The Mexican Gold Poppy or Eschscholtzia mexicana is one of the most beautiful wild flowers of the Southwest. This plant grows in clumps and can reach 1 to 2 feet in height. The leaves are mostly basal, heavily dissected, and are a bluish color in spring. The flowers are a beautiful shade of orange and have four petals each. After the flower dies the seeds will mature in pods with a ring around the base.
This Poppy can be found anywhere in California below 5,100 feet usually on slopes and hillsides. This plant can also be found in Arizona. There are also intergrades of this plant in New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, and Texas. This plant can be the same as the California Poppy. With that in mind remember if you are in California you will get in serious trouble to touching this plant. Although the California Poppy has a different Latin name, Eschscholtzia californica; it is best to play it safe and leave all of them alone.
This plant has a mild sedative and analgesic effect that can even be used on children. A teaspoon of the chopped plant can be made into a tea to relieve pain and calm a persons nerves. If you are thinking you can get high off this plant think again. The narcotic affect is so weak it makes the plant useful not a party drug. Too much of the tea and you will wake up with a severe headache in the morning. For best results bundle the cut plant in ½ inch bundles with the leaves facing the same direction and hang them to dry in a cool place. It is best to make the tea from a teaspoon of the dried plant but can also be made from fresh plant parts. The tea from the fresh plant is a little bitter. The drying reduces this bitterness. The root can be chewed to relive a tooth ache.