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Papaver rhoeas
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Papaverales
Family: Papaveraceae
Genus: Papaver
Species: P. rhoeas
Binomial name
Papaver rhoeas

Papaver rhoeas (common names include corn poppy, corn rose, field poppy, Flanders poppy, red poppy, and red weed) is a species of flowering plant in the poppy family, Papaveraceae. This poppy, a native of Europe, is notable as an agricultural weed (hence the "corn" and "field") and as a symbol of fallen soldiers.

P. rhoeas sometimes is so abundant in agricultural fields that it may be mistaken for a crop. The only species of Papaveraceae grown as a field crop on a large scale is Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy.


Natural history

Papaver rhoeas
Corn poppy in a field of corn (wheat)

The plant is a variable 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, but if the weather is warm enough other flowers frequently appear at the beginning of autumn. The flower is large and showy, with four petals that are vivid red, most commonly with a black spot at their base. Like many other species of Papaver, it exudes a white latex when the tissues are broken.

It is known to have been associated with agriculture in the Old World since early times. It has most of the characteristics of a successful weed of agriculture. These include an annual lifecycle that fits into that of most cereals, a tolerance of simple weed control methods, the ability to flower and seed itself before the crop is harvested.

The leaves and latex have an acrid taste and are mildly poisonous to grazing animals.

Its origin is not known for certain. As with many such plants, the area of origin is often ascribed by Americans to Europe, and by northern Europeans to southern Europe. The European Garden Flora suggests that it is ‘Eurasia and North Africa’; in other words, the lands where agriculture has been practiced since the earliest times. It has had an old symbolism and association with agricultural fertility.

Cultural icon

Artificial corn poppies placed as Anzac Day tributes on a cenotaph in New Zealand; mostly those marketed by the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association, with a lone White Poppy specimen

During World War I corn poppies bloomed in waste grounds of much of the Western front, where they provided a vivid reminder of the bloody battles that had so recently taken place there. The corn poppy is immortalized in the poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian poet John McCrae. Similarly, it is a symbol of the blood of Polish soldiers killed in the Battle of Monte Cassino in the Polish war song Czerwone maki na Monte Cassino (Red Poppies on Monte Cassino).

The corn poppy has become a cultural icon to military veterans, especially veterans of World War I, and has become associated with wartime remembrance, especially during Remembrance Day or Anzac Day in Commonwealth countries. In Canada, where the corn poppy is largely associated with Remembrance Day, the Canadian Mint in 2004 released into circulation a quarter with a commemorative reverse featuring a corn poppy colored red.

This poppy is a common weed in Europe and is found in many locations, including Flanders Fields. Canadian surgeon and soldier, John McCrae wrote the poem In Flanders Fields on May 3, 1915, after witnessing the death of his friend, Lt. Alexis Helmer. The opening line of the poem vividly depicts corn poppies blowing in the wind amongst the many crosses that mark the resting places of fallen soldiers.

United States commemorative stamp depicting Moina Michael and corn poppies

Ispired by McCrae's poem, in 1915 US professor Moina Michael published a poem of her own called We Shall Keep the Faith. In tribute to the opening lines of McCrae's poem -- In Flanders fields the poppies blow / Between the crosses row on row, -- Michael vowed to always wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in the war.[1]

Corn poppies are not successful as cut flowers because their petals fall off very quickly, thus artificial corn poppies are used. In many Commonwealth countries, paper or plastic corn poppy flowers are worn to commemorate the sacrifice of veterans and civilians in World War I and other wars, during the weeks preceding Remembrance Day on November 11. In the United States, it is common practice to wear "Buddy Poppies" (artificial, paper or plastic versions sold by the Veterans of Foreign War) during the weeks preceding Memorial Day, the last Monday in May to commemorate the sacrifice of veterans in the various wars;[2] whereas Veterans Day on November 11 is used to honor "living" veterans.

In Canada, poppies are distributed by the Royal Canadian Legion and the Anavets organization each fall prior to Remembrance Day. The design of the Canadian poppy consists of petals made of red plastic with a felt lining and black centre held on by a pin. In 1980, the Royal Canadian Legion formed a committee to decide the future of the poppy and it was decided that the centre should be changed to green to represent the green fields of France. This proved unpopular with the Legion membership and the design was changed back in 1986. Unfortunately a large quantity of green felt had already been purchased and it was decided to keep producing the green centres until the supply of felt was exhausted. It took until 2002 for the green felt to run out and the traditional black centres reappeared. Those who were unaware or had forgotten that black centres had been used in the design of the poppy from its introduction in 1921 until 1980 found the change somewhat controversial.

In New Zealand and Australia, plastic poppies are widely distributed by the Returned Services Association leading up to ANZAC day (April 25).

The corn poppy has been adopted as a symbol by The Royal British Legion in their Poppy Appeal.

This poppy appears on a number of coins, banknotes, and national flags, including:


War poetry

Poppies stand as a prominent feature of In Flanders Fields, one of the most frequently quoted English-language poems composed by front-line personnel during the First World War. It was written by John McCrae, a doctor serving in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, and appeared for the first time in Punch magazine on December 8, 1915.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

- John McCrae

Persian literature

In Persian literature, red poppies, especially red corn poppy flowers, are considered the flower of love. They are often called the eternal lover flower.


Like many weeds, the corn poppy also shows some potential to become a crop in its own right. Its seed is a moderately useful commodity, used in bread dough, for example, and to decorate bread. The red petals are used to make syrups and alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks. Red poppy syrup is a traditional beverage of Mediterranean regions like Bozcaada.

The commonly grown decorative Shirley Poppy is a cultivar of this plant.



External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Papaver rhoeas


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Ordo: Unassigned Eudicots
Ordo: Ranunculales
Familia: Papaveraceae
Subfamiliae: Papaveroideae
Tribus: Papavereae
Genus: Papaver
Sectio: P. sect. Rhoeadium
Species: Papaver rhoeas


Papaver rhoeas L., Sp. Pl. 1: 507. 1753.


  • Papaver agrivagum Jord., Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon, sér. 2, 7 : 464. 1860.
  • Papaver ameristophyllum Fedde, Pflanzenreich (Engler) , IV-104, Papaveraceae : 308. 1909.
  • Papaver arvaticum Jord., Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon, sér. 2, 7 : 463. 1860
  • Papaver arvense Lam., 1779 nom. illeg.
  • Papaver atropurpureum Gilib., nom. inval.
  • Papaver caespitosum Fedde, Pflanzenreich (Engler) , IV-104, Papaveraceae : 302. 1909.
  • Papaver caudatifolium Timb.-Lagr., Bull. Soc. Hist. Nat. Toulouse, 4 : 163. 1870.
  • Papaver cereale Jord., 1860, Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon, sér. 2, 7 : 465. 1860.
  • Papaver commutatum Fisch., C.A.Mey., & Trautv.
  • Papaver cruciatum Jord., Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon, sér. 2, 7 : 465. 1860.
  • Papaver dodonaei Timb.-Lagr.
  • Papaver erraticum Gray, Nat. Arr. Brit. Pl., 2 : 705. 1821, nom. illeg.
  • Papaver erraticum Jord., Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon, sér. 2, 7 : 464. 1860 nom. illeg. non Gray (1821).
  • Papaver erucifolium Timb.-Lagr., Rev. Bot. Bull. Mens., 10 : 36. 1892.
  • Papaver feddeanum Wein, Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg., 9 : 172. 1911, pro hybr.
  • Papaver fuchsii Timb.-Lagr.
  • Papaver graecum Link ex Fedde
  • Papaver hirtodubium Fedde, Pflanzenreich (Engler) , IV-104, Papaveraceae : 303. 1909.
  • Papaver hookeri Baker ex Hook.f., Bot. Mag. (Curtis), : tab. 6729. 1883.
  • Papaver humile Fedde, Bull. Herb. Boissier, sér. 2, 5 : 169. 1905.
  • Papaver insignitum Jord., Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon, sér. 2, 7 : 462. 1860.
  • Papaver integrifolium Vig., Hist. Nat. Pavots : 38. 1814.
  • Papaver intermedium Becker, Fl. Frankfurt., 1 : 386. 1827.
  • Papaver postii Fedde, Bull. Herb. Boissier, sér. 2, 5 : 447. 1905.
  • Papaver pseudohaussknechtii Fedde, Pflanzenreich (Engler) , IV-104, Papaveraceae : 304. 1909.
  • Papaver ramosissimum Fedde, Pflanzenr. (Engler) Papaverac.-Hypec. & Papav. 363. 1909.
  • Papaver rapiferum Fedde, Bull. Herb. Boissier, sér. 2, 5 : 170. 1905.
  • Papaver rhoeas proles caudatifolium (Timb.-Lagr.) Rouy & Foucaud, Fl. Fr., 1 : 156. 1893.
  • Papaver rhoeas proles insignitum (Jord.) Rouy & Foucaud, Fl. Fr., 1 : 154. 1893.
  • Papaver rhoeas proles intermedium (Becker) Rouy & Foucaud, Fl. Fr., 1 : 154. 1893.
  • Papaver rhoeas proles roubiei (Vig.) Rouy & Foucaud, Fl. Fr., 1 : 156. 1893.
  • Papaver rhoeas proles rusticum (Jord.) Bonnier
  • Papaver rhoeas subsp. cyprium Chrtek & B.Slavik, Preslia, 53 (1) : 48. 1981.
  • Papaver rhoeas subsp. humile Holmboe, Veg. Cyprus : 83. 1914.
  • Papaver rhoeas subsp. insignitum (Jord.) P.Fourn.
  • Papaver rhoeas subsp. intermedium (Becker) P.Fourn.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. agrivagum (Jord.) Rouy & Foucaud, Fl. Fr., 1 : 155. 1893.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. arvaticum (Jord.) Rouy & Foucaud, Fl. Fr., 1 : 155. 1893.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. bipinnatifidum N.H.F.Desp., Fl. Sarthe Mayenne : 10. 1838.

Papaver rhoeas var. caudatifolium (Timb.-Lagr.) Fedde

  • Papaver rhoeas var. conicum Legrand, Stat. Bot. Forez : 71. 1873.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. cruciatum (Jord.) Rouy & Foucaud, Fl. Fr., 1 : 155. 1893.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. digitatum Pau
  • Papaver rhoeas var. erraticum (Jord.) Rouy & Foucaud, Fl. Fr., 1 : 155. 1893.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. erucifolium (Timb.-Lagr.) Rouy & Foucaud, Fl. Fr., 1 : 154. 1893.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. genuinum Elkan
  • Papaver rhoeas var.hookeri (Baker ex Hook.f.) Fedde, Natur. Pflanzenf. ed. 2 (Engler & Prantl) 17b: 1-45. 1936.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. intermedium (Beck) Cout.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. pallidum Gren. & Godr., Fl. Fr., 1 : 58. 1848.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. segetale (Jord.) Rouy & Foucaud, Fl. Fr., 1 : 155. 1893.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. serratifolium Hérib. ex Rouy & Foucaud, Fl. Fr., 1 : 155. 1893.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. setigerum Boenn.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. subintegrum Lange
  • Papaver rhoeas var. torilifolium Pau
  • Papaver rhoeas var. trichocarpum Pamp
  • Papaver rhoeas var. vestitum Gren. & Godr., Fl. Fr., 1 : 58. 1848.
  • Papaver rhoeas var. violaceum Bréb., Fl. Normandie, éd. 5 : 18. 1879.
  • Papaver rhoeas, subsp. caudatifolium, Fl. Compl. Plaine Franç. : 26. 1928.
  • Papaver rhoeas, subsp. insignitum (Jord.) P.Fourn., Fl. Compl. Plaine Franç. : 26. 1928
  • Papaver rhoeas, subsp. intermedium (Becker) P.Fourn., Fl. Compl. Plaine Franç. : 26. 1928.
  • Papaver robertianella Fedde, Pflanzenreich (Engler) , IV-104, Papaveraceae : 323. 1909.
  • Papaver roubiaei Vig., Hist. Nat. Pavots : 38. 1814.
  • Papaver rumelicum Velen., Sitzungsber. Königl. Böhm. Ges. Wiss. Prag, Math.- Naturwiss. Kl., 2 : 39. 1890.
  • Papaver rusticum Jord., Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon, sér. 2, 7 : 467. 1860.
  • Papaver segetale Jord., Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon, sér. 2, 7 : 466. 1860.
  • Papaver subumbilicatum Fedde, Pflanzenreich (Engler) , IV-104, Papaveraceae : 324. 1909.
  • Papaver tenuissimum Fedde, Bull. Herb. Boissier, sér. 2, 5 : 446. 1905.
  • Papaver thaumasiosepalum Fedde, Pflanzenreich (Engler) , IV-104, Papaveraceae : 307. 1909.
  • Papaver tumidulum Klokov
  • Papaver umbrosum hort.
  • Papaver uniflorum Balb. ex Spenn.



  • Flore Electronique (2000-2009). Association Tela Botanica. Institut de Botanique, Montpellier. 2009 Nov 17 [1].

Vernacular names

Aragonés: Ababol
Català: Rosella, ababolera
Česky: Mák vlčí
Dansk: Korn-Valmue
Deutsch: Klatschmohn
Eesti: moon
Ελληνικά: Παπαρούνα
English: Corn poppy, Common Poppy
Español: Amapola silvestre
Esperanto: Papaveto
Français: Coquelicot
Gàidhlig: Meilbheag
한국어: 개양귀비
Italiano: Papavera Rossa, Papavero Rosso
Magyar: Pipacs
Nederlands: Klaproos
日本語: ヒナゲシ
Português: Papoila
Svenska: Kornvallmo
Türkçe: Gelincik
Українська: Мак дикий
Vèneto: Ròsola/Rosolina
中文: 虞美人; 虞美人草


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