by sowing; this must take place in early spring when the soil is still cool. They can be sown in the autumn, even before the soil freezes. The seeds germinate in 10-15 days. You should be careful not to enrich the soil with too much fertilizer because an excess of fertilizer can cause excessive growth of the leaves of the plants to the detriment of flower production.
If you want to extend the flowering period, remove the useless buds that grow by twisting on the stems, or you can use these buds as seedlings in flower arrangements. To keep the flower longer for cut flower bouquets, cut the stems and lightly burn them with a match or lighter. After this, you can keep them in your arrangement for a longer time.
Because the foliage and flowers are sensitive to moisture-related diseases such as molds, avoid watering the air and use soaking hoses or drip watering. To prevent further infection with pests, you can use organic fungicides.
The California flower seeds are very important, so you might want to keep them. When the fruits appear, allow them to brown slightly, then cut the fruits and allow them to dry. You can harvest the seeds after they dried completely in a cold and dry area.
Uses of California flower
Many uses of California flowers are known for solving health problems. The poppy prevents insomnia, supports the health of blood vessels, supports good neural functioning and has beneficial effects in relieving stress by calming the nervous system.
The Californian poppy is most commonly available as whole (dried) plants, including the root, leaves, and flowers, dry air parts, capsules or tablets, or drops of liquid (tinctures).
Where Can You Find California Flower?
There are many options to surprise with the blooming desert flowers in Southern California. You can go for short hikes in northern Los Angeles and to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. This is where you can enjoy incredible orange hills full of these gorgeous flowers on large surfaces of approximatively 1745 acres.
You can also go hiking along the Malibu cliff, or hike well after a humid winter in Carrizo Plain, an extended meadow in southeastern San Luis Obispo County. Alternatively, you can go to Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore, where you can see beautiful California poppy flowers.
All in all, the California flower is commonly found in California gardens. The sedative, calming, and anti-anxiety effects of the seeds cannot be neglected. Also, the California poppy is a highly appreciated stimulant of the digestive tract and immune system.