Plants annual, caulescent, erect, tufted, 5-30 cm, glabrous, sometimes slightly glaucous. Leaves basal and cauline; blade with ultimate lobes short (giving compact appearance), obtuse or acute. Inflorescences cymose or 1-flowered; buds erect, apiculate-acuminate, tip usually more than 1/4 length of bud. Flowers: receptacle obconic, less than 2.5 mm broad, cup without spreading free rim; calyx apiculate, glabrous; petals yellow, sometimes with orange spot at base, 10-25 mm. Capsules 4-8 cm. Seeds brown to black, ellipsoid to obovoid, 1.5-2.4 mm, reticulate. 2 n = 12. Flowering spring (Mar-May). Open chaparral; 0-1500 m; Calif., Oreg.; Mexico (Baja California). Eschscholzia caespitosa grows in the mainland foothills.