poppies

Common poppy by Zsuzsanna Bird

Common poppy

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Scientific name: Papaver rhoeas
Once considered a weed of cornfields, the Common poppy is now in decline due to intensive agricultural practices. It can be found in seeded areas, on roadside verges and waste ground, and in field margins.

Top facts

Stats

Height: up to 80cm

Conservation status

common.

When to see

June to August

About

Once considered a weed of arable fields, the development of intensive agricultural practices has resulted in the decline of the Common poppy (also known as 'Corn poppy') in the wild. This familiar, showy flower is now most likely to occur as part of intentional wildflower seeding, or as the result of the disturbance of soil containing old seed banks. Its strongholds remain roadside verges, scrub, waste ground and farmland. It flowers from June to August, often alongside other 'arable weeds' (also called 'cornfield flowers') such as Corn chamomile and Corncockle.

What to look for

With their big, saucer-shaped, scarlet blooms, Common poppies are one of the most familiar of all our wild flowers. There are other similar species, which can be hard to tell apart.

Where to find

Found in England and lowland parts of Wales and Scotland.

Did you know?

Immortalised in poetry, the Common poppy famously turned the battlefields of the Somme into a place of remembrance: the blood-red of the Poppies mirroring the atrocities of war. But its association with blood and new life harks back to the Egyptians and Romans who made garlands of Common poppies to celebrate the gods and ensure the fertility of their crops.