California encompasses a wide range of ecological environments, from the rocky mountains of the Sierra Nevada to the fiery landscape of Death Valley, the hottest region in the United States. Nicknamed the "Golden State," it's no surprise that California is home to a diverse number of plant species. Wildflowers and cultivated gardens are a common sight throughout the state.
The California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is a hearty, sun-loving plant that can be found growing in the wild along California roadsides and in other locations that offer sunlight and dry, well-drained soils. The cheerful orange flower is the official flower of the state. Frequently grown as an ornamental flower throughout western North America, the California poppy is a low-growing plant that has blue-green foliage and silky orange flowers. The California poppy has a long history in the state, as the leaves of the plant were traditionally used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes.
A member of the sunflower family, the Desert Dandelion (Malacothrix californica) is a small plant native to California and much of the Southwest. The plant reaches a maximum height of about 6 to 14 inches, showcasing fluffy creamy yellow flowers which bloom between early spring and summer. The Desert Dandelion can be found in Southern California throughout the Mojave, Sonoran and Great Basin deserts. The plant grows in sandy plains and desert washes, preferring dry conditions and full sunlight.
Desert Lupine (), also known as Coulter's Lupine, is a flowering annual from the peaLupinus sparsiflorus family (Fabaceae) that can be found in the Sonoran, Mojave and Chihauhau deserts of Southern California. Desert Lupine can be seen growing freely in the wild along desert roadsides and rocky mesas at elevations below 3,000 feet. The plants have rows of small violet or bluish purple flowers that bloom between January and May. The Desert Lupine is extremely attractive to bees, and several species pollinate the multi-flowered plant.