This one is different though. It is not the characteristic homogeneous bright orange that California poppies should be. The orange in the middle is what the entire flower should look like. The outer yellow hallow is not typical.
California poppies used to much more common than they are now. Not only did they grow wild, but they grew wild in abundance. Some of the East Hills were blushed orange with them when poppies bloomed this time of year. The lower hills just to the east of Highway 101 to the south of San Jose were more than blushed. There seemed to be almost as much orange as there was green. By the spring of 1985, those same hills were neither south of San Jose, nor quite so orange. They were within the suburban sprawl of San Jose, and were mostly green with invasive exotic grasses. Only wispy swaths of orange bloomed down low and near the top of the western slope. Those same hills are now devoid of orange, and are part of an urban neighborhood.
California poppies just do not grow naturally like they used to. Those who want them must sow seed for them. Their environment is so different from what it once was.
Even the flowers are different. They were naturally the most perfect orange, with perfectly simple petals. When we could find pale yellowish white or lavender poppies (known as purple poppies), they were something very rare and special.
California poppies are now readily available in a variety of colors, including the once very rare pale white and lavender, as well as various hues of yellow and red, some with swirled patterns. Some have fluffier double flowers. It all seems to be so unnatural for a flower that needed no improvement.