The first of the californian poppies are blooming. The stunning flowers are so orange yellow they’re almost psychedelic:

new cal poppy

Californian poppy, Eschscholzia californica, is used in herbal medicine as a remedy for insomnia, anxiety, and pain.

Tasting the leaf, it is quite bitter. Not overwhelmingly so (I didn’t need to spit it out), but you wouldn’t want to eat alot. This suggests that it’s a medicine with some strength to it, but not immediately toxic. It’s generally considered a safe plant when used in moderation.

You can make a tincture from the whole plant in flower (including the root).

Finnish herbalist, Henriette Kress, says cal poppy helps people coming off opiates, by diminishing cravings – the alkaloids are similar to opium poppy but not the same. Cal poppy is related to the opium poppy but isn’t addictive. High doses of cal poppy may alter consciousness somewhat but not in a recreational way.

Cal poppy grows in hot, dry climates, and stands out in many sparse places. The flowers vary from orange to yellow to, more rarely, cream. Here’s a close up of the flower bud with its pink lower edge. Not sure if you can see this but there is also a delicate pink edging to the leaves as well. The leaf colour is a bit off (I really have to get a decent camera), but it does show the bluey green grey tone that is characteristic of this plant.

cal poppy bud