Mexican Gold Poppy

Eschscholzia californica mexicana

Photo Eschscholzia californica mexicana © by Mike Plagens

North Maricopa Mountains, Maricopa Co., Arizona. 27 Jan. 2019.

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ANNUAL HERB: In the Sonoran Desert great shows of this poppy are dependent on an abundance of winter rains during Nov-Feb. Most years a few spotty flowers can be found but in drought years nary a one. 

LEAVES: Finely dissected leaves appear compound and are glabrous (smooth, without texture/hairs).

RANGE : Upper and Lower Colorado Sonoran Desert particularly on flats and gentle bajada slopes. Texas to California and Mexico. Picacho Peak, Arizona is a well-known location to see great expanses of spring poppies after wet winters.

FLOWERS : Bright golden, yellow-orange, with five petals, and with numerous stamens. Occasionally paler yellow or even white blooms can be found. Blooming mostly Feb-Apr.  The green sepals that cover the bloom before opening form a cap over the developing bud and are shed as a unit when the flower opens.

Papaveraceae -- Poppy Family

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 17 Feb. 2008,
updated 13 May 2020.