Herbs , annual or perennial, scapose or caulescent, from taproots; sap colorless or clear orange. Stems leafy. Leaves alternate, basal and sometimes cauline, petiolate; blade 1-4× pinnately deeply lobed, lobes of each order usually 3; ultimate lobes narrow. Inflorescences terminal, cymose with bracts present, or 1-flowered. Flowers: receptacle dilated, forming cup beneath calyx, sometimes with free rim; perianth and androecium perigynous; sepals 2, connate, calyptrate, deciduous as unit; petals 4, rarely more (doubled flowers), obovate to obcuneate, with satin sheen from microscopic linear grooves; stamens 12-many; pistil 2-carpellate; ovary 1-locular; style absent; stigmas 4-8, spreading, linear. Fruits capsular, cylindric, 2-valved, dehiscing from base along placentas, often explosively. Seeds many, tan, brown, or black, spheric to ovoid, reticulate, ridged and burlike, or pitted, aril absent. x = 6, 7. Eschscholzia species are introduced from cultivation elsewhere in warm-temperate regions worldwide.
PLANTS: Annual or perennial herbs, the sap colorless or translucent orange. LEAVES: basal, often also cauline, glabrous, ternately dissected. FLOWERS: in scapes or few- to many-flowered cymes; stalk of each flower terminating in a funnel-shaped cup (variously interpreted as receptacle or hypanthium), the cup sometimes with a spreading rim below sepals (outer rim); sepals 2, connate, calyptrate, shed as a unit at anthesis; petals 4 (rarely more), distinct, obovate or wedge-shaped, generally yellow to orange (white or pink), shed after pollination, leaving a crown-like membrane (inner rim); stamens 12-many, distinct; placentae 2; style lacking; stigma lobes 4-8, linear, spreading. CAPSULE: cylindric, dehiscent from base. SEEDS: many, spheric to ovoid, net-ridged, bur-like, or pitted, tan, brown, or black, 1-2 mm wide. NOTES: 12 spp., 3 in AZ; w N. Amer. (For J. F. Eschscholtz). The spelling -Eschscholtzia- is incorrect according to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. Eschscholzia calijornica subsp. calijornica is cultivated and used in reclamation planting; the other taxa may merit domestication. REFERENCES: Ownbey, Gerald B., Jeffrey W. Brasher, and Curtis Clark. 1998 Papaveraceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. 30(2): 120.