The Sonoran Desert Florilegium

plants of the florilegium

Eschscholzia californica ssp. mexicana
Mexican gold poppy

FAMILY:  Papaveraceae — Poppy family

ETYMOLOGY:  The genus Eschscholzia was named for the naturalist Johann Friedrich Gustav von Eschscholtz by his colleague, the botanist Adelbert von Chamisso who first described and named the plant in 1820.

DESCRIPTION:
The Mexican gold poppy is one of the showiest desert spring annuals. In good years with abundant winter rainfall, golden displays will blanket the desert.

The four petals of the Mexican gold poppy form a cup 1-2" wide. At the base of each petal is an orange area that is often quite well defined. The flowers grow individually on a long leafless stem and begin to bloom as early as February. It is pollinated by the tiny blister beetle. The combination of blue-green stems and leaves, along with the golden-yellow flower, make a striking color combination. The Mexican gold poppy grows in more arid regions than the similar and larger California poppy, Eschscholzia californica.