About the Poppy
Poppies are grown for their colorful flowers, they have 4 to 6 petals and some can grow to over 4 feet. The poppy petals are showy and come in a large variety of colors, the plant becomes dormant after blooming. The poppy blooms in the late spring and early summer and can be found in many areas around the world including here in California where it is designated the State flower, with April 6 being California Poppy day.
The poppy is easy to grow and was introduced into California, as the state has a similar Mediterrean climate as the region of the world from which it is said to originate. Years ago the poppy could be seen covering the landscape of open fields and the sides of highways in California, but that has changed.
Now it is not that easy to find the beautiful poppies, however with the coming of spring the desert hills will be covered in orange with the flowering of the California poppy. One of the nearest place to see this beautiful carpet of sunshine is the Antelope Valley - which is a short drive from southern California, in Lancaster near Palmdale.
There one can visit the Antelope Valley California Reserve, which is state protected, and has some of the most beautiful poppy blooms occurring between mid February and mid May, with April having the most blooms. The park is open sunrise to sunset.
Visitors can traverse 8 miles of trails, as they meander through the poppy fields. One of the trails is paved and wheelchair accessible. There is a visitor center, 'the Jane S Pinheiro Interpretive Center, which is open mid-March to mid-May, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. weekdays, and to 5 p.m. weekends. Guided tours are offered on the weekends.