May 15, 2009

Who's Blooming Today: Romneya coulteri

One of my absolute favorite California native plants, Romneya coulteri or Matilija poppy, began throwing out its huge fried-egg blooms a couple of days ago. At 7' tall and even wider in just its second year with me, this perennial is too large for many gardens (including mine, but that hasn't deterred me). And unfortunately, it resents being transplanted, and is notoriously difficult to propagate — as a native of the fire-prone chapparal, the seeds usually won't germinate unless something like pine needles is burned on top of them. Fortunately, Romneya can be found fairly readily at nursery. Just know that if you're shopping in the fall or winter, you'll probably find just a small pot of dead sticks... the dormant plant gives no clue of just how massive it will become.

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