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Platystemon californicus (Creamcups)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Platystemon californicus

Platystemon californicus Benth.

Creamcups, California Creamcups

Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)

Synonym(s): Platystemon arizonicus, Platystemon californicus var. ciliatus, Platystemon californicus var. crinitus, Platystemon californicus var. horridulus, Platystemon californicus var. nutans, Platystemon californicus var. ornithopus, Platystemon confinis, Platystemon mohavensis

USDA Symbol: PLCA5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A soft-haired plant with several stems, each topped with 1 small, bowl-shaped flower resembling a cream to yellow buttercup. The delicate solitary flowers of this 6-12 in. annual are followed by a fruit which has been compared to tiny ears of corn with the husks removed. The flowers are long-stalked from a clump of basal leaves. The stamens are numerous, some of them flattened and petal-like.

This genus consists of only one species, within which there are some races with nearly white petals, others with yellow petals, and still others with cream petals that are yellow at the base.


From the Image Gallery

7 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 1 foot tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: White to cream, sometimes with yellow tip and/or base, rarely yellow overall. Sometimes tinged red in age.


USA: AZ , CA , DC , OR , UT
Native Distribution: Desert areas of AZ, s. UT & s. CA
Native Habitat: Open fields, sandy places & moist ground along streams; 1500 to 4500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist but well-drained soils.


Description: Sow seeds in spring.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Platystemon californicus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Platystemon californicus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Platystemon californicus


Record Modified: 2023-02-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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