Mexican Gold Poppies -
Eschscholzia californica ssp. Mexicana
Mexican gold poppies are sprawling perennials that grow annually. Blooming can start from early to late spring depending on the moisture, temperature, and sunlight. Mexican gold poppies are heat tolerant and easily fill a field of land. The cup-shaped flowers close at night or during cloudy, windy, and rainy days.14 These plants are native to New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and California and are symbolically used in Mexican culture in the festivities of Día de Los Muertos.15 These plants also fill our Franklin Mountains and are a major part of representation of the City of El Paso.16 The annual poppy bloom in El Paso is celebrated by the Museum of Archeology with their Poppies Festival, which invites the whole community to come see the native plants bloom.17
There are a couple of popular myths about the origins of the poppies that grow in our mountains.18 Some say that it was the National Guard who planted the seeds, while others think a rich widow planted them as a memorial for her late husband.19 Another myth is that a garden club contracted a helicopter to fly a member over the mountain to scatter the seeds. It has also been said that a young newly wedded couple scattered them from a plane to celebrate their wedding.
Written by Ashley Garcia, Undergraduate Research Fellow
El Paso Community College, The Humanities Collaborative at EPCC-UTEP