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California poppy flower Eschscholzia californica
California poppy
This plant is difficult to place in terms of planetary rulership, but a good argument can be made for Mercury's influence, since its active alkaloids affect the mind and since its leaves are finely divided. This magick herb is in the poppy family, and like its siblings, it is sedating and has been used for dye or for food coloring. The orange flowers are familiar to people in the western US, but this plant's blooms can also be purple, yellow, or cream. Women of the Cahuilla Indians used the pollen for a cosmetic and the whole plant as a sedative for babies. The Luiseno Indians chew the flowers with chewing gum, and several Native American tribes traditionally ate the leaves as greens, yet pregnant women of one tribe avoided even the scent of this poppy as poisonous. 

Visit the somewhat technical California Poppy Homepage

California poppy How to grow California poppies. A very handsome plant that is easy to grow. Plant this annual in the fall if you have mild winters (Deep South or Pacific Northwest) and in the spring, at the same time as radishes, if you have cold winters. Direct sow (plant in the soil where they are to grow rather than in pots) because they have a long taproot. Mix with sand and broadcast (throw) the seed/sand on the cultivated bed you're going to use. Cover with 1/4" of soil (or simply water with a medium spray--mud will cover most of seeds). Germinates in 2-3 weeks at 60-65 F. After the first true leaves appear (the second set of leaves appear. You can also start these in pots, though, and in that case start them 2-3 weeks before the last frost in your area. Sow in peat pots, cover lightly, and bottom water (pour water in the tray rather than in the pot). Transplant outside to sunny place with poor soil to 6" apart. Deadhead (pick off dead flowers) and don't water too much or give much fertilizer--this plant likes dry, cool weather and poor soil. If summer nights are hot where you are, it will not get as many flowers. General growing info T op

Eschscholzia california
California Poppy
10 g seeds $5.00


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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Honoring Hermes
Mercury Herb

2005, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission