Edible uses


Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Eschscholzia californica.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The Californian poppy is a bitter sedative herb that acts as a diuretic, relieves pain, relaxes spasms and promotes perspiration[1]. The whole plant is harvested when in flower and dried for use in tinctures and infusions[1]. It is taken internally in the treatment of nervous tension, anxiety, insomnia and incontinence (especially in children)[1]. The watery sap is mildly narcotic and has been used to relieve toothache[1]. It is similar in its effect to the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) but is much milder in its action and does not depress the central nervous system[1]. Another report says that it has a markedly different effect upon the central nervous system, that it is not a narcotic but tends to normalize psychological function[2]. Its gently antispasmodic, sedative and analgesic actions make it a valuable herbal medicine for treating physical and psychological problems in children[2]. It may also prove beneficial in attempts to overcome bedwetting, difficulty in sleeping and nervous tension and anxiety[2]. An extract of the root is used as a wash on the breasts to suppress the flow of milk in lactating females[3][4].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow in mid spring or late summer to early autumn in a sunny border outdoors and only just cover the seed[5]. Autumn sown plants may require protection from frosts in cold winters[5]. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 weeks.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Eschscholzia californica. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a poor sandy soil and a sunny position[6][5] but is easily grown in an ordinary garden soil[7]. Succeeds in a hot dry position. Plants grow well in maritime climates[5]. A very ornamental plant, it is commonly grown in the flower garden and there are many named varieties[5]. This plant is the state flower of California[3]. Although a perennial it is usually quite short-lived and is more often grown as an annual in this country[8][1]. It can tolerate temperatures down to about -10°c, however, and often survives mild winters[8]. If the dead flowers are removed before they set seed the plant will continue flowering for a longer period[9]. A polymorphic species[10]. Plants resent root disturbance and should be sown in situ[5]. The flowers are very attractive to bees[6]. They close during wet or overcast weather[1]. Plants often self-sow if the soil is disturbed by some means such as hoeing[5].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Eschscholzia californica. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Eschscholzia californica.




None listed.


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Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Eschscholzia californica
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
  • Maritime exposure
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  2. ? Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  3. ? Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers. Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-2624-6 (1993-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.1 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  5. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 International Bee Research Association. Garden Plants Valuable to Bees. International Bee Research Association. (1981-00-00)
  7. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30936-9 (1991-00-00)
  9. ? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 Munz. A California Flora. University of California Press (1959-00-00)
  11. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  12. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  13. ? Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
  14. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-60