California is a beautiful and vast state, affectionally nicknamed “The Golden State”. So, it is appropriate that the state flower chosen in 1903 is the golden-colored California Poppy (Eschscholtzia californica). The California Poppy is native to the state and turns empty green spaces into fields of gold when it blooms in vast numbers. April 6th is California Poppy Day and Poppy Week occurs every year from May 13th until May 18th.
Golden Poppies can also be called the Flame Flower, Copa de Oro (cup of gold), and la amapola. The blooms form 2-3 inch cups and are not always golden in color. These blooms can also be terra cotta, bronze, rose, scarlet, or white. They have many center stamens surrounded by four fan-shaped petals that are 1-2 inches across. California Poppies have a very long bloom season and can be seen from February to September in the state. Poppies are drought resistant, making them ideal for the California climate. They thrive all across the state and prefer open areas with loose soil like sandy slopes and grassy fields. Traditionally, the flowers were used by Native Americans of the state as a food source as well as extracting oil from the plants.