The orange or yellowish (less often white) flowers of eschscholzia californica
are between 1 and 2 inches in diameter, borne singly at the end of a green or brownish stalk; each has four petals, evenly colored from base to tip. The stamens are thin and lie close to the petal surface. The seed pod is a narrow, ribbed capsule, greenish brown to black in color, with a red-pink disc at the base. The poppy is widespread in desert areas, especially in south California, and has been the official flower of the state since 1906. One of the best places to view the plant is Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
, at the edge of the Mojave Desert near Lancaster.
There are several sub species of which the most common is ssp mexicana
, the Mexican gold poppy; here the stems are generally less tall, and flowers are more yellow in color, and darker at the base. The plant grows in the Sonoran Desert, eastwards as far as west Texas.