CALIFORNIA POPPY: INTRODUCTION
The California Poppy Plant (Eschscholzia californica) is a flower native to the United States and Mexico. It is commonly known as the “Golden Poppy” because of its beautiful golden appearance. The flower thrives on the west coast of the United States, mainly in Oregon, Washington and California. It is in the same family as the opium poppy (Papver somniferum), and it is the state flower of Califonia. It became the official state flower in 1903. This flower is mainly used for ornamental purposes, but it is sometimes used for medicinal and cooking purposes as well. It is not as commercially significant as the opium poppy, which is cultivated to produce morphine, codeine, and other opiates, but it is extremely popular in gardening for its beautiful appearance. I have included a full list uses for this amazing plant below.
Learn How to Make Poppy Seed Tea on this related post!
California Poppy eBook
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CALIFORNIA POPPY: DETAILED GUIDE
The California Poppy Plant is a member of the Papaveraceae Family which contains over 700 species of flowering plants. This family is informally known as “The Poppy Family,” and contains multiple species which are commercially important. The most commercially viable member of this family is the opium poppy plant, Papaver somniferum. The opium poppy has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes, especially for pain management. Two compounds are naturally produced from the opium poppy plant, morphine and codeine. The California poppy plant does not contain these same alkaloids, but it has also been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years.
The Native Americans were the first to use the California Poppy as an herbal remedy. They would produce an extract from the plant which could be used as a sedative or for anti-anxiety purposes. They commonly smoked the extract, but its effects were much milder than smoking opium from the related opium poppy plant. The use of the California Poppy extract was studied to see if it possessed antidepressant, anti-anxiety, antihistaminic or analgesic properties. When studied in mice, the extract mainly impacted the brain as a benzodiazepine, which effects the GABA receptor. It also acted as a mild analgesic, which means it could help reduce pain.
Discover whether the related opium poppy seeds can cause a positive drug test.
California State Flower
The California Poppy Plant (Eschscholzia californica) is the official state flower of California. To trace the history of this plant becoming the state flower, it is best to start in the late 1800’s. In 1890, the California Floral Society held a competition to name the state’s official flower. The flowers included in the competition were the Golden Poppy (already referred to as the California Poppy), the Mariposa Lilly, and the Matilija Poppy. The Golden Poppy on by a landside, but the road to become the official state flower would take several more years. After the Floral Society competition concluded, a woman named Sara Plummer Lemon started intense lobbying efforts to have the “Golden Poppy” listed as the state’s official flower. Sara was a botanist that initially moved to California in 1869 after falling ill and hearing from her friend that a trip to the state could help improve her health. During this period, she spent a majority of her time lobbying the state legislature tirelessly. She eventually wrote the actual bill which was passed by the California Legislature. It was signed into law by Governor George Pardee in 1903. It took 13 years after the floral society competition for the flower to officially become the state flower, but it was well worth the wait!
The state has designated April 6 as California Poppy Day.
CALIFORNIA POPPY: CONCLUSION
The California Poppy is a beautiful golden flower that is the state flower of California. It has some medicinal properties and has been used by Native Americans for its sedative and ant-anxiety properties. The effects are much milder than the opium poppy. It is related to the opium poppy, but does not contain the same strong opiate alkaloids.
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Do you have any other facts about the California Poppy? Please share them below!