Plant of the Month: Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

Papaver rhoeas is typically referred to as the common poppy, red poppy, corn poppy, Flanders poppy and many more. This scientific name, Papaver rhoeas, comes from the Latin papps which describes the milky latex that comes from the stems of the flowers and from the Greek rhoeo which is used to describe how quickly the petals fall. The common name corn poppy is attributed to this poppy being a common weed in many agricultural fields. The common name Flanders poppy is in reference to the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by John McCrae, which was inspired by this poppy being a common site in the western front during World War I. This has led the common poppy to be worn on the left side of the body and over the heart as a sign of remembrance for those who have died in war and to honour veterans.

To identify a common poppy look for four petals that are arranged in two whorls and range in colour from pink to red. They also have two sepals that are separated from one another. There are 13 or more stamens in the common poppies. They have leaves that have an alternative arrangement on the hairy stem. The leaves are simple (undivided or unbranched), which can be lobed or unlobed and have a fuzzy or hairy underside. They tend to be 10-60cm tall. The common poppy is native to the eastern Mediterranean. The common poppy was introduced to North America. They are commonly found in man-made or disturbed habitats, meadows or fields, or forest edges.

Poppies have many uses. Many people like to plant poppies in their gardens because they are easy to grow and have a beautiful, bright colour. Their petals have been used as red dye. Their seeds have been used as a filling for baked goods. The corn poppy can produce 65 000 to 450 000 seeds which can remain dormant for up to 80 years before sprouting.

Poppies were pollinated primarily by the glaphyrid beetles (Glaphyridae), however as it spread throughout the world bees, flies and other beetles became important pollinators for the common poppy. This shift in pollinators was also correlated in a shift in the light reflected by poppies found in Europe versus in the eastern Mediterranean.

Common poppy from a top view

Publicado el noviembre 11, 2023 04:18 TARDE por kiarra13 kiarra13


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