Monday, December 28, 2009

California Poppy

Botanical name: Eschscolzia californica (Papaveraceae)
Other name:

California poppy is state flower of California. It can grow 5–60 cm tall, with alternately branching glaucous blue-green foliage. The leaves are ternately divided into round, lobed segments. The flowers are solitary on long stems, silky-textured, with four petals, each petal 2–6 cm long and broad; their color ranges from yellow to orange, and flowering is from February to September. The petals close at night or in cold, windy weather and open again the following morning, although they may remain closed in cloudy weather. The fruit is a slender dehiscent capsule 3–9 cm long, which splits in two to release the numerous small black or dark brown seeds.

How to grow
It is drought-tolerant, self-seeding, and easy to grow in gardens. Sow seed in spring or in early autumn in mild climates. California poppies do not transplant well, so plant the seeds where you want the flowers to grow. They bloom all summer long, right up to the first frost. This is one of the best annuals you can find for flower beds and borders. They thrive in a rock garden.
Tips: To use as cut flowers (although they last only a few days), harvest before the buds are fully open.

Soil: grow best on poor, well drained soils
Light: Full Sun
USDA hardiness zone: 5-10
Germination: 15-30 days
Optimum soil temperature for germination: 60-70F
Sowing depth: 1/16"
Blooming period: April-August

Medicinal Uses
The California Poppy has been used traditionally mainly as a remedy for toothaches (the root cut and the juices applied directly), and as a tea for headaches, anxiety, and insomnia. Children seem to benefit from this for mild cases of colic, sleeplessness, and tension or anxiety.

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