Papaver rhoeas, with common names including common poppy, corn poppy, corn rose, field poppy, Flanders poppy, and red poppy is an annual herbaceous species of flowering plant in the poppy family Papaveraceae.
It is notable as an agricultural weed (hence the common names including “corn” and “field”). Especially in the UK. It is used as a symbol of remembrance of the fallen soldiers and another military, during World War I and thereafter.
Germinating the Red Poppy Seed
Papaver rhoeas is a variable, erect annual, forming a long-lived soil seed bank. That can germinate when the soil is disturbed. In the northern hemisphere it generally flowers in late spring (between May and October in the UK). But if the weather is warm enough other flowers frequently appear at the beginning of autumn. It grows up to about 70 cm (28 in) in height.
The stems hold single flowers, which are large and showy, 5–10 cm (2–4 in) across, with four petals that are vivid red, most commonly with a black spot at their base. The petals slightly overlap each other. The plant can produce up to 400 flowers in a warm season, that last only one day.
The flower stem usually covered with coarse hairs that held at right angles to the surface. It helps us distinguish it from Papaver dubium, as the hairs are usually held close to the stem in the latter. We observe the capsules are hairless, obovoid (egg-shaped), less than twice as tall as they are wide, with a stigma at least as wide as the capsule. Like many other species of Papaver, when we break the tissues of the plant, it exudes white to yellowish latex.
Not all corn poppies that are available commercially have red flowers. Selective breeding has resulted in cultivars in yellow, orange, pink, and white. The Shirley poppy is a well known cultivar. A very pale speckled variety, derived from the Shirley, is also available.
A nearly black-flowering hybrid, known as ‘Evelina’, was bred in Italy in the late 1990s, with P. dubium, but does not appear to be available commercially.
Papaver rhoeas contains the alkaloid called rhoeadine, which is a mild sedative. Rhoeadic acid, papaveric acid and rhoeagenine are also found in this plant.
Uses of red poppy seeds
The commonly grown garden decorative Shirley poppy is a cultivar of this plant.
We eat the black seeds, either on their own or as an ingredient in bread. France highly regards the oil made from the seeds.
.We use the petals as a red dye in some medicines and wines. Occasionally use the dried petals to color potpourris.
In traditional folk medicine, people use it for gout, aches, and pains. They use the petals to create a syrup that is fed to children to help them sleep.