Common Poppy aka Field Poppy (Papaver Rhoeas)
Key facts about Common Poppies
- Height: 20-60cm
- Flowering Time: June – October
- Flower colour: Bright Red
- Growth habit: Annual wildflower
- Habitat: cornfields, roadside verges, brownfield sites, disturbed ground
- Appears in: Heritage Mix Meadowmat Meadowmat for Birds and Bees Floral Focus Meadowmat
Possibly the easiest UK wildflower to recognise thanks to its association with the Royal British Legion and the annual Remembrance Day ceremonies held around the country.
Poppies are annual wildflowers, which means that they grow, flower, set seed and die all in the space of one year. Shortlived they may be but my goodness, they make the most of their time. Each plant can produce around 100 flowers in succession and their seeds are scattered hither and thither.
Flowers of course have bright red petals arranged in an open formation so that the black flower centres are very visible. Leaves are feathery and the seed pods are rounded with holes at the top like pepper pots. Once sown, the seeds lie dormant for decades until the soil is disturbed to stimulate germination
Uses for the Common Poppy
We humans have been using poppy seeds for thousands of years. They have been found mixed with grain in 2,500 year old Egyptian artefacts. The Romans and the Ancient Greeks used poppy extracts as a painkiller and to sooth upset tummies.
The alkaloids in red poppy are similar to those found in the opium poppy but not identical. They have a much weaker effect and are considered to be non-addictive
Poppy petals are used in herbal medicine to treat coughs and throat irritations.
In the kitchen, poppy seeds are perfectly edible and are delicious when sprinkled over bread and cakes or added to soups and stews. It is possible to press the seeds to extract the oil. This is a great substitute for olive oil in salad dressings and has a lovely nutty taste.
Poppies in Meadowmat
At Harrowden Turf we love poppies and hope that you do too. Although they prefer disturbed soil and may not appear in your Meadowmat after the first year, they add a great pop of colour while you wait for the perennial plants to establish.
- Stunning colour
- Looks great with long grasses
- Lengthy flowering period
- Reminiscent of cornfields before the introduction of herbicides
- Not fussy about soil type
Other Cornfield Annual Wildflowers