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Romneya coulteri flowerMatilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) Info
Very much a Fire plant, this native of dry, California canyons is often found in burned areas. This member of the poppy family is a very hardy and impressive shrub with prickly stems and white flowers 3-8 inches wide. This tall (3-8 ft.) perennial has a fine scent and makes a great addition to a Moon garden. This magick herb is named for a Chumash Indian leader of the resistance against the Spaniards, who were capturing Indians and forcing them to work for a local mission. Thus it is a good magickally for protection. There is also a story that it grew over the the bodies of two Chumash lovers, one of whom died of wounds inflicted by the enslaving Spaniards. This makes it appropriate for guarding the dead. This plant is also known as California tree poppy, mission poppy, and fried egg plant. Top

How to grow Matilija poppy: These seeds are a challenge to germinate. Since this plant's seeds are triggered to germinate by smoke, one way to get them to germinate faster is to sprinkle them lightly with moist soil, cover that with pine sawdust, and light the covering (don't use any accelerants). Burning that continues for at least 15 minutes is best. Water when the fire is out to wash the smoke chemicals down to the seeds, since it is the smoke rather than the fire that induces germination. A less effective way is to burn pine sawdust, mix it with potting soil, moisten, and plant seeds in this mixture. A third method is to smoke the planting medium with burning pine sawdust.  Even so, the seed can still take several months to germinate. A fourth method is to use scarification and gibberelic acid. A fifth reported by a customer is to soak them in unleaded gasoline overnight; strain and let gasoline evaporate before planting. This plant likes heat and grows best in zone 7-10 but can be grown elsewhere (like the UK) if it is mulched in the winter. It likes full sun and is drought tolerant but will make a better plant if it is given sufficient water. Soil that is too fertile will mean no flowers, and it can't handle clay. It spreads by underground runners and so makes for great erosion control and a tendency to be invasive, but it can also be kept in a large pot. Cut it back to the ground in warm areas each fall to make fuller plants. General growing info. Top


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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Protection Spells
Funereal Magick
Elemental Magick
Fire Herb

2004, 2014 Harold A. Roths; No reproduction without permission