Papaveraceae: Poppy Family — Various (excluding poppies)

This family has mostly regular, shallowly saucer-shaped flowers.  There are usually 4 or 6 petals, and half that number of sepals.  Sepals typically fall away when the flower opens.  This page shows the family members not named “poppy”.

Golden Eardrops – Ehrendorferia chrysantha

Blooms:

Apr–Sept

Plant Height:

50–160 cm

Flower Size:

Large

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Dry slopes, burns and other disturbed areas below 1100 m

Notes:

This is easily recognized by its unusually shaped, golden-yellow flowers, the two outer petals curving outward from the two partially fused central petals. The plant has leafy, erect stems, the leaves being blue-green and 2-3 pinnately dissected with lobed leaflets.

Fumitory – Fumaria officinalis

Blooms:

Apr–July

Plant Height:

10–70 cm

Flower Size:

Medium cluster

Origin:

Europe

Habitat:

Shaded moist areas

Notes:

This also has unusually shaped flowers.  The flowers are deep pink or purplish-red (occasionally whitish), with purple-tipped petals, up to 1 cm long including the spur.  On either side of the flower, there is a 1.5–3.5 mm fringed sepal.  Leaves are cauline, finely pinnately dissected, or compound.

Narrow-leaved Meconella – Hesperomecon linearis

Blooms:

Mar–June

Plant Height:

3–40 cm

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Open grassy areas, sandy flats or slopes

Notes:

A variable flower.  This can be cream-colored, with or without a yellow base.  More distinctively, it may have 3 inner cream-colored petals alternating with 3 outer mostly lemon-yellow ones.  It can be confused with Cream Cups (Platystemon californicus, see below) if the alternating colors are not clearly apparent.  But it can be distinguished by the appearance of its stamens, and only 3 stigmas.  The narrow, grass-like leaves are opposite and more or less basal.

Oregon Meconella – Meconella oregana

Blooms:

Mar–May

Plant Height:

2–16 cm

Flower Size:

Very small

Origin:

Native

Rare or endangered?

Yes – 1b.1

Habitat:

Shady canyons

Notes:

This rare plant is inconspicuous.  In the right-hand photo, the Goose-grass flower on the left side shows how tiny the flowers actually are.  Its basal leaves are spoon-shaped, entire to minutely toothed, and 1–4 cm long.  Cauline leaves are smaller and linear.  The inflorescence is a single tiny flower with 6 white, 1–5 mm long petals on a narrow peduncle.  The receptacle has an expanded ring beneath the sepals.  The fruit is linear and surprisingly long at 2 –3 cm.

Cream Cups – Platystemon californicus

Blooms:

Mar–May

Plant Height:

3–30 cm

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Sunny, grassy places

Notes:

This delicate flower typically has cream petals, with a yellow base or tip (or both); its appearance is highly variable.  The globular shape of the half-opened flower is distinctive, as are the hairy peduncles, and dense grouping of its many white stamens with their flattened filaments.  Young buds are nodding.  It could be mistaken for Narrow-leaved Meconella (Hesperomecon linearis, see above).  However, the number and appearance of its stamens are quite different and it has ≥ 6 stigmas.  It can be found in profusion.