CALIFORNIAN POPPY

Eschscholzia californica

Poppy Family [Papaveraceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8orange
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ4
stem
stem8round
toxicity
toxicityZmedium

4th July 2016, a garden, Old Clough Lane, Walkden, M/cr Photo: © RWD
Californian Poppy are the orange-coloured flowers growing amongst off-white coloured Yarrow, bluish-purple coloured Argentinian Vervain, red coloured Common Poppy, blue-coloured Love-in-a-Mist, pale-purple-coloured Snapdraggon, purple-coloured Foxglove, deep-purple coloured Corn-cockle and white and yellow-coloured Oxeyeye Daisy from a so-called wild-flower mix of seeds.


8th June 2016, beyond a garden, Waterloo, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Single orange-yellow flowers atop a little-branched stem with finely-divided glaucous-green leaves. Grows to 60cm. (The arrow-shaped leaves of Teasel are in the background). The sap is watery rather than with a milky-white, yellow or orange latex of some other Poppies.


8th June 2016, beyond a garden, Waterloo, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
With 4 orange to yellow petals.


8th June 2016, beyond a garden, Waterloo, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Petals overlapping when still directed upwards. Leaves compoundly pinnate and glaucous-green. A short, green, central style with stigma which is deeply-lobed 4 to 6 times.


8th June 2016, beyond a garden, Waterloo, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
With numerous yellow to orange stamens and concolorous anthers. Style being propelled upwards by elongating fruit.


8th June 2016, beyond a garden, Waterloo, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Flower lacks sepals but has a persistent pinkish disc just around the bottom.


8th June 2016, beyond a garden, Waterloo, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Numerous orange to yellow concolorous stamens and anthers surround a ripening and elongating fruit with short style split into 4 to 6 stigmas at the tip.


8th June 2016, beyond a garden, Waterloo, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Leaves glaucous-green, hairless, and compoundly pinnate. Leaflets linear.


8th June 2016, beyond a garden, Waterloo, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


8th June 2016, beyond a garden, Waterloo, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
It looks like the leaflets are tipped with hydathodes from which excess water can escape.


8th June 2016, beyond a garden, Waterloo, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Developing fruit, some surrounded by developing leaves.


8th June 2016, beyond a garden, Waterloo, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A pink disc demarcates elongating fruit from its stem.


4th July 2016, a garden, Old Clough Lane, Walkden, M/cr Photo: © RWD
The fruit (a capsule) can get surprisingly long, between 7-10cm (but not as long as those of Yellow Horned-Poppy which can exceed 25cm and are curved).


4th July 2016, a garden, Old Clough Lane, Walkden, M/cr Photo: © RWD
Pink discoids still in place, which wither brown.


4th July 2016, a garden, Old Clough Lane, Walkden, M/cr Photo: © RWD
The capsule has a single cell and opens along its whole length by 2 valves.


4th July 2016, a garden, Old Clough Lane, Walkden, M/cr Photo: © RWD
Seed pods like a tapered metal-reamer (with grooves).


Not to be semantically confused with : Californian Buckeye (Aesculus californica), Californian Cypress (Hesperocyparis goveniana) or Californian Incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) [trees with with similar names] nor with Californian Honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata), Californian Fuchsia (Zauschneria californica) or Yellow-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium californicum) [more plants with similar names].

Easily mistaken for : the orange-coloured Yellow-juiced Poppy [aka Long-Headed Poppy] (Papaver lecoqii) but that has triangular leaflets (rather than linear and glaucous), is roughly-hairy (rather than glabrous), has short and slightly-bulging seed pods (rather than long) which is topped by a conical cap and a latex which is either yellow (or quickly turns yellow in air, before drying to a reddish colour) [rather than having a watery sap].

Some similarities to : Atlas Poppy (Papaver atlanticum) but that has yellower flowers, linear leaves with triangular teeth (rather than pinnate) and also a short seed pod topped by a flattish cap.

Easily mis-identified as : Yellow Horned-Poppy (Glaucium flavum) but that has yellow flowers and grows only near the shoreline on shingle, has a yellow latex (rather than watery) and pods which are exceptionally long (15-30cm) and curved.

It is an introduced plant from California and South-West North America which is widely planted in gardens as a summer bedding plant but it also grows wild on tips and roadsides, and perennates on walls, dunes and cliff-tops in Guernsey and in quarries and beside railways in Kent.

Like most poppies it contains toxic isoquinoline alkaloids, but as is usual, many that differ from those contained in other Poppies.

ISOQUINOLINE ALKALOIDS

bis-ISOQUINOLINES
At first glance the four alkaloids below appear to have an 8-membered ring, but that is just the way they are drawn, the 8-membered ring consists of two conjoined 6-membered rings. They are, in fact, still Isoquinolines, or more correctly BisIsoQuinolines, albeit fused ones.


Escholtzine is the simplest, appearing to be a dimer, but is not. The rings are not bilaterally symmetric either because the bridging nitrogen atom straddles the 8-membered carbon ring diagonally.


Californidine is almost identical to Escholtzine but for the extra Methyl group on the nitrogen atom, bestowing that with a positive electrical charge, making it a Zwitterion. This molecule is still not dimeric.


Caryachine is Escholtzine with one of the terminating 1,3- Dioxolane rings being broken.


NeoCarachine-7-O-Methyl- Ether-N-MethoSalt has two ether groups, one displaced in comparison to Californidine. With a separated positive charge like Californidine, it too is a Zwitterion.



BENZYLISOQUINOLINES

Protopine is a BenzylIsoQuinoline alkaloid found also in Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum), the tubers of Corydalis species and in other plants belonging to the Papaveraceae family. In the centre is a 10-membered ring obviously formed by the breaking of a bond in two fused 6-membered rings. It is symmetrical.



APORPHINES

N-MethylLauroTetanine is an aporphine isoquinoline alkaloid found in Californian Poppy.


BENZOPHENANTHRIDINES

Sanguinarine, Chelirubine and Macarpine are toxic polycyclic quaternary BenzoPhenAnthridines.


 Sanguinarine is a blood-red toxin which is also found in Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus) and the non-natives: Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), Mexican Prickly Poppy (Argemone mexicana) and in Five-seeded Plume-Poppy (Macleaya cordata). Sanguinarine causes apoptosis (cell death) of human cancer cells and may prove useful in cancer treatment but is so far unapproved.


 Chelirubine has been used for Centuries in traditional Chinese medication. It exhibits a blue fluorescence under UV illumination and will intercalate with DNA where it has applications in medical research: by making the intercalated DNA fluoresce red (not blue) in near-UV light it highlights the red-glowing DNA strands against a glowing blue sea. Within Californian Poppy Chelirubine also produces Macarpine and DiHydroMacarpine (the latter not show).


Compared to Chelirubine, Macarpine has an extra ether group. Your Author does not know what colour Macarpine might possess.


  Eschscholzia californica  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Papaveraceae  

Distribution
 family8Poppy family8Papaveraceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Eschscholzia
Eschscholzia
(Californian Poppy)

CALIFORNIAN POPPY

Eschscholzia californica

Poppy Family [Papaveraceae]