Bush Poppy Fruits

The fruits of bush poppies (Dendromecon rigida), which I discussed in my last post (Bush Poppy on 04-11-2018), are capsules. Last March at the Botanical Garden in Tilden Regional Park (Berkeley CA), the bush poppies (also commonly called tree poppies) were heavy with capsules.

A bush poppy fruit is a two-valved dehiscent capsule. What is a two-valved dehiscent capsule? The bush poppy pistil (female flower organ) has two carpels, a carpel being one of the parts of a compound pistil. A capsule is a type of fruit formed from more than one carpel. A dehiscent capsule opens spontaneously when ripe to discharge the seeds. A valve is one of the segments into which a capsule separates. The bush poppy capsule has two valves which separate incompletely from the base upward. When the bush poppy valves spontaneously spring open they reflex into circular arcs which, if reflexed sufficiently, almost form a heart shape.

Bush poppy seeds are ovoid to round and are brownish, olive or black. Finely pitted, they have a caruncle or outgrowth near their point of attachment (hilum). Although the seeds are difficult to propagate in nurseries, they readily germinate after wildfires and can form extensive colonies under appropriate conditions. Loose, well draining soil, full sun and low summer moisture are  basic requirements.

I found the linear, curved bush poppy valve remnants to be very interesting and the plants, heavy with valve remnants, to be as beautiful as those covered with yellow bush poppy flowers.

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