Dangers of growing cultivated California poppy and Encelia farinosa in coastal San Diego

The article on California poppy: https://www.cpp.edu/~jcclark/poppy/spreading_seeds.html

Encelia californica x farinosa: http://nathistoc.bio.uci.edu/plants/Asteraceae/Encelia%20hybrids/Encelia%20hybrids.htm


What are the dangers? Will they come in to your bedroom at night and eat you? I would have liked a summary of what the links are about but I can sort of determine that from the URL’s.

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basically cultivated poppies will interbreed with local wild ones, leading to a second generation not fit to survive in harsh conditions, thinning or even wiping out local /wild strains over the course of several years (if cultivars are planted too close to wild poppies)


There should be local laws that forbid the cultivation of alien species that are menacing native biodiversity. Anywa, with annual ornamentals it is more difficult because it is lilkely that a consistent seed bank has already established.


@andyjones1 the General category is meant for topics that are directly related to iNaturalist so I’ve moved this topic to Nature Talk.

Think of the situation with black-eared miners in Victoria. But in this case, the yellow-throated miners are introduced into the habitats containing BEMI.

Encelia farinosa is native to California, but only inland. It is foreign to coastal habitats, the two are naturally separated by mountain ranges or rugged terrain. It’s adapted to dry conditions, seeding with rain, so when planted in coastal areas it does very well due to wetter climate and spreads like crazy. They hybridize very easily with E. californica, the one that is supposed to be here. Within a short time the entire area is hybridized. If pure plants remain, they are almost all farinosa (the planted one). E. californica is fragile and disappears easily. It’s a little scary.

The poppies are similar but it’s all one species, the debate is mixing genetics from other regions rather than two species mixing.


Can we include people as “menacing native biodiversity?” HA!

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The same here in the Mediterranean with wild boars. Despite the native genotype is not taxonomically distinguished from that of central Europe it has hybridized with introduced animals from Hungary and hybrids are more fecund and larger than the native ones.

It is something to be concerned with. First, it seems best to plant natives that are already found in your area. However, some nursery stock of natives have become adapted to cultivation over time, and thus diverge genetically.

My sister is involved in some habitat restoration projects, and the nursery that they hired gathers seeds from the area in question, raises them, and plants them back in the area. For example, PG&E needs to install power lines through the forest.


Interesting. The poppies are quoted as being variable, but they aren’t variable as much as they are fairly regionally specific. Like where I am, it’s obvious when an entirely orange, large-flowered showy poppy is seeded among our naturally occurring yellowish smaller-flowered poppies. They then seed and that population becomes mixed.


Aren’t there any evidences that they could belong to two different subspecies?

There has already been a lot of splitting within the Eschscholzia. I don’t think they will be split any further. E. californica “complex” is currently not treating any subspecies, and honestly I think the boundaries are too flexible to define them as more than very localized populations.

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