One of the few permanently established in Poland plants with blood-red flowers. Common poppy is not only a cereal weed but also an old cultivated species, sown purposely as a cosmetic, dyeing, ornamental, and medicinal plant. Wild, non-cultivar form.
€1,50 – €3,50
Polish name: field poppy
Latin name: Papaver rhoeas L.
Family: poppies Papaveraceae
Status in Poland: established in antiquity, common
The field poppy is a supple, fairly tall (up to 90 cm) annual plant.
Hairy, alternately foliaged, and angular stem, usually erect, rarely branched. The leaves are in many characteristics similar to cornflower leaves: also gray-green, also of two types: lower pinnate, with petioles, toothed, while the upper ones are sessile.
Bright red flowers, divided into a calyx and a corolla, grow individually on a shoot. A two-sepal calyx, hairy as much as the stem, falls with time. A corolla with four blood-red or purple petals, which have always a black spot at the base. Very numerous purple thin stamens, and an individual thick pistil with a 5-18-parted stigma. While the flower bud of a common poppy hangs loosely, the developed flower and the formed fruit (poppy head) stick up stiffly upright.
The fruit of the field poppy is the commonly known, multiseed, obovate and glabrous capsule, called the poppy head. Like the cornflower and the common corn-cockle, the poppy seedsremain viable in the soil many years, despite the use of herbicides.
It prefers dry and light soils, but rich in nitrogen and phosphorus.
Common poppy is tolerant to various soil conditions, but prefers permeable, moderately dry substrates with medium nutrient content. It is quite resistant to industrial pollution, so it can be successfully planted in city gardens.
Poppies prefer winter sowing, then, under favorable conditions, the first flowers bloom at the end of May. Contrary to the regulated sowing of opium poppy, sowing of common poppy is not subject to any prohibitions or restrictions.
Although in Poland the poppy grows wild as a weed of cereals, it has been cultivated on purpose over the centuries. Its strong red color made it an important dyeing and cosmetic plant. For millennia to this day, it is used to dye drugs, wines, intimate hygiene liquids for menstruation, make lipsticks, red paints, and inks.
Gardeners have bred number of ornamental varieties for flower beds or cut flowers, often with frayed, snow-white or pink petals. In the 90s in Italy, the almost black variety ‘Evelina’ (sterile hybrid with long-headed poppy P. dubium) was bred.
Common poppies do not produce nectar at all, but they produce a lot of pollen, more than any other field weed. Prof. Sudnik-Wójcikowska from the Faculty of Biology at the University of Warsaw and the specialists from the Wildlife Society “Stork” recommend common poppy for bee pasture mixtures for wild pollinators, especially bumblebees and solitary bees. As a pollen-bearing species, the field poppy does not attract butterflies, and provides honey bees and bumblebees only with protein food.
Therefore, it produces the pollen the most abundantly and feeds the most insects right after the flowers are opened, i.e. in the morning (6.00-9.00). The insects visit the poppies even longer, most of them end up visiting about 1 p.m.