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Corn Poppy



[Bernath Papaver]

Papaver rhoeas is a ANNUAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, self.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.[PFAF]
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.[PFAF]
General: Annual herb from a short taproot; stems erect, simple or more usually branched, spreading stiff-hairy, 30-70 cm tall. [IFBC-E-flora]
Leaves: Basal leaves few, oblanceolate, divided into 3-4 pairs of primary lateral lobes which are again divided, short-stalked, stiff-hairy, 8-15 cm long; stem leaves similar, not much reduced above. [IFBC-E-flora]
Flowers: Inflorescence of solitary, terminal, erect flowers; buds erect; flower stalks spreading stiff-hairy; petals 4, white, orange, pink or red, usually with a dark basal spot, 1.5-3.5 cm long. [IFBC-E-flora]
Fruits: Capsules, top-like to nearly round, smooth, obscurely ribbed, 1.5-2 cm long. [IFBC-E-flora]
Habitat / Range
Mesic to dry waste places in the lowland zone; rare in SW BC, known only from Vancouver and Victoria; introduced from Eurasia. [IFBC-E-flora]
A common weed of cultivated land and waste places, avoiding acid soils[17]. Becoming far less frequent on cultivated land due to modern agricultural practices. Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa and temperate Asia.[PFAF]
Origin Status: Exotic [E-flora]


Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

The flowers of corn poppy have a long history of medicinal usage, especially for ailments in the elderly and children[244, 254]. Chiefly employed as a mild pain reliever and as a treatment for irritable coughs, it also helps to reduce nervous over-activity[254]. Unlike the related opium poppy (P. somniferum) it is non-addictive[244]. However, the plant does contain alkaloids, which are still under investigation, and so should only be used under the supervision of a qualified herbalist[244]. [PFAF]

Red poppy glycerite

"Fill a jar about three-quarters full of a mixture of 60% vegetable glycerine and 40% water. Add poppy petals to fill the jar, stirring so that the petals are covered in the glycerine mixture. Put the lid on the jar and place it in a sunny spot in the garden or on a window sill....Once the petals have faded to white, usually after only a few days, they can be removed and fresh ones added over the summer until your liquid is a rich deep red color. It can then be strained, bottled and labeled. Your glycerite should keep well in a cool dark place until next year when you can make a fresh batch." [BackMed]



"Its capsules contain the same kind of milky juice as that found in P. somniferum, and an extract has been prepared from them having the properties of opium; but the quantity is too small to repay the trouble of its preparation. Filhol has shown that the extract contains morphine, but in a proportion exceedingly minute compared witli that in which it exists in opium. The petals are the official portion. They have a characteristic odor, and a mucilaginous, slightly bitter taste. By drying, they lose their odor, and assume a violet-red color." [Remington USD20]


Remarks (young leaves and stems of P. rhoeas)

  • "It may represent a source of dietary fibre (>3 g/100 g)."[Tardio MWEP]
  • "Low Na content (< 120 mg/100 g); it can be considered as a source of K, Cu, Mn, and vitamins C and B9 (folates); sometimes also a source of Ca, Fe, and vitamin K." [Tardio MWEP]
  • "High content of oxalates: People with altered renal function should avoid this vegetable; boiling is recommended for general population." [Tardio MWEP]
  • "Very high nitrate content, not recommended for infants." [Tardio MWEP]


Select Indications

This species contain alkaloids with sedative and narcotic effects and has been employed in Mediterranean folk medicines mainly against nervousness and insomnia, stomach ache, toothache, eye infections, and sore throat or cough. Other uses include the treatment of baldness (Benítez et al. 2010) and measles (Rivera et al. 2005). [Tardio MWEP]

"Prefers a well-drained sandy loam in a sunny position[1, 200]. Does not do well on wet clay soils but succeeds in most other soils[115]. Plants usually self-sow freely when growing in suitable conditions so long as the soil surface is disturbed[238]. There are several named varieties selected for their ornamental value[200]. A polymorphic species, varying in leaf shape and flower colour[17]. When growing in cereal fields, poppies decrease the yields of nearby cereal plants[18, 20]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers." [PFAF]

Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ[200].[PFAF]

[E-flora] http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Papaver%20rhoeas&redblue=Both&lifeform=7 [Accessed: 12/18/2014]
[PFAF] http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Papaver+rhoeas, Accessed Dec 18, 2014

The information presented on this site is provided for educational purposes. Self diagnosis and treatment, without due diligence, could be harmful and is not encouraged. Some information & images may be copyright. Every effort has been made to present the information in the spirit with which it was originally presented. Some data has been omitted for legal and/or practical consideration. There is some data not covered in the scope of this project, including, but not limited to, cell culture and large-dose animal studies. I have made comparisons and links between related species which may later prove erroneous. I have not verified the information for accuracy and I accept no responsibility for its authenticity. Many of the plants presented are poisonous, have poisonous properties, or could cause illness through misuse, allergic reaction, drug interactions and environmental contaminants. Please use caution and mindfulness when harvesting plants for any use.

Page last modified on 03-10-2016