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Bush Poppy
Dendromecon rigida

About Bush Poppy (Dendromecon rigida) The Bush Poppy or Tree Poppy is a shrub native to California and Baja California, rarely exceeding 3 meters tall. The leaves are alternate, narrow lance-shaped, 3-10 centimeters long, more than three times as long as broad. The margin of the leaves is finely toothed. The plant is evergreen and the leaves are somewhat leathery to the touch. If happy, it can grow up to 6 feet in two years. The flower clusters are solitary and terminal. The flowers are 2-7 centimeters in diameter, with four satiny yellow petals. Plants bloom in late winter to mid-spring. The receptacle is funnel-shaped and surrounds the ovary base. Two sepals are shed when the flower blooms, and the petals are shed as well after pollination. There are many free stamens. The fruits produced are cylindric from the base; the fruits measure 5-10 centimeters long. The many seeds are smooth, brown or black, with a small pale outgrowth.

This is a tough and beautiful plant but only if planted in the right conditions. Does best on rocky clay slopes with excellent draining. If planted in sandier soils, it can handle supplementary water up to once a month. Prefers full sun. Flowers are beautiful, as are the long thin blue green leaves
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3 - 10 ft (0.9 - 3 m)

Max. Width
2 - 8 ft (0.6 - 2.4 m)



Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate


Beautiful, blue green, narrow lance-shaped, 3-10 centimeters long, more than three times as long as broad. Finely toothed.

Flower Color

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry slopes and flats


Elevation ?
7' - 9624'

Annual Precip. ?
4.9" - 74.9"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.78"

Coldest Month ?
24.3° F - 57.3° F

Hottest Month ?
45.6° F - 84.4° F

Humidity ?
0.47 vpd - 35.52 vpd

Soil Description
Well drained clay soils, typically on a slope.

Soil Texture
Clay, Clay Loam, Loam, Loamy Sand, Sand, Sandy Clay, Sandy Clay Loam, Sandy Loam

Soil PH
6 - 8

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 0 - 10° F

Sunset Zones ?
4, 5, 6, 7*, 8*, 9*, 10, 11, 12, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Wildlife Attracted
Bees, butterflies, many beneficial insects

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

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 1x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Fire treatment or 2 mos. stratification (Emery and Frey 1971). 3 mos. stratification with a diurnal fluctuation from 46° to 70°F may improve germination. More easily propagated from stem cuttings in winter with intermittent mist and bottom heat.

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Tree Poppy

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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