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Matilija poppy
Matilija poppy closeup.jpg
Matilija poppy flower and flower bud.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Papaveraceae
Genus: Romneya

Romneya /ˈrɒmnə/[1] is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the poppy family (Papaveraceae). There are two species in genus Romneya, which was named for Irish astronomer John Thomas Romney Robinson.[2] They are known commonly as Matilija poppies (/məˈtɪlɪhɑː/ mə-TIL-i-hah) or tree poppies and are native to California and northern Mexico.

They are perennial subshrubs with woody stems. They may grow to a height of 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) and a width of 1 m (39 in), with the flowers up to 13 cm (5.1 in) across. The silvery green leaves are deeply cut, with a small fringe of hairs at the margins.

They are notable for their large white flowers with intense yellow centers, blooming in summer. Romneya produce the largest flowers of any members of the poppy family.[3] These flowers prefer a warm, sunny spot and fertile soil with good water drainage. They are not easily grown but once established are difficult to remove. In the wild, they are known as "fire followers" as they can be frequently, but not exclusively, found in burned areas.[4] It is also known as the "fried egg flower" or "fried egg plant".[5]

Matilija poppy at Strybing Arboretum, San Francisco

The two species are:

  • Romneya coulteri Harv. – Coulter's Matilija poppy
  • Romneya trichocalyx Eastw. – Bristly Matilija poppy. Some consider this a variety of Romneya coulteri, but it is accepted in recent manuals.


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ Jepson Manual Treatment
  3. ^ Flora of North America
  4. ^ Quinn, Ronald D. and Keeley, Sterling, C. (2006). Introduction to California Chaparral. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 145.
  5. ^ Gutierrez, Mary (2013), Matilija Poppy. In Northwest Garden News, online edition. accessed 5 July 2013.

External links

  • California Native Plant Society: Romneya coulteri
  • California Native Plant Society: Romneya trichocalyx
  • USDA Plants Profile
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