Golden Poppy, California sunlight, cup of gold is a species of flowering plant in the family Papaveraceae, native to the United States and Mexico, and the official state flower of California. Its native habitat includes California, extending to Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora and northwest Baja California.
It is a perennial or annual growing to 5–60 in (13–152 cm) tall, with alternately branching glaucous blue-green foliage. The leaves are alternately divided into round, lobed segments. The flowers are solitary on long stems, silky-textured, with four petals, each petal 2 to 6 cm (0.79 to 2.36 in) long and broad; flower color ranges from yellow to orange and red with some pinks. with flowering from February to September in the northern hemisphere (spring, summer, autumn). The petals close at night or in cold, windy weather and open again the following morning, although they may remain closed in cloudy weather. The fruit is a slender, dehiscent capsule 3 to 9 cm (1.2 to 3.5 in) long, which splits in two to release the numerous small black or dark brown seeds. It survives mild winters in its native range, dying completely in colder climates.
The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is located in northern Los Angeles County, California. At the peak of the blooming season, orange petals seem to cover all 1,745 acres (706 ha) of the reserve. Other prominent locations of California poppy meadows are in Bear Valley (California, Colusa County), Point Buchon and numerous other locations.
California poppy leaves were used medicinally by Native Americans, and the pollen was used cosmetically. The seeds are used in cooking. An aqueous extract of the plant has sedative and anxiolytic action. The extract acts as a mild sedative when smoked.