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Matilija Poppy Blooming

"Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) Papaveraceae (poppy family) is a glabrous, shrubby perennial, heavy branched and woody at the base, growing to eight feet tall.

"The showy white flowers are the largest of any plant native to California, and look like fried eggs.

There are 5-8 per stem and the six petals are usually crinkled with many yellow stamens and a single large pistil.

"The three sepals are glabrous, which differentiates it from the other Romneya species, trichocalyx, which has bristly or appressed-hairy sepals.

"The leaves are alternate and have 3-5 main segments which are somewhat dentate or cleft.
"Matilija poppy inhabits dry washes and canyons below 4000' in coastal sage scrub and chaparral away from the immediate coast.

"It is an occasional resident in the Peninsular Ranges, but is more common in the Santa Ana Mts to San Diego County, being found also in the Santa Monica Mountains where it was probably begun by transplanting.

"It blooms from May to July.

"The name Matilija appears to be of Chumash origin, and there is a Matilija Canyon above the community of Ojai and a Matilija Creek in the Los Padres National Forest...". (caption source and more detailed information)

Drought resistant perennial, poppy family, abundant on San Jose de la Zorra Kumeyaay Indian lands. Cattle and grazing animals avoid the plant because of its poison yellow sap which allows the plant to flourish over grazelands.

Local names for this Kumeyaay flower, white pedaled plant with yellow blossums are cowboy's fried egg.

Special thanks to Dr. Paul Ganster, San Diego, who spotted a major error on KUMEYAAY.INFO's original caption, and pointed the webmaster to the CALFLORA.NET information page.

Photos, Writing and Web Page Design Contributed by webmaster, GARY G BALLARD, San Diego.

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