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Coulter's Matilija Poppy
Romneya coulteri
About Coulter's Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) Nurseries Show All Photos Romneya coulteri (Coulter's Matilija poppy) is species of flowering plant in the poppy family. This poppy is native to southern California and Baja California, where it grows in dry canyons in chaparral and coastal sage scrub plant communities, sometimes in areas recently burned.It is a popular ornamental plant, kept for its large, showy flowers. This is a shrub which may exceed two meters in height, its woody stem growing from a network of rhizomes. The gray-green, waxy-textured leaves are each divided into a few lance-shaped lobes, the blades growing up to 20 centimeters long. The inflorescence is a large, solitary flower with six crinkly white petals each up to 10 centimeters long. At the center of the flower is a cluster of many yellow stamens. The fruit is a bristly capsule 3 or 4 centimeters long containing many tiny seeds. This plant bears the largest flowers of any species native to California, rivaled only by Hibiscus lasiocarpos. It was nominated for the honor of California state flower in 1890, but the California poppy won the title in a landslide. A closely related species, Romneya trichocalyx, has more spiny sepals on the flower buds and overall smaller plant and flowers.

It is summer deciduous and winter dormant, so patience is required to get it established. Once established, it spreads aggressively and may need to be controlled to prevent undesired expansion. Pulling shoots is usually effective.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
6.6 - 10 ft (2 - 3 m)

Max. Width
20 ft (6.1 m)

Upright Columnar, Weeping


Growth Rate

Summer Deciduous

Grey-green, lobed, 5-20 cm long, young leaves sometimes spiny

Flower Color
White, Yellow

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry washes, canyons and foothills, with chaparral or coastal sage scrub vegetation


Elevation ?
52' - 5136'

Annual Precip. ?
10.1" - 38.8"

Summer Precip. ?
0.21" - 0.94"

Coldest Month ?
34.3° F - 55.2° F

Hottest Month ?
68.4° F - 80.6° F

Humidity ?
0.96 vpd - 26.97 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sandy or gravelly soil with fast drainage

Soil Texture
Loamy Sand, Sand, Sandy Loam

Soil PH
5.0 - 8.0

Fast, Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -6° F

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

Companion Plants
Grows well with a wide variety of chaparral plants including Scrub Oaks, Manzanitas, Coyote Brush, Laurel Sumac, Chaparral Mallow, Toyon, and Lemonade Berry

Wildlife Attracted
Bees, butterflies

Butterflies ?

Neoterpes edwardsata Image
Neoterpes edwardsataNeoterpes edwardsata

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Very Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
No Summer Water
Keep moist

It is advisable to cut down to 6 inches in late Summer or Fall. Dried leaves and stalks make excellent mulch when chopped or broken up

Propagation ?
Usually by rhizomes during winter. Disturbing the rhizomes at other times is usually fatal. Propagation by seeds is difficult.  For propagating by seed: Fire treatment in late fall and germinate outdoors; or soak in l N potassium hydroxide (KOH) 1/2 hr., then soak in 100 ppm GA3 overnight. Soaking in KOH followed by 3 mos. stratification, then GA3 may improve germination ( Harrington 1975). 3 mos. stratification gives some germination.

Common uses
Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

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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