Eschschoizia Californica, the California Poppy is State Flower
Beautiful State Flower of California
Eschschoizia Californica is the official name of what is commonly called the California poppy.
My husband and I saw fields of them in bloom on one of our vacation trips up to the California wine country.
This specific photo and the next one were taken at Guenoc Winery which is located in Lake County, north of Napa and Sonoma.
The Golden State
Looking out from the home formerly owned by the famous Lillie Langtry, this was one of the views on the Guenoc estate.
The landscape was accentuated with the vibrant orange colors. Apparently the colors of the California poppies range from yellow to orange.
Growing wild in much of California it is also appropriate that California is also known as the Golden State since the golden hues of poppies are frequently viewed wafting in the breeze.
Learn how the California Poppy got its official name and how to grow it here in this video.
The California poppy has a long blooming time ranging from February to around September.
Celebrations are held each year on April 6th for California Poppy Day!
I remember seeing a photo taken by my aunt where an entire field was covered with them almost as far as the eye could see.
This flower grows profusely as a perennial in many places but is also tended in other places as an annual.
Masses of California Poppies
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Founder of Mrmorial Poppy, Moina Michael
John Alexander McCrae (1872 - 1918) was a Canadian poet, physician, author, artist and soldier during World War I. He is best known for writing the famous war poem In Flanders Fields. In Flanders Fields has been labeled the most popular poem written during World War 1. McCrae wrote this poem in 1915 the day after his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer died. The poppies referred to in the poem grew in abundance in Flanders Field where many war casualties had been buried. Now the poppy is a symbol of remembrance.
When I was a child growing up in the 1950s I vividly remember people wearing crepe paper poppies on their shirts, dresses or lapels in remembrance of soldiers who had died in the service of their country. I seldom see that occurring today.
Those who sold the poppies usually did so to raise funds for organizations such as the American Legion.
The American Legion first originated back in 1919 and any veteran who was honorably discharged from any of the services was eligible to join. Now current members of the military are also eligible.
This national service organization not only provides fellowship for our military men and women but also serves in a number of capacities to help member families in times of need. Scholarships for youth as well as mentoring them is available and depending upon which American Legion one might join or where it is located, programs and services vary according to local needs and interests in serving to help one another.
This U.S. postage stamp commemorates the promotion of the poppy by Moina Michael for the purpose of remembering our military people who died during wars.
She was inspired by the war poem "In Flanders Fields" authored by a Canadian doctor who was also a poet and artist serving his country during World War I.
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This would certainly make for a beautiful wall decoration!
Not surprisingly in other parts of the world which also celebrate the poppy as a remembrance symbol, there is controversy. Some people take the stance that it is condoning warfare or specific conflicts. Others wear it routinely as a patriotic symbol for its original meaning of honoring our fallen departed soldiers.
Did you know that purple poppies are used to honor animals who may have died during war? White poppies are sometimes worn by pacifists which is not surprising as white generally symbolizes peace...or in some cases as that of waving a white flag...surrender.
Whatever the various meanings or colors of poppies...they certainly are a beautiful flower. They open during bright sunlit days and close during overcast or darkened skies.
So if you have poppies in your garden or see them in fields with masses of blooms, enjoy them for their beauty...and if you wish...for their symbolism as well.
California poppy "Purple Cream"
More information about poppies can be found here:
California Poppy State Natural Reserve
This is undoubtedly where my aunt took her photos and this natural reserve is located in Antelope Valley near Lancaster, California.
Watch the video below to see just how glorious a spot it is when the masses of poppies in 1,745 acres (or 706 ha) are in bloom!
All up and down the west coast as well as a few other places, these California poppies are known to grow wild.
California Poppy State Natural Reserve
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