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Old 09-08-2001, 11:40 AM
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Default Eschscholzia Californica, var. maritima?

Hello All,

I've just returned from Barnes & Nobel in Escondidoand found a book a $40 book no less! totally devoted toPoppies. Well, Dan suggested that I do a littledetective work to discover just what type of 'e. californicais on my property. After seeing the photos in the bookI'm more confused than before.

According to the Sunset book, what I could have in mygrove is 'e.caespitosa'. Not quite! Because myflowers are about 1 3/4' in diameter; they are not bright yellow, but a yellow/orange, less bright that thetraditional cal poppy we all think of.

When I saw the photo in this book, it looked identicalto the poppies I have in my grove. I'm sure that thiswill not be settled until I either buy the book,or hope the library has it. Only then will I beconfident that I have identified 'my' flowercorrectly. There are 3 plants on our 3.5 acresand I would like to propagate them if at all possible.How do I harvest the seeds? Get them to sprout?It could take a long time to get enough plants to'repatriate' this part of my property!

BTW, can anyone tell me where I can get the seedsfor this E.californica, var. 'maritima' or any ofthe variations of E. calif.?

Many thanks for taking the time to respond!

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Old 09-10-2001, 08:35 AM
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Default Re: Eschscholzia Californica, var. maritima?

Alain,Well, we know it is not eschscholzia caespitosa. That is a tiny plant only 5 to 8' tall with pale yellow flowers1/2 to 3/4' wide roughly.It may not also be E. maritima since it does have a bit of orange in there. E. mar. is usually a nice yellow and seldom has a slight bit of orange down at the base of the petals where the pistil attaches. I have found in my garden at Golden West College that when E. cal and E. maritima cross they often produce progeny with flowers the size and color you describe. Poppies are notorious for cross polinating and that could certaily have happened to your area. If I was sure it was E. maritima i would try to find the closest seed source to your land and harvest the seed from them. Not all of the seeds! We need to leave some for the area to reseed. Simply pick the long green seed 'capsules' when they begin to turn color but before they pop open. Keep them in a paper sack in a dark and somewhat cool place. By late fall they should have popped open. If not, you can peel them open revealing the very tiny seeds within. This proceedure works on your own poppies as well. THIS IS NOT something you can do on public lands however. If I knew what area of the state perhaps either I or others on this board could help you find a seed collectior nearby!As I mentioned before, If you are not close to a wild area, so that genetic polution is not a risk, it is possible to buy such seed from a supplier such as S&S Seed in Carpenteria. Perhaps you can ask them where their seed was harvested and so find out it was near you if you are very lucky. I belklieve they are wholesale and so perhaps you could purchase from Moon Mountain Wildflowers near them. They sell to the public and have a nice little catalog. Again, I advise bringing a few flowers to the CNPS meeting near you and asking the people there. They are quite likey to have a jepson manual and be able to key out the plant-more dependable ID than a photo book.Good luck! Dan</p>
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Old 09-12-2001, 01:34 AM
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Default Re: Eschscholzia Californica, var. maritima?

Alain and Dan -

There is a lot of confusion and disagreement over the designation of Eschscholzia californica var. maritima. A botanist who studies Eschscholzia Curtis Clark of Cal Poly Pomona? - Sorry, I don't have my Jepson handy! eliminated the varietal status in his treatment. I believe he attributed a rather narrow coastal range to that plant - something like Monterey County to San Mateo County.

From San Mateo County all the way up the Mendocino coast, we have a poppy that fits the bill. Don't get hung up on flower color, but consider the rest of the plant. It has thicker, very glaucus leaves, leaves all the way up the short flower stem, and is perennial. All the plants I have seen away from Hwy. 1 and the orange 'CalTrans' interlopers range in flower color from pure yellow to yellow with a bit or orange at the base.

I don't know of this form occurring inland - it is found only on the immediate coast. I have, however, seen other forms of Eschscholzia in valley and foothill areas with yellow or golden-yellow flowers. There seem to be a lot of local variants with regard to flower color.

Conclusion: I don't think the plant formerly known as E. calif. var. maritima occurs in Escondido, and it might not thrive there, either. Alain, you should collect seeds from your local poppies and grow more of them, since each regional form is unique and precious. I use those little cloth bags from the tobacco store sometimes find them in other stores - don't know what 'normal' people do with them and tighten the drawstring around the pod. Sun and air can still get in, and when the pod ripens and pops open, you have yourself some seeds.

Meanwhile, if people think the former var. maritima does occur in Southern California, I'd like to hear about it. One suspects more work needs to be done on the genus Eschscholzia!


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