Dendromecon rigida | ‘Bush Poppy’, ‘Tree Poppy’ | ~100 seeds
Dendromecon rigida is a small shrub of the Papaveraceae (‘Poppy’) family, native to the chaparral, hills, slopes and woodlands of California and Baja California, at elevations of up to 1,800 metres above sea level. Preferring to grow in habitats which have very recently been burned by naturally-occurring wildfires or human-induced conflagrations, rigida thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10.
Reaching up to roughly three metres tall, rigida is an evergreen species with spear-like, narrow and finely-serrated leaves up to ten centimetres long. Bronze to green in colour and slightly leathery in texture, these leaves are accompanied by fantastic, pale to deep yellow flowers, roughly seven or eight centimetres in diameter. These gorgeous blooms are funnel-shaped and appear between early winter and late spring. Cylindrical fruits follow, growing to approximately ten centimetres in length and bearing numerous brown to black seeds.
The formerly recognised subspecies Dendromecon rigida subsp. harfordii – the ‘Channel Islands Tree Poppy’ is now officially called Dendromecon harfordii. Dendromecon rigida proper is also/has been considered synonymous with Dendromecon agnina, Dendromecon elliptica and Dendromecon herbacea.
A rather drought-tolerant species which is popularly grown as an ornamental (similar to its cousin Papaver somniferum, the ‘Opium Poppy’), rigida prefers to grow in a well-drained, mildly-alkaline to mildly-acidic soil, somewhere in full sun. Space the young plants at least three metres apart to allow them ample room to reach maturity. Some growers report this specie benefits from stratification or other germination pre-treatment.
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced