Papaver heterophyllum (Benth.) Greene

Wind Poppy
Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)


Wind poppy used to be the only species of genus Stylomecon in California, but it has now been placed in Papaver.  It is a simple, ± glabrous annual with clear yellowish sap, and grows to about 2' tall.  It is often found in chaparral, grasslands and oak woodlands, especially after fires, and blooms from April to May.  The upper cauline leaves are deeply pinnately lobed and the lower and basal leaves are simple, wider and with toothed or notched margins.  The flowers are on 2"-4" stems rising from the leaf axils and are solitary with four showy orange-red wedge-shaped petals with a dark brown to purple blotch at the base.  There are many free stamens and a single short style with a head-like stigma, which is distinctive and characteristic enough to have given this plant its generic name.  The fruit is a club- shaped to obovoid capsule with yellowish ribs, dehiscent by flaps below the tip, and containing many reniform brown to black seeds.  It is an occasional resident on grassy and brushy slopes below 4000' from Baja to central California and the Channel Islands, however these pictures were taken at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Papaver 2) heterophyllum.
Pronunciation: pap-AY-ver het-er-OH-fil-um.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.
Formerly Stylomecon heterophylla.


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