Fried Egg Plant aka Matilija Poppy Adds Sizzle to Mojave Gardens


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My mother introduced me to Matilija poppy when I was a teenager.  She planted one in her front garden.  The poppy didn’t exactly like where she put it, so it literally moved.  It spread by underground stems to where it liked the growing conditions a little better. Once established where it wanted to be, the plants in the location where she initially planted it died back.  I loved the Matilija poppy, so when I found out that Oak Hills Nursery carried it from an article published in the Victor Valley News Press, I rushed out to purchase one.

When I studied plant ecology and plant physiology at Fresno State University, I learned that Matilija poppy is a xerophytic plant. Apparently xerophytic is too fancy of a word for some folks.  Since then I learned comparable term that the general public finds to be more acceptable: water wise plantswater wise native plants, drought tolerant plants, Drought resistant plants, sustainable plants  , water-savvy plants, desert smart plantsDryland garden plants,   Water efficient plants, Easy to grow plantsPermaculture plants, Sustainable garden plants, etc. Apparently the term you use for a plant that doesn’t need irrigation once established says as much about the crowd you hang with as it does about the plant.  Of course, that makes web searches less than efficient.  To get comprehensive information, you need to know a lot of search terms.  What ever you call it, Matilija poppy qualifies for High Desert Gardens.  It tends to propagate in key linesfacultative depressional wetlands, mud puddles, swales, gullies,  etc.



About Caliche Chick

I retired from a career as an Environmental Scientist and Botanist. My first career was teaching science and English as a Second Language (ESL), and content classes for ESL students at the middle school level. I also taught introductory biology at the community college level. I have an avid interest in plants that grow with little to no irrigation. I also keep a vegetable garden, fruit trees, and back yard chickens. When I am not in my yard, I am taking Construction Technology Classes at Victor Valley College and working on my "fixer upper" home.
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