I don't want to take away from SP-members tarol and butitsadryheat, because they
really do have some amazing photos of these
Yes, it's the California Poppy, but they also grow here in central Arizona. And, I don't
have to spend an arm and a leg driving to
central California to see them.
Some people call them "little bits of
sunshine," which they are. Some people think
they were brought over here from Europe, but
it's the other way around. Once the California
Gold Rush ended, this native North American
species was brought to Chile, New Zealand, and
Australia by way of poppy seeds found in bags
of sand that the seafarers used as ballast for their ships.
On the hillsides of California, California
poppies tend to make their greatest shows on
grazed lands, since animals avoid eating the
bitter-tasting plants and eliminate most of
the poppies competition.
Indigenous natives of California boiled these
poppies, or roasted them on host stones, to eat as a green. The Costanoan Indians rubbed
a decoction of the flowers in the hair to kill
lice; the Indians of Mendocino County used a
poultice of fresh poppy root for toothaches
and topically applied extract for headaches
and sores; and Cahuilla women used the pollen
as a cosmetic and the whole plant as a
sedative for babies.
The flowers of the species varies from dark
yellow to orange, but plant breeders have
expanded the range to include white, pale
yellow, pink, purple, red and rose colours.
California poppy is pollinated by beetles, but
this job has been taken over by European
honey bees in certain areas. (That is, what's
LEFT of the European honey bees!) CHEERS!
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