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California Poppy (Eschschoizia Californica): State Flower of California

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The State Flower of California is this California Poppy

The State Flower of California is this California Poppy

Beautiful State Flower of California

Eschschoizia Californica is the official name of what is commonly called the California poppy.

My husband and I saw their fields abloom on one of our vacation trips up to the California wine country. The photo above was at Guenoc Winery, which is in Lake County, north of Napa and Sonoma.

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

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 known as the Golden State since the golden hues of poppies are frequently in view 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.

Blooming Timeframe

The California poppy has a long blooming time ranging from February to 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 ablaze with them almost as far as the eye could see. This flower grows profusely as a perennial in many places. It is also grown in other locations as an annual.

California Poppies

Masses of California Poppies

Masses of California Poppies

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 began in 1919, and any veteran honorably discharged from military service 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 plus mentoring is available. Depending upon which American Legion one might join or where it is, 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.

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 took inspiration from 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.

We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led,

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies.

— Moina Michael

Eschscholzia californica

Eschscholzia californica


Not surprisingly, the poppy, as a remembrance symbol, stirs some worldwide 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 honor animals who may have died during war?
Pacifists occasionally wear white poppies. That is not surprising as white generally symbolizes peace, or in some cases as that of waving a white flag, surrender.

Whatever 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.

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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, additionally for their symbolism.

California poppy "Purple Cream"

California poppy "Purple Cream"

California Poppy State Natural Reserve

This location is undoubtedly where my aunt took her photos, and this natural reserve is 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, these California poppies grow wild.

Through the dancing poppies stole A breeze, most softly lulling to my soul.

— John Keats


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 27, 2019:

Hi Nithya,

The California poppies are truly pretty, especially when getting to see vast fields of them in bloom. I am happy to share the fact of them serving as remembrance symbols as well. Thanks for your comment.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 27, 2019:

The California poppies look so beautiful and they are special as they serve as remembrance symbols. It must be awesome to see rows and rows of poppies in full bloom. Enjoyed reading about California poppies, thank you for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 07, 2019:

Hi Aurelio,

People do the same thing here in Texas about the bluebonnets as they do in California with the poppies. It is easy to discover beautiful fields of bluebonnets coming up ahead when one sees numerous cars parked on the side of the road up ahead. Hope you enjoyed your show of poppies this year, as we have our bluebonnets.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 06, 2019:

This was recently in full bloom because of the rains here in Southern California. People were actually causing traffic jams on the freeway because they would pull over to wander among the wild poppies growing on the wild hillsides nearby.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 20, 2018:

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 Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 19, 2018:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 30, 2018:

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.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on June 30, 2018:

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 I am thinking I may need to add some poppies to my yard. Angels on the way ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 01, 2018:

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 from Northern California on January 01, 2018:


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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 31, 2017:

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.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on December 31, 2017:

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 from Northern California on December 31, 2017:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 31, 2017:

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!

Mary Wickison from USA on December 30, 2017:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 14, 2016:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 14, 2016:

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 from America on July 14, 2016:

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 from Texas on July 13, 2016:

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

I love the bright orange color.

Thank you Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 12, 2016:

Hi Au fait,

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

C E Clark from North Texas on July 08, 2016:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 08, 2016:

Hi Graham,

Your praise is high indeed. Many thanks!

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on April 08, 2016:

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.


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 20, 2016:

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 from the beautiful south on March 20, 2016:

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.


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 19, 2016:

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.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 19, 2016:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 19, 2016:

Hi Frank,

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 19, 2016:

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 from Shelton on March 18, 2016:

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

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on March 18, 2016:

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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