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Vascular Plants of California
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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-ternate-dissected, segments narrow to wide. 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 8--many, free; carpels 2, style 0, stigma lobes 4, 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.
Etymology: (J.F.G. von Eschscholtz, Russian surgeon, botanist, 1793--1831)
eFlora Treatment Author: Shannon M. Still, Gary Hannan & Curtis Clark
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; cotyledons with 2 linear lobes. Inflorescence: 1--many-flowered, each pedicel subtended by a leaf. Flower: bud erect, acute to long-pointed, glabrous, occasionally glaucous; receptacle obconic, with spreading rim 0.5--5 mm; petals 15--30 mm, orange, or yellow, bases often orange, especially in cooler growing conditions. Fruit: 3--9 cm. Seed: 1.5--1.8 mm wide, round to elliptic, net-ridged, brown to black. Chromosomes: 2n=12.
Ecology: Grassy or open areas; Elevation: < 2500 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP, MP, w SNE, w DMoj (Lancaster, Kern Co.); Distribution Outside California: to southern Washington, Nevada, New Mexico, northwestern Baja California. Naturalized in southeastern North America, Argentina, Australia, Chile, Europe, and South Africa. Flowering Time: Feb--Sep Note: Highly variable, with > 90 taxa described; further study needed to determine if Eschscholzia procera Greene (pl large; southern SNF) deserves taxonomic recognition.
Synonyms: Eschscholzia californica var. peninsularis Munz
Jepson eFlora Author: Shannon M. Still, Gary Hannan & Curtis Clark
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Eschscholzia californica

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Citation for this treatment: Shannon M. Still, Gary Hannan & Curtis Clark 2023, Eschscholzia californica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 12,, accessed on April 20, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 20, 2024.

Eschscholzia californica
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©2009 Barry Rice
Eschscholzia californica
click for enlargement
©2009 Barry Rice
Eschscholzia californica
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©2008 Keir Morse
Eschscholzia californica
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©2002 California Academy of Sciences
Eschscholzia californica
click for enlargement
©2009 Keir Morse

More photos of Eschscholzia californica
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Eschscholzia californica:
CA-FP, MP, w SNE, w DMoj (Lancaster, Kern Co.)
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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).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
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All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

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 (fruiting time in some monocot genera).