Monday, June 21, 2010

Macro Monday - Matilija Poppies

IMG_2043_1982 Matilija Poppies with buds

The genusRomneya bears the largest blossoms in the poppy family. Its showy flowers, up to 5 inches (13 cm) across, are the largest of any plant native to California. Its common name is Matilija poppy, pronounced either ma-TIL-i-ha or ma-til-EE-ha. Growing to a height of eight feet (2.5 meter), it is no surprise that this tall poppy is also known as the Tree Poppy and dubbed the Queen of the Wildflowers.

The Matilija poppy is a native of Southern California and Northern Mexico. It is a great choice for drought tolerant landscaping because, once established, it requires no additional water. The largest stand of Matilijas I have ever seen grows a few miles south of Palo Alto, along Highway 280. Sorry, no photos - it wouldn't be safe to take pictures while driving and there's no place to pull over.

I found these in full bloom next to Genencor's parking lot in Palo Alto.

IMG_2039_1978 Matalija Poppies

IMG_1950 Matilija Poppy

Each flower has a circular cluster of bright yellow stamens surrounded by pure white petals, evoking the image of fried eggs sunny-side up.

IMG_1953 Matilija Poppy

The blossoms are perched on tall spires that like to dance in the breeze. I had to stand on my tippy toes, hold my breath, and wait for a lull in the breeze to take the close-ups of the blooms.

IMG_1951 Matalija poppies

I wanted to show how their delicate ruffled petals look just like crepe paper.

IMG_1951 Matilija Poppy

The Romneya genus was named for Rev. John T. Romney Robinson, an Irish astronomer of the early 1800's. The Matalija poppy may have been named after Chief Matalija who lived in Ventura County. To read a folk legend about him and his daughter, click here.

For more Macro Monday images, visit Lisa at Lisa's Chaos.

Other sources
Map - Jepson Flora Project
CalFlora for information on wild California plants
Jepson Flora Project at University of California, Berkeley


Sara Chapman in Seattle, USA said...

These are very beautiful (and beautifully photographed!) and I agree that they are wonderful subjects for close ups. They also can grow as far north as Seattle, which has dry summers very similar to the Bay area.

Anonymous said...

Wow, these are breath taking...that center of the flower looks like a firework, very cool! :)

California Girl said...

when you say "it wouldn't be safe", do you mean you don't want to show where they are along the hwy...that people might gather them? it's illegal to pick wildflowers in CA, right? duh. not that it would stop someone.

my father was always gathering poppy seeds and planting them. he'd sow them along the banks of his planned unit development and they grew to be the lovely orange poppies so ubiquitous in California.

Kim, USA said...

Poppies are pretty they look like a crisp paper. Happy Monday!

Macro Monday~The rose

Jay said...

Wow, those are magnificent, aren't they? So pure and majestic - it's hard to believe they just grow wild on waste ground!

You did a great job on the macro. You even got a perfect light on those petals to provide just enough contrast to get that crepe paper effect!

"Lillagul" said...

What magnificents Poppies !!!
Never seen so big ones :)
Can understand that you had to stand on your tip toes to take this pictures and they sure look like crepepaper !
Thank´s for your comment at my blog :)

Sherri said...

That's a big Poppy... and very striking! Some of my favorite pictures ever taken were of Poppies in Tuscany.

Ruth said...

They are fantastic. Remember paper dresses in the sixties? That's what they remind me of.

Even the petals on the ground are beautiful. Each photo is sweetly composed, but I'm not surprised, not one bit, since you arrange photographs as well as you arrange flowers.

Marilyn Miller said...

Gorgeous! I can understand why they wouldn't be safe. I would want armloads of them.

Ms. Bake-it said...

What absolutely gorgeous poppies! Fabulous photos of them. The last shot is especially beautiful. Thank you for including the history and link!

~ Tracy

rochambeau said...

Such a beautiful member of the Poppy family! Thank you for the intro to the Romneya!
I'm a big fan of the Ca. poppy.

Dear Dutch B,
Have you met A Thousand clapping hands: I think you will like !!

Thank you for my bouquet!
You d best~


ramblingwoods said...

Thank you for leaving your very thoughtful comment..I just wanted to clarify that the person who passed away was a blogger friend here in Blogland, but I felt I had met her. I had copied a post that her daughter had left about her Mother. I guess I made it confusing..sorry about that.. My Mother is still here..... Michelle

Relyn Lawson said...

Oh, that first image is perfection. Perfection!

Ginnie said...

I always think of poppies when I think of California, DB. They DO grow like wildflowers, for sure. But you have made them look like princesses.

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness! They are so, so beautiful! I love white flowers with yellow stamens and those are the prettiest I've ever seen. And you photographed them with great skill. Thank you!

chasity said...

they do look just like crepe paper...
so delicate and beautiful!

Unknown said...

I've never seen white poppies - these are pretty! I want to pluck the petals and write a love note, lol.

~✽Mumsy✽~ said...

Wow, these poppies are huge, gorgeous, and just so elegant looking. Great macro!

Kala said...

That first image is stunning. This is such a beautiful flower.

Unknown said...

i love all of them, 1, 5 & 6 are excellent macros.

Pretty Zesty said...

Beautiful flowers! I wish I could just sit in a field and smell flowers all day long... like Ferdinand the bull!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

What a rich and beautiful blog this is. I looking forward to coming by some more.

Thank you for visiting

The Frankie--Nena resemblance really is amazing.

margie said...

the most elegant flower!! so white.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Sara in Seattle,
I'm amazed that Seattle summers are so dry. If you see any Matilija poppies growing in the wild there, please notify the Jepson Flora Project at UC Berkeley. They are trying to accurately catalog all wildflower habitats.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear tammymcchesney,
Those centers do look explosive, especially when they release all that yellow pollen.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear California Girl,
Thanks for asking the question about it not being safe. Did I sound like Laurence Olivier in "Marathon Man"? I modified the post to clarify that there is no safe place to pull over. I would have to be a passenger, during the short blooming season, with my camera, and the skills to take a decent photo while driving at 55 miles per hour. Not going to happen any time soon.

I know it's illegal to pick the state flower, California Golden Poppy, but I'm not sure about other wildflowers.

Your father's planned development sounds lovely.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Manang Kim,
Thank you for wishing me happy Monday. I'm sorry it took me all the way to Friday to wish you good day in in return.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Jay,
Thank you! You don't want to see the other photos that are on the editing room floor.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear "Lillagul",
These are the biggest poppies of all.

Their crepe paper petals are as thin as tissue paper so they sway back and forth quite a bit in the wind.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Postcards and Coasters,
Poppies in Tuscany? I bet they were fantastic, like everything else there. Should I look for those poppies on your blog?

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ruth,
Yes, they do have the same texture and color as those paper dresses. My favorite was the black and white Beatles dress. Oh, how I wanted one.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Marilyn,
It probably is just as well that there's no place to pull over; the temptation may have been too overwhelming. I don't know if they would make good cut flowers, though.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Tracy at Ms. Bake-it,
It is a gorgeous sight to see them towering above your head. I'm glad you enjoyed the links.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Constance at rochambeau,
I can see you making a beautiful tutu out of these delicate petals. Garden fairies in the neighborhood would fight over the privilege of wearing it.

Thanks for the recommendation; I will run over there pronto.

Hope your wrist heals very quickly!


Dutchbaby said...

Dear Michelle at ramblingwoods,
I'm so sorry for the misunderstanding. I must admit, I was a bit confused. I'm very sorry for the loss of your friend's mother and I'm happy you still have your mother.

Thank you for visiting Dutchbaby

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ginnie,
Thank you. I like thinking of them as wearing yellow powdery tiaras :)

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Susan,
Me too! What can beat a white camellia with hundreds of yellow stamens, or white water lilies, or Matalija poppies?

Dutchbaby said...

Dear chasity,
Thanks for letting me know that I achieved my goal.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear lisaschaos,
What a lovely idea. Be careful though, those petals are very delicate and, well, paper thin.

ramblingwoods said...

These are really beautiful photos..You are very talented. You left a comment about my bird feeder page. I agree that the metal feeder is very good. It doesn't keep raccoons away as I have found so I have to bring in my feeders at night during the summer months.

I've participated in Cornell's Project Feeder Watch for the past 5 years so I am a newish birder and I only bird from my yard. Nice to meet someone else to does that.

This summer I am doing Firefly Watch which is proving to be very interesting.....Michelle

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Mumsy,
Yes they are! Thanks for dropping by.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Kala,
I wonder how you would process that photo? You always add a soft artistic touch to your flower photos.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Dave,
Thanks for taking the time to view all these photos and selecting your favorites!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Kris,
Wouldn't that be nice?

Ferdinand the Bull, one of our all-time favorite children's books. :-D

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Natalie,
Welcome to Dutchbaby! I enjoyed seeing your San Diego Zoo photos!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear margie,
These statuesque flowers are definitely elegant!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear ramblingwoods,
Fortunately, the raccoons that come around our back yard haven't figured out a way to get to our bird feeder yet.

I participated in Project Feederwatch for only two years, and it was great fun, but it became too time-consuming. A firefly watch, on the other hand, would take no time whatsoever because I have never seen one here.

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