california native flora

a drought tolerant patio garden of mostly natives

Matilija Poppy Journal

Romneya Coulteri – Matilija Poppy

May 14, 2010. - Matilija Poppy - Romneya Coulteri.
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Back when California was deciding on the official state flower Matilija Poppy was one of the three native plants considered. I don’t think many would have complained if it had won. When in bloom this is a spectacular plant. It’s a fast grower and can be invasive if the soil conditions are just so (light and fast draining). It’s not recommended for small gardens due to it’s potential to spread far and wide. Wary of this I’ve popped it in a planter to see how it does there. If it does thrive and flower, which I hope it does, it’ll be interesting to see if the seeds spread to adjacent properties. Chuckle chuckle.

Romneya Coulteri likes full sun and needs watered regularly through it’s first summer. After that the rains should be sufficient but a little supplemental water can’t hurt in times of severe drought. This plant is native to Southern California so it’s evolved to survive the harsh summers. Can reach 8′ tall, the spread is potentially unlimited popping up via rhizomes (horizontally spreading roots just under the surface). The flowers appear in late spring through early summer and resemble large fried eggs (sunny side up!). This plant often goes deciduous when summer temperatures peak so don’t worry if it looks dead – it’s probably not.

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Plant Meta Data

Common NameMatilija Poppy
Botanic NameRomneya Coulteri
Bloom PeriodSummer
Bloom Color
Light RequiredSun
Water ToleranceDrought
Potential Size (H x W)8' x 4'
NotesAttracts BeesFragrant


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June 5, 2011. - Matilija Poppy - Romneya Coulteri.May 14, 2010. - Matilija Poppy - Romneya Coulteri.May 10, 2010. - Matilija Poppy - Romneya Coulteri.Mar 29, 2010. - Matilija Poppy - Romneya Coulteri.Jan 10, 2010. - Matilija Poppy - Romneya Coulteri.Nov 8, 2009. - Matilija Poppy - Romneya Coulteri.