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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
eFlora Treatment Author: Gary L. Hannan & Curtis Clark
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botanical illustration including Eschscholzia californica


Citation for this treatment: Gary L. Hannan & Curtis Clark 2016. Eschscholzia californica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 01, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 01, 2016.

Eschscholzia californica
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© 2006 Steve Matson
Eschscholzia californica
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© 2008 Neal Kramer
Eschscholzia californica subsp. mexicana
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© 2014 California Academy of Sciences
Eschscholzia californica
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© 2014 Neal Kramer
Eschscholzia californica
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© 2008 Neal Kramer
Eschscholzia californica
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© 2016 California Academy of Sciences

More photos of Eschscholzia californica in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Eschscholzia californica:
CA-FP, MP, w SNE, DMoj;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
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.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.