Romneya coulteri, is commonly known as the California tree poppy or Matilija poppy.

by John Bagnasco

It is known for its large, white, crepe-paper-like flowers that can be 9” in diameter, making them some of the largest flowers found in native North American plants. The plant can reach impressive heights of up to 6 feet.

Here are some facts about this unique native:

  • Fragrance: The flowers emit a pleasant fragrance, often compared to the scent of coconut or almonds.
  • Native Habitat: Grows through Southern California and Baja California, typically in dry, sunny, and open areas such as chaparral and coastal scrub.
  • Fire Adaptation: The plant has adapted to fire-prone ecosystems. After a fire, it can regenerate from its underground root system, allowing it to survive and thrive in these environments.
  • Cultural Significance: The Matilija poppy has cultural significance for native people in California, who used the plant for various traditional purposes, including medicinal uses.
  • Attracts Pollinators: The large, showy flowers are attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
  • Drought Tolerance: This plant is well adapted to drought conditions and can survive with minimal water once established.

Remember, if you plan to grow Romneya coulteri, it’s important to consider its specific growing requirements and potential impact on the local environment.