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Arctomecon californica facts for kids

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Arctomecon californica
Arctomecon californica 14.jpg
Scientific classification

Arctomecon californica is a species of poppy known by several common names, including California bearpoppy, Las Vegas bearpoppy, golden bearpoppy, and yellow-flowered desert poppy.


Arctomecon californica is native to the eastern Mojave Desert: in areas around Las Vegas, Nevada such as Tule Springs; the Lake Mead area; in and around Las Vegas; and in extreme Mohave County in Northwestern Arizona. It is also known from a single location in near St. George, Utah in Washington County, Southwestern Utah. The Utah population has undergone a severe decline, and the plant is now listed as an endangered species in Utah.


Arctomecon californica is a herbaceous perennial found in Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) habitats, in barren shales with gypsum substrates, at 500–1,000 metres (1,600–3,300 ft) in elevation.

The plant flowers in mid spring with deep yellow petals from large buds on tall 1–3 feet branching inflorescences. Fruiting occurs in early summer.


The species has declined dramatically in recent decades and has now been petitioned for listing on the US Endangered Species list. It is a protected species in Nevada and Arizona due to its rarity. It is declining in its primary habitat in Nevada. The Utah population has undergone a serious decline associated with land development and grazing and the growth in the European and Africanized honeybee population associated with the latter. Habitat fragmentation is a possible contributing factor to reduced levels of genetic variation in populations in the Las Vegas Valley.

A bee which pollinates only this species, the Mohave poppy bee (Perdita meconis), has also recently been petitioned for listing on the ESA. The Mohave poppy bee has undergone very dramatic declines for a variety of reasons, including land development, ORV use, gypsum mining, and cattle grazing. Former locations in Arizona and California are now extinct and it recently went extinct in Washington County, Utah also. It is presently located near bear poppy locations in and around Lake Mead Recreation Area and near Las Vegas in Nevada.

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