New Mexico Wildflowers: Poppy Family

Flowers are organized alphabetically by genus and species. Hover over a photo series to control the images.

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

In Albuquerque, California poppies are a garden plant. They qualify for this web page by virtue of existing in the wild in southern New Mexico. Even there, however, they're an introduced species.


Long-Headed Poppy (Papaver dubium)

On a hike in May 2020, I saw that Old World poppies had begun to colonize the Sandia foothills, having escaped from yards. Back in town, most of the examples I see are also volunteers, thanks to tiny seeds that spread far beyond the original flower beds. In less harsh settings, poppies can be a knee-high plant with many-petaled flowers. When left to fend for themselves in our dry climate, they're a low plant and usually make do with four petals arranged in a cross.


In New Mexico, escaped poppies appear to be Papaver dubium, given the elongated seed capsules and the appressed hairs on the adjacent stems (i.e., the hairs lie flat against the stems). Still, most of the poppy flowers I've seen here are a rich red and have black splotches at the bases of the petals—more typical of corn or Flanders poppies, P. rhoeas. I suspect the similarity was introduced by flower breeders.