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California Poppy
Papaveraceae
Eschscholzia californica


Thunder
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Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb



Papaveraceae Family

Eschscholzia Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Golden poppy, copa de oro, khishkhash Kalifornia, flame flower, la amapola, and copa de oro (cup of gold)


Location

Native to Western North America. From sea level to 2,000m (6,500 feet) altitude in the western United States throughout California, extending to Oregon, southern Washington, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and in Mexico in Sonora and northwest Baja California.

Physical Description
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 fruit is a slender dehiscent capsule 3-9 cm long, which splits in two to release the numerous small black or dark brown seeds. It is perennial in mild parts of its native range, and annual in colder climates; growth is best in full sun and sandy, well-drained, poor soil.
From Erowid: “Eschscholzia californica is a perennial herb growing approx 30 cm tall. Leaves are greyish green and finely divided. Four petalled flowers range from white to red, though most commonly orange and yellow. It is the state flower of California. Does not contain opium.”


Compare Species
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Papaveraceae
Ranunculales
Ranunculales
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

The US Formulary of 1918 says of this botanical; “Attention has been brought to this California member of the Papaveraceae, as a powerful- herb for calming and supporting sleep" Native American tribes from different parts of California used this plant for many medicinal purposes especially as a calming agent. The Pomo tribes from areas north of what is now Sacramento reportedly used the crushed seeds as a topical application, while the Mendocino used a root preparation as an external cleansing agent and internally. It was used by the Costanoan tribes from what is now Monterey to promote healthy sleep (Soporific). It has a long tradition of use in Western Botanical medicine as a Nervine and Trophorestorative (promotes nutrition uptake at the cellular level).
Medicinal Uses: Native Americans used California poppy leaves medicinally. Extract from the California poppy acts as a mild sedative when smoked. The effect is far milder than that of opium, which contains a different class of alkaloids

The indigenous California Indians used this poppy as both a source of food and medicine.. The Costanoan Indians rubbed a decoction of the flowers in the hair to kill lice; the Indians of Mendocino County used a poultice of fresh root for toothaches and a topically applied extract for headaches and sores; and Cahuilla women used the pollen as a cosmetic and the whole plant as a sedative for babies. Medicinally, California poppy is a plant with sedative, analgesic and antispastic activities, but unlike the alkaloids of the opium poppy, it does not seem to induce tolerance and dependence. It is touted by some for the treatment of anxiety and to induce sleep in patients affected with insomnia.
Eschscholzia californica, California poppy, was used by Mendocino, Pomo, Yuki and Kashaya women to decrease and stop milk production. The Pomo referred to the plant as ‘milk disappear plant’. The usual procedure for stopping milk production was to mash the seed pods and rub this on the mother's breasts. It is not known what compound in the plant may decrease milk production.
Benzophenanthridine alkaloids are present in the plant. It could be that the bitter flavor of the preparations discouraged infants from suckling, which decreased milk production.
Food Uses: The seeds are used in cooking. Several groups boiled the plant, or roasted it on host stones, to eat as a green. Leaves - cooked
Other Notes: A natural food coloring, poppy petals also make a fugitive (doesn't last) dye that can be good for making "photos" on paper. Extract the color from the petals with alcohol. Paint on paper. You can then place a positive (instead of a negative) or some kind of object, like a piece of lace, a paper cutout, or a leaf over the paper and set it in a sunny place for a week. The parts that are covered will remain purple, and the rest will fade. This process was used experimentally in the 1840s before photographs as we know them were invented. It produces what is called an anthotype
The California poppy is the California state flower. It was selected as the state flower by the California State Floral Society in December 1890
Early Romans associated this type of poppy with Demeter, goddess of the harvest.




California Poppy




California Poppy




California Poppy
Image by E. Step & W. Watson, 1896. in Favorite Flowers of Garden & Greenhouse [Image in Public Domain]

Comment: California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica

Page Posts: 1

Entheogen
Entheogen
June 15, 2010
You can see the little poppy-like stigma left behind. Interesting.

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