The Californian poppy contains none of the substances that are found in the opium poppy although they are both in the same family. However, its leaves still have traditional Native American use as a sedative.
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• Early Spanish settlers in California called it copa del ora (cup of gold) after the legend that the orange petals, turning to gold, filled the soil with the same precious metal.
• The Costanoan native tribes-people rubbed a decoction of the flowers in the hair to kill lice. Natives of Mendocino County used a poultice of fresh root for toothaches.
• Several tribes boiled the plant, or roasted it on hot stones, to eat as a vegetable. The pollen was also used as a cosmetic.