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Platystemon californicus

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About Creamcups (Platystemon californicus) Platystemon is a monotypic genus of flowering plants in the Papaveraceae (Poppy) family containing the single species Platystemon californicus, which is known by the common name Creamcups. It is native to the southwestern United States and Baja California, where it is a common spring wildflower in many types of habitat. In California it is found from north to south, along the coast, in foothills, the Coast Ranges, Transverse Range and Peninsular Range. It is populr as an ornamental plant for landscaping and revegetation of recently burned areas. This is an annual herb which is quite variable in appearance. The oppositely arranged leaves are 2 to 8 centimeters long and in shape linear, lance-shaped, or oblong. It is hairy in texture, sometimes with very long hairs. The flower cluster is a single flower on a tall peduncle up to 20 centimeters high. The flower has six petals which may be pure white or golden or white with large gold spots or gold tips. The center of the flower is filled with a tuftlike cluster of many thick, flattened stamens. The fruit is a capsule with several one-seeded sections that break apart. There is one recognized variety, var. ciliatus, which is a rare plant endemic to Santa Barbara Island.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Annual herb

Max. Height
0.7 - 1 ft (0.21 - 0.3 m)

Max. Width
6 in (15cm)

Flower Color
Cream, White, Yellow

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Open grassy places, sandy soils, recently burned areas


Elevation ?
-75' - 11310'

Annual Precip. ?
4.3" - 95.2"

Summer Precip. ?
0.13" - 2.96"

Coldest Month ?
24.6° F - 57.3° F

Hottest Month ?
45.5° F - 82.3° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 33.76 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sandy, gravelly soil. No clay

Soil PH
5.8 - 8.2


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 10° F

Sunset Zones ?
6, 7*, 8*, 9*, 10, 11, 12, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Use in a wildflower meadow garden with other annuals or herbaceous perennials such as Clarkia sp., California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica), Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii), with geophytes such as Wild Onion (Allium sp.), Mariposa Lily (Calochortus sp.), and Blue Dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum), and with native grasses

Wildlife Attracted
Insects, including butterflies

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Propagation ?
By seed

Common uses
Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Sometimes Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Platystemon californicus var. ciliatus

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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