Just thought I’d share a little one of Los Angeles’ pleasures. The Matilija Poppy. They’re some sort of freakishly awesome floral invention – blossoms four to eight inches across on plants that grow three to eight feet high. The crepe white petals are studded with amazing yellow koosh ball centers. They smell a little like roses
When it comes down to it, the California Golden Poppy doesn’t have diddly squat when it comes to the Matilija.Though the color is not as stunning, the leggy stalks and divine fragrance is pretty amazing. Matilijas would kick Goldens in a barfight. How can you argue with flowers that are larger across than you palm (well, my palm, I don’t know how big your hands are). They even make good cut flowers. Sure, they have soft thorns on the undersides of the leaves and the stems, but hey, so do roses.
Matilijas aren’t all good news. We have a huge patch in our back yard and though they’re hard to grow from seed or cutting, once established, they’re horribly invasive. They covered at least a third of our yard for quite a few years. The roots go deep in search of water and spread out, sending up shoots as much as ten feet away from the mother plant. We dug some roots up that were as thick as my forearm. Any little length of root left in the ground is enough for it to re-establish itself.
But what a battle to lose. (Click on the photo for a larger image.)