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The California poppy was ten years away from being named California’s official state flower when poet Ina Coolbrith wrote “Copa de Oro” in 1893. The orange poppy had been given the Latin name Eschscholzia californica earlier that century, but Ina preferred the older Spanish name, la copa de oro. When botanist Luther Burbank later named a hybridized poppy crimson eschscholzia Ina Coolbrith, she told him that when she wrote “Copa de Oro” she hadn’t known she would become a member of the family.

Local author Aleta George is the author of the award-winning biography, Ina Coolbrith: The Bittersweet Song of California’s First Poet Laureate. She will speak about Coolbrith and the poet’s love of California wildflowers. George is the open space reporter for Bay Area Monitor, and has written for Smithsonian, Bay Nature, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Aleta will be selling copies of her book at the meeting.