April 6, 2010
Every year since 2010, April 6 is California Poppy Day celebrating the California State Flower.
Back in 1903, the botanist Sara Plummer Lemmon created legislation to make the golden poppy (Eschscholzia californica) the state flower of California.
The botanical name Eschscholzia comes from a last name. In 1817, a Russian expedition hired a doctor named Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz. When the ship ended up in the San Francisco Bay, the crew’s botanist, Adelbert von Chamisso ("Sha-ME-So"), went out and explored the countryside around the Bay. He soon discovered the California poppy and named it Eschscholzia californica after his friend, Eschscholtz - the ship’s doctor.
Today on Poppy Day, Californians often celebrate by visiting bloom sites in the mountains.
Native to the United States and Mexico, the California Poppy is also known as the flame flower, la amapola (“la ah-ma-POH-la”), and copa de oro (“co-pa-day OR-oh”) (cup of gold).
Spaniards called the poppies Dormidera (“dor-ME-dair-ah”), meaning “sleepyhead” because the flowers close at the slightest change in light or even climate - the petals close every evening, on cloudy days, or even on windy days.
Today, April 6th, is California Poppy Day, and May 13th - 18th is Poppy Week.