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The California Poppy, Eschschoizia Californica is State Flower

Updated on December 31, 2017
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

California Poppy

The State Flower of California is this California Poppy
The State Flower of California is this California Poppy | Source

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 above was taken at Guenoc Winery which is located in Lake County, north of Napa and Sonoma.

California Poppies

This California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) was growing on a yard
This California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) was growing on a yard | Source

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.

Looking out from the Lillie Langtry home at California poppies growing in wild abandon.
Looking out from the Lillie Langtry home at California poppies growing in wild abandon. | Source

California Poppy

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.

Learn how the California Poppy got its official name and how to grow it here in this video.

California Poppies

Have you enjoyed seeing vistas punctuated with California poppies?

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Masses of California Poppies

Masses of California Poppies
Masses of California Poppies | Source

Remembrance Poppies

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.

Founder of Memorial Poppy, Moina Michael

Moina Michael, promoter of Poppy Day observance, commemorated in US postage stamp of 1948.
Moina Michael, promoter of Poppy Day observance, commemorated in US postage stamp of 1948. | Source

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.

In Flanders Fields and Other Poems
In Flanders Fields and Other Poems

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.

 
Eschscholzia californica
Eschscholzia californica | Source

Poppies

Do you or have you ever worn a Remembrance Poppy?

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Poppies

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"
California poppy "Purple Cream" | Source

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.

© 2016 Peggy Woods

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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      It pleases me that you learned about the symbolism associated with poppies. They are a pretty flowering plant. We grew some of them when we lived in Wisconsin many years ago.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      2 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      These orange poppies are so lovely and I had not the faintest idea that poppies were celebrated as a remembrance symbol or that various colors of these poppies symbolized different things. Thanks to adding to my knowledge.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      Poppies really are an attractive flower. I grew some in our Wisconsin yard.

      Wearing those red poppies during Veteran's Day was often done when I was a child. I no longer see people doing it today. Perhaps in smaller towns it is still more commonly done? It is a nice remembrance of what our soldiers and veterans do/did to keep our country safe. All of the men in my family including my brothers, dad and grandfathers all served our country in one of the armed forces.

      Thanks for your visit. Sending Angels to surround you and your family.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      5 months ago from sunny Florida

      I still buy those little red poppies whenever I find Veterans selling them as my Daddy served in several wars and taught us to love our country despite whatever failings we perceived it to have.

      When I was a young girl we had poppies growing on our property...some not as many as a whole field full of them though. Great article...now I am thinking I may need to add some poppies to my yard. Angels on the way ps

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      11 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Kari,

      That must have been so wonderful to see all of those wild blooming poppies when you lived in California.

      Hi Kenna,

      Good luck this year in planting them again. Hope you have better luck!

    • Kenna McHugh profile image

      Kenna McHugh 

      11 months ago from Northern California

      Peggy,

      True. I will try again this spring. I haven't given up.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      11 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Kenna,

      Too bad you have not had luck in getting poppies to naturalize in your yard. At least you can enjoy them in the wild in many places in California.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      11 months ago from Ohio

      When I lived in southern California, in the mountains outside of San Diego, we had wild poppies. They were my favorite flower of the spring.

    • Kenna McHugh profile image

      Kenna McHugh 

      11 months ago from Northern California

      Being a Californian, I have planted these in my yard, but they don't stay. I think that is odd.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      11 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mary,

      It is actually a state natural reserve. Whether they make a national park out of it or not, at least it is set aside so that the public will be able to enjoy this area filled with poppies long into the future. You certainly do have a beautiful state flower!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      11 months ago from Brazil

      I am from California so I love our state poppy. I didn't know the Latin name and I didn't know there was there was a national park for them.

      I lived many years in the UK and there, poppy day (remembrance day) is widely supported by wearing a red lapel poppy.

      Interesting article about my home state flower.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Sharon,

      That field near your parent's house full of poppies must have been spectacular. Nice that you still buy your poppies from the American Legion. :)

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Shyron,

      Yes...I also love the meaning of the poppy as well as the beautiful flowers. Hope you are enjoying your summer and staying cool.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      2 years ago from America

      When I was a child there was a field by our house full of Californian poppies. They were so pretty. I still always get a poppy and wear it from American Legion. Enjoyed your hub.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      2 years ago from Texas

      Your photos are gorgeous. I love the Poppy and what it stands for.

      I love the bright orange color.

      Thank you Peggy.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      Glad you liked this hub about the California Poppies and thanks for the shares.

      Yes...it is blistering hot down here as well. We are walking in air conditioned malls these days and not as much outside to get some exercise. During the week the one we go to is not that crowded and it goes in a large circle with an inner circle for the food court. Nice! Stay as cool as you are able and drink plenty of water!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      2 years ago from North Texas

      I love poppies and your photos here are beautiful as always! I've pinned this to my 'Yellow & Orange IV' board. Great info here as always, too! Also sharing with followers.

      Hope you're managing to stay cool. The heat is so oppressive here with the high humidity.

      Checked to see if a previous comment on the e-cig article might have gone into the spam folder, but I found none there. Strange things happen on this site anymore, so anything is possible.

      Only 4 more months until civil temperatures return! :) Take care . . .

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Graham,

      Your praise is high indeed. Many thanks!

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 

      2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Peggy. A first class hub indeed. Your enthusiasm and research stand out like a beacon. The presentation and quality of your hub is the quality to which we should all aspire. Well done, tip top.

      Graham.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Jackie,

      It would seem that many of us of a certain age remember those crepe paper poppies and you even made them. Nice that you enjoyed the naturalized ones in a former home of yours. They certainly are beautiful! Thanks for the share.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      They are so pretty and my mom taught me to make the crepe paper ones when I was very young and one property I owned years ago was just filled with poppies and it was the first time I had ever seen them live and I looked forward to them every year and didn't do a thing to help them be so beautiful.

      Sharing.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Alicia,

      So nice that the California poppy thrives where you live. I have not seen it in nurseries here so our growing conditions are undoubtedly not right. I agree that they are certainly pretty.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the California poppy. It's used as part of landscaping where I live. I'm always happy to see its beautiful blooms. Thanks for sharing the facts and the lovely images, Peggy.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Frank,

      I would love to see that California Poppy State Natural Preserve someday or fields of poppies just like that. Amazing!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Will,

      We share those same memories. In other countries from what I have read people still do wear poppies. Glad you liked this.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      2 years ago from Shelton

      yeah the state flower is amazing.. love the field in the last photo.. a good lit share Peggy W

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I too remember Poppy Day. It was an important day of remembrance when I was a little boy. Now it's Memorial Day of course..

      This is a fine Hub, Peggy!

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