Erect to diffuse perennial herb, 25-60 cm tall. Stem scapose or leafy, quadrangular, glabrous. Leaves radical and cauline, alternate, 10-30 cm long, decompound; ultimate segments linear or oblong, c. 1 mm broad; petiole 5-20 cm long; cauline leaves smaller on shorter petiole (3-5 cm long). Inflorescence solitary axillary or terminal; peduncle 6-20 cm long. Flower buds ovate, 2-3 cm long, 1 cm broad. Flowers 4-8 cm across. Sepals deciduous, leaving 2 rims at the base of the ovary, conical, c. 2 cm long-outer preading rim of the receptacle 3-4 mm broad with parallel striation; inner rim erect, hyaline and short. Petals 2-6 cm long, 2-3.5 cm broad, broadly obovate, shortly clawed, orange; Stamens yellow, 7-10 mm long; anthers 5-8 mm long, basifixed-dithecous, oblong. Ovary c. 4 mm long; style short and thickened; stigmas 4, filiform. Capsule 7-10 cm long, 3-4 mm broad, longitudinally ribbed, glabrous, straight; seeds globose, black, c. 2 mm in diameter. Cotyledons bifid.
Fl.Per. February June.
Type: Described from N. America, California.
Distribution: A native of N. America (California and Oregon), cultivated widely in Europe, Asia and elsewhere as an ornamentel plant.
The “Californian poppy”, is a very variable species in leaf segmentation, size, shape of calyx and the flower colour.