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Is It Really Illegal To Pick A California Poppy?

KPIX 5 Morning Weather Anchor Roberta Gonzales answers the questions you never get to ask on-air.

Q: Roberta, love hearing you on KCBS Radio talking about the flowers in bloom. What is your favorite flower to see? Marianne Garcia, Dublin

A: Easy one: the California poppy. Here is a picture I snapped while running the other day!

The California Poppy was legally named the state flower in 1906. Here are some fun facts:

1. The name is kind of misleading. The California Poppy can be found as far North as Washington State and as far South as Baja, California.They can also be found in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Sonoran Desert.
2. The California Poppy grows from 12 to 18 inches tall, light blue-greenleaves with small tapered buds bursting into a vivid orange bloom.
3. The poppy closes at night or in cold weather.
4. The poppy is short lived but can be found locally in the Bay Area from Spring to early Summer
5. California Poppy Day is observed April 6th.
6. California poppy can be purchased in liquid or dry form and used as medicinal tea for anxiety or restlessness, acute or chronic pain, tooth pain, headaches.

Now here is the interesting part: as a native Californian, I grew up believing it is illegal to PICK a California Poppy. As that turns out, it's not entirely true! You can pick, bend, eat or smoke a Poppy as long it is not on state property. However, if a Poppy or any other flower is on School, Park, a median or even outside a courthouse, DO NOT pick or hurt the flower. Harming the flower or plant life could be considered a misdemeanor offense, and you can be fined up to $1000 and as many as six months in jail. That's real Flower Power!

Do you have a question, comment, observationor picture to share with me? Please email me at:

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