One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The poppy Romneya coulteri, a subshrub native to California and Mexico, also cultivated in milder climates for its large white flowers.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Overland Monthly. From the name of MatilijaCanyon, an area in the mountains above Ventura, California, where this plant grew abundantly + poppy.
Matilija poppy/məˈtɪlihə ˈpɒpi/
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