Archive for San Gabriel Mountains Forum
  Forum Index -> Flora & Fauna & Fungi

Poppy Project

I'm on a mission to collect small samples of local poppy seeds to grow inside screened enclosures (to prevent genetic contamination by pollinators) and produce larger batches of seed from our genetically unique local strains. The famous California poppies are large orange flowers that blanket the Antelope Valley in the spring, and these are the poppies usually found in seed packets. Our local strains are genetically distinct. They have almost pure yellow flowers and the foliage is sometimes an interesting color as well. I am not aware that these are commercially available.

Unfortunately, our local poppies only exist as widely scattered individuals or isolated patches. I have located a couple of patches along the Bear Creek trail between Bear Creek and Highway 39, but if anyone here knows of other locations I would be grateful for that information. If I am successful I would be happy to share some seeds with anyone who can point me to some wild poppies in the San Gabriels.

Can you post a picture of the local yellow poppy?

I don't have a picture from my last trip because it was foggy and wet so all the poppies were closed up. One good example is the photo AW posted in

Local poppies don't have to be all yellow to be true locals, but if they're close to a road or suburbia they're suspect. Even near a trail is suspect if it's heavily used by the public and within a short distance from a road or urban interface. If you've spotted any that are a mile or more from the nearest place the typical public would access they are probably true wild poppies.

When I googled the bear creek poppies, one site said they were Parish's Poppy (Eschscholzia parishii). I dont know if they are local...I know for sure flowers have been planted along that trail.

The bush poppy,fire follower, seems to be the one in the Tujunga/Verdugo area. I dont know if that was some team throwing seeds after the station fire, but a lot was not planted by local trail crews.

They do look a bit like parishii. Ill have to check the receptacles for an expanded rim (telltale californica trait) the next time I'm up there. The ease of germination will also be a good indicator of wildness since cultivated varieties have generally lost their response to stratification.

If you have any information about planting that may have taken place anywhere in the forest, I'd be grateful since it will help avoid gene polluted areas.

I am keeping my eye on the Dendromecon rigida near Angeles Crest Highway and Angeles Forest Highway. Last week the seed pods were still green. I saw large plants even just a year or two after the fire. The plants were too large to have been planted after the Station Fire. Besides, the Forest Service and a lot of the misguided groups working with them are still stuck in the "let's replace this boring brush with pine trees" mentality, which is why they put a million Coulter pines out there to die where they aren't native.

If you're interested, there are tons of Salvia columbariae and Phacelia minor blooming along the Bear Creek trail right now.

Have you been up the Silver Fish Road near Morris Dam? Two years ago I saw these

near the beginning of the trail in March 2014.

Thanks! I've been up there a couple of times, but come to think of it both times were in the winter so poppies wouldn't be out. I lost a flashlight up at the top where the road ends in heavy brush and you hike up a firebreak to the top of the ridge.

Maybe ten minutes up the trail.

I'll check it out.

Also, if anyone's interested in nerding out on poppies, apparently the seeds of E. parishii are also different than E. californica.


Took another hike up the Bear Creek trail today. It was a beautiful day for hiking - clear and cool.

I'm pretty sure those poppies are parishii. They don't have the expanded rim on the receptacle like californica. See below for an illustration of the difference.

Now I have a mystery on my hands. More than likely these are introduced to the area since the Jepson eFlora doesn't even have any recorded sightings west of I-15 in Southern California. Their distribution is also suggestive of being introduced since almost all were downslope of the trail and I could not find any individuals further than a stone's throw from the trail. The odd thing is that Parish's poppy seeds aren't common in the trade, so whoever did it may have collected them from the wild on their own. It would have taken quite a bit to scatter them from Bear Creek to Valley of the Moon.


You might want to go through this site. In 2001 Jane Strong and Tom Chester recorded instances of "California Poppy" in Eaton Canyon, La Tuna Canyon, and along the first mile of the Sam Merrill Trail. And in 2000, along the Mt. Wilson Trail, the Wilson toll road, and the fire road leading to Sunset Peak/Ridge from a few miles west of Cow Canyon Saddle.

Perhaps they misidentified, perhaps not.

Perhaps these are Foothill Poppies, not Parish's. The Foothill species appears to be more widely recorded in the Gabes.

Also, I don't know anything about seed-throwers. But trail builders generally move soil from upslope to downslope. That could account for more poppies (and flowers in general) being downslope of well-maintained trails. Forum Index -> Flora & Fauna & Fungi
Page 1 of 1