|Eschscholzia californica 'Wrinkled Rose'.|
California poppies, or Eschscholzia californica, are native to and are the state flower of California. The variety I grew this year is called 'Wrinkled Rose', a hybrid that is long-blooming and gorgeously pleated and colored.
|This Papaver somniferum is self-sown from previous years.|
The species name of this poppy, somniferum is from the Latin somnus meaning "sleep" and fero meaning "to bring," and refers to the coma-inducing properties of the plant's extracts.
You can also harvest the seeds from Papaver somniferum to use in baking. This is the flower from which poppy seeds are harvested.
|Papaver somniferum with double flowers.|
Seeds of the opium poppy do not contain appreciable levels of the alkaloids found in opium resin. And according to Christopher Grey-Wilson in his book, Poppies: A Guide to the Poppy Family in the Wild and in Cultivation, the seeds are also used for cooking oil, paint, soap, and to make food for livestock.
This year, although I don't recall planting them, I have some double-flowered bread poppies. These little beauties hold up quite well unless it rains.
Last year I planted a variety called 'Lauren's Grape', and it seems to have reseeded. The flower is aptly named, as it's the shade of ripe grapes, only a tad brighter.
I hope to have the patience to harvest seeds from some of the pods. I usually wait until they're dried and then pop them open and sprinkle them around to assure their presence in my garden next season.
One of the most varied poppies in my garden is Papaver rhoeas, also known as corn poppy or Shirley poppy.
Two of my favorite Shirley poppy mixes are Angel's Choir (from Thompson & Morgan), and 'Falling in Love'.
|Papaver rhoeas in a variety of colors|
I just love them all, for their crinkled petals as they begin to open, the picotee edges that provides a special highlight to an already beautiful flower, and their delicate demeanor. You can cut them as they first open and they'll brighten the indoors in a vase for at least two days. And that actually goes for all of them.