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Flowers 101: Poppies

The scientific name Papaver, which translates to food or milk in Latin, refers to the milky fluid of the flower's pods. There are 120 species that belong to the Poppy family in a variety of vibrant shades like red, yellow and orange. They bloom in large numbers during summer, and prefer moist soil. Each long, hairy stalk holds one flower and the petals are very thin, almost like tissue paper. Poppies are an ancient flower that were used as decoration in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and although they don't last very long, poppies make great bouquets as well as beautiful garden borders. To make cut poppies last, burn the end of the stem with a match until it blackens, or dip it in boiling water for several minutes. They are one of the most popular wildflowers and the official flower of California. In your garden, remove dead foliage after dormancy or frost to ensure that they grow back pretty and healthy.

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