Hispid or glaucous herbs, with white milky sap, lobed or dissected alternate leaves, nodding flower-buds and showy regular flowers. Sepals 2 or occasionally 3. Petals 4-6. Stamens ∞. Anthers extrorse. Ovules ∞, borne on numerous internally-projecting placentae. Stigmas united into a radiate persistent disc. Capsule globose, obovoid, or oblong, dehiscent near the summit by slits or pores. Seeds marked with minute depressions. [Classic Latin name of the poppy.]

About 45 species, mostly natives of the Old World, but 4 or 5 indigenous in western America. Type species: Papaver somniferum L.

Glabrate and glaucous; leaves lobed, clasping; capsule subglobose.


P. somniferum.

Green, hirsute; leaves pinnately divided.

Stems branching, leafy; weeds of waste or cultivated ground.

Capsule glabrous.

Capsule subglobose or top-shaped.


P. Rhoeas.

Capsule oblong-clavate, narrowed below.


P. dubium.

Capsule oblong, hispid with a few erect hairs.


P. Argemone.

Leaves all basal; capsule obovoid, densely hispid with erect hairs; arctic.


P. nudicaule.

1. Papaver Somniferum L. Opium Or Garden Poppy. Marble-Flower

Fig. 1973

Papaver somniferum L. Sp. Pl. 508. 1755.

Erect, sparingly branched, glaucous, 1°-3° high. Leaves clasping by a cordate base, 4'-8' long, 2'-3' wide, oblong, wavy, lobed or toothed; flowers 3'-4' broad, bluish-white with a purple center; filaments somewhat dilated upward; capsule globose, glabrous.

Occasional in waste grounds and on ballast. Also in Bermuda. Fugitive from Europe. Often cultivated for ornament. Widely cultivated in Europe and Asia for its capsules, from which the drug opium, and poppy-oil are derived. Native of the Mediterranean region. Summer. Mawseed. Joan silver-pin. Cheesebowl. Balewort.

1 Papaver Somniferum L Opium Or Garden Poppy Marbl 3151 Papaver Somniferum L Opium Or Garden Poppy Marbl 316

2. Papaver Rhočas L. Field, Red Or Corn Poppy. African Rose

Fig. 1974

Papaver Rhoeas L. Sp. Pl. 507. 1753.

Erect, branching, 1°-3° high, hispid with spreading bristly hairs. Lower leaves petioled, 4'-6' long, the upper smaller, sessile, all pinnatifid; lobes lanceolate, acute, serrate; flowers 2'-4' broad, scarlet with a darker center; filaments not dilated; capsule subglobose or top-shaped, glabrous, the disk with 10 or more stigmatic rays.

In waste places and on ballast, Maine to Connecticut and Virginia. Vancouver Island. Bermuda. Occasionally cultivated. Fugitive from Europe. Summer. Old English names. Corn-rose, Red-weed, Headache, Canker-rose and Cheesebowl. Thunder-flower. Blue-eyes.