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Eschscholzia californica

Higher Taxonomy
Family: PapaveraceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to small tree; sap colorless, yellow, orange, red, or white. Leaf: basal, cauline, or both, simple and entire, toothed, or lobed, or 1--3-pinnate-dissected or compound; cauline generally alternate; stipules 0. Inflorescence: terminal, 1-flowered or cyme, raceme, or panicle; bracts generally present. Flower: bisexual, radial, bilateral, or biradial; sepals 2--3, shed after flower; petals generally 2 × sepals in number; stamens generally many; ovary 1, superior, chamber 1, style 0 or 1, stigmas or lobes 2--many, ovules few to many. Fruit: capsule, dehiscent by valves or pores, +- nut, or breaking transversely into 1-seeded, indehiscent units. Seed: fleshy appendage generally 0.
Genera In Family: 25--30 genera, 200 species: northern temperate, northern tropics; some cultivated (Papaver, Eschscholzia, Hunnemannia), source of opiates. Note: Stylomecon moved to Papaver. Corydalis, Dicentra, Fumaria in Fumariaceae in FNANM, elsewhere. Glaucium flavum Crantz is a waif. According to FNANM (3:300--301), Hunnemannia fumariifolia Sweet (+- like Eschscholzia except sepals free) an occasional waif in California, but documentation evidently lacking. Fleshy appendage of seed sometimes for dispersal by ants.
eFlora Treatment Author: Gary L. Hannan & Curtis Clark, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: EschscholziaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb; sap colorless or orange. Leaf: basal or basal and cauline, 1--4-pinnate-dissected, segments narrow. Inflorescence: cyme, 1--many-flowered. Flower: receptacle funnel-shaped, tip cupped around ovary base, outer receptacle rim occasionally spreading; sepals 2, fused, shed as unit at flower; petals generally 4 (except doubled flowers), free, obovate or wedge-shaped, generally yellow to orange (white or pink), shed after flower leaving crown-like membrane (inner receptacle rim); stamens 12--many, free; carpels 2, style 0, stigma lobes 4--8, spreading, linear. Fruit: oblong, dehiscent from base. Seed: many, 1--2 mm, round to ovate, net-ridged, prominent-discontinuous-ridged, or minutely pitted, tan, brown, or black.
Species In Genus: 12 species: western North America. Etymology: (J.F.G. von Eschscholtz, Russian surgeon, botanist, 1793--1831)

Eschscholzia californica Cham.
Habit: Annual (or perennial herb from heavy taproot), erect or spreading, 5--60 cm, glabrous, occasionally glaucous. Leaf: segments obtuse or acute. Flower: bud erect, acute to long-pointed, glabrous, occasionally glaucous; receptacle obconic, with spreading rim 0.5--5 mm; petals 20--60 mm, orange, or yellow, bases generally orange. Fruit: 3--9 cm. Seed: 1.5--1.8 mm wide, round to elliptic, net-ridged, brown to black. Chromosomes: 2n=12.
Ecology: Grassy, open areas; Elevation: < 2500 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP, MP, w SNE, DMoj; Distribution Outside California: to southern Washington, Nevada, New Mexico, northwestern Baja California. Flowering Time: Feb--Sep Note: Highly variable, with > 90 taxa described; further study needed to determine if Eschscholzia californica subsp. mexicana (Greene) C. Clark (annual; cotyledons entire; DMtns), Eschscholzia procera Greene (pl large; southern SNF) deserve taxonomic recognition.
Synonyms: Eschscholzia californica var. peninsularis Munz;
Jepson eFlora Author: Gary L. Hannan & Curtis Clark
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botanical illustration including Eschscholzia californica


Citation for this treatment: Gary L. Hannan & Curtis Clark 2012, Eschscholzia californica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on November 21, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on November 21, 2018.

Eschscholzia californica
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© 2009 Keir Morse
Eschscholzia californica
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Eschscholzia californica
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Eschscholzia californica
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© 2017 Barry Rice
Eschscholzia californica
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© 2011 California Academy of Sciences
Eschscholzia californica
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© 2006 Steve Matson

More photos of Eschscholzia californica in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Eschscholzia californica:
CA-FP, MP, w SNE, DMoj;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.