Eschscholzia californica

Escholzia californica – Californian Poppy

Bountiful golden satiny flowers rise above lacey grey-green foliage


This is normally an annual that self-seeds each year with the flowers atop single stems to 30cm, above fee-branching mounds of finely divided foliage. The flowers close at night, and when overcast or raining. The seed heads are dehiscent, meaning that the seeds are flung away in an explosive manner when the seed head splits. The flowers are loved by bees and butterflies.


E. californica is native to western North America from southern Washington state down through California and into Northern Mexico. It is the state flower of California. Its natural habitat is hillsides, roads and open areas. The name honours the Estonian botanist Johan Eschscholtz. Cultivars are now available in semi-double to double forms, and in additional colors including white, pink, red, lilac and purple.

Soil / Aspect:

E. californica requires full sun, even in coastal Tasman, free draining soil and no competition. Pictured in our private garden above, we have them in a shingle area on their own


In Karin’s garden it may be that some foliage will survive year-to-year. However, the foliage on these small bushes looks tired and it self-seeds so prolifically that you might as well pull out the old foliage each winter, remembering to wait until the seed heads have split and discharged their cargo for next year. There are no insect or disease problems and they do not need watering, even during hot spells.