WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

When leafy clumps of this poppy blanket hillsides with gold, you’ll know why California chose it as their state flower. Look for four gold to orange petals surrounding numerous yellow stamens, tapering buds, and a leafy base of fern-like leaves. Note the yellow sap. This attractive annual is widely cultivated in gardens.


FLOWERS: March–May. Flowers 2–3-inches wide have 4 golden-yellow to orange, occasionally white, petals often with an orange base; leafy, branching stems can reach 2-feet tall; erect buds long, tapering; fruit a slender capsule 1–3 1/2-inches long (3–9cm) with conspicuous ribs that splits open lengthwise.


LEAVES: Basal, stem leaves opposite. Blade smooth, hairless, divided fern-like into multiple, narrow lobes.


HABITAT: Sandy, rocky, slity soils; desert grasslands and scrub.


ELEVATION: 4,000–6,000 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CA, NV, NM, TX, UT, Mexico.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Though highly variable with different flower colors and sizes within the same populations, this is the only gold-orange member of the Poppy family in NM. Pricklypoppies, Argemone species, have white, papery flowers and thistle-like bristles.


NM COUNTIES: SW quarter of the state, scattered in cent., in low- to mid-elevation, dry habitats; Catron, Cibola, Dona Ana, Grant, Hidalgo, Luna, Otero, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Torrance.

CALIFORNIA  POPPY

ESCHSCHOLZIA  CALIFORNICA  SUBSP.  MEXICANA

Poppy Family, Papaveraceae

Annual herb

Leaves divided into fern-like segments.

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Buds long and tapering.

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In wet springs, California Poppies blanket the slopes of the Organ Mountains, Dona Ana Co.