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Biology

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The seedlings of this annual plant appear in spring (1). The flowers, which are present from April to August (5), are visited by a large range of insects, but particularly bees (2). Each plant is able to produce around 17, 000 seeds, these can remain dormant in the soil for 80 years or more, perhaps even as long as 100 years (1). Poppy seeds have been found in Egyptian relics dating from 2,500 BC, and the poppy has been a symbol of death and rebirth since these times; it grows in the fields, is cut with the harvest and always returns the following year (4). The profusion of poppies on the First World War battlefields of Ypres and the Somme struck a chord with all who saw them. The war-churned wasteland of mud, shell holes and broken bodies had been transformed into a dazzling display of wild flowers, healing the land (4). The poem 'In Flanders Fields' written by a Canadian volunteer medical officer in Ypres during the winter of 1915 was published around the world. Following the publication of this poem, the practice of wearing artificial poppies to commemorate Armistice Day on the 11th of November became very popular, and continues today. In Britain, the Royal British Legion uses the proceeds from poppy sales to help ex-servicemen and women (4).
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Conservation

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Happily, the ability of poppy seeds to lie dormant for as long as 100 years allows the species to make a come-back to areas from which it has been suppressed by herbicides and fertilisers. This phenomenon has been seen widely following the introduction of 'set-aside' land (taking surplus land out of production). More recently, agri-environment schemes have encouraged farmers to revert to more traditional forms of farming, which also allows the poppy and other wild flowers to make a resurgence. Plantlife has included the common poppy in its Common Plant Survey. This survey aims to determine the status of 65 common plants in Britain, in order to understand how these species are faring in the countryside and to effectively monitor changes in their populations (6).
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Description

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The common poppy is a familiar wild flower, which has long been a symbol of death and rebirth, and is worn in many countries on Remembrance Day in order to commemorate those who lost their lives during warfare (4). The vibrant blood red blooms are supported by hairy stalks; the rounded petals are broader than they are long, and often have a dark spot at the base. Pink or white flowers may also occur. The stamens consist of violet coloured anthers borne on purplish-black filaments, and the stigma is a flattened disk with 8-14 rays (2). The branching stems are covered with stiff hairs, and the leaves are narrow and divided into toothed segments (2). The fruit is in the form of a capsule, capped by a disk; the small brown seeds are released via holes that open below the disk (5).
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Habitat

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A 'weed' of arable fields, disturbed and open habitats, the poppy thrives best on light calcareous soils. It is often included in wild flower mixtures, and occurs in many areas as a garden escape (3). It is vulnerable to herbicides, and tends to occur mainly in field margins and strips of fields that have not been sprayed (3).
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Range

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The poppy was introduced to Britain; it is known from Bronze Age deposits, and it seems to have been introduced with early agriculture (1), in the seed-corn of early settlers (4). It is now widespread throughout much of Britain; it is common in England and southeast Scotland but becomes rare in north-western Scotland and is mainly found close to the coast in Wales. It is thought to be native to southern Europe, North Africa and temperate Asia (2), but has become naturalised outside of this range (3).
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Status

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Common and widespread (3).
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Threats

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The intensification of agriculture that followed the Second World War had a serious impact on the poppy, and it was expelled from arable fields by the use of herbicides; becoming banished to field margins, hedgerows and neglected fields (4).
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Distribution in Egypt

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Nile and Mediterranean regions, Egyptian desert and Sinai (St.Katherine).

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Global Distribution

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North Africa, Europe, Asia.

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Comments

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It is commonly known as ‘Corn poppy’ or ‘field poppy,. It is very variable in size, shape and hairiness of leaves, dark colouring of stamen filaments, black blotch on petals and shape of capsule etc. Some cultivated garden varieties called ‘Shirley poppies’ have wide range of flower shades and sometimes lack pigments. Papaver strigosum (Boenn.), Schur. has usually somewhat appressed hairs on the peduncle, but the character seems to be variable, leaving no difference between the two.

The robust and taller plants have been called Papaver hookeri Baker or var. hookeri (Baker) Fedde, but there seems to be no boundaries between the type race and this variety.

It is hardly put to any use in Pakistan, though the petals of “Shirley poppies” are said to be utilized in colouring drugs. The milk from the capsules is narcotic with a slightly sedative property and contains morphine in exceedingly minute proportion.

It seems to be under-collected in our area, and we have neither seen any specimen of this species from Baluchistan nor has Burkill (l.c) reported it from there, but R.R. Stewart (l.c) mentioned that many forms of this is cultivated in Baluchistan gardens.

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Flora of Pakistan Vol. 0: 16 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Comments

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J. W. Kadereit (1990) suggested that Papaver rhoeas originated on the east coast of the Mediterranean, probably derived from one or more of the other species of the section that are native in that region, and only after (and because) "suitable habitats in sufficient extent were provided by man." Various forms with pale pink or white, unspotted, sometimes doubled petals are grown for ornament, notably the Shirley poppies. In North America, the species escapes from cultivation fairly readily and has been introduced also as a crop weed. Excluded species:

Papaver dahlianum Nordhagen, Bergens Mus. Årbok 2: 46. 1931

Papaver radicatum Rottbfll subsp. dahlianum (Nordhagen) Rändel

We regard this species as being restricted to arctic Europe, a narrower circumscription than U. Rändel's (1977).

Papaver microcarpum de Candolle, Syst. Nat. 2: 71. 1821

We are so far unable to substantiate D. Löve's (1969) report of this essentially Asiatic species "from Seward and Kenai peninsulas in Alaska, the Aleutian Islands."

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Flora of North America Vol. 3 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Description

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Annual, rarely biennial, erect or ascending, (20-) 30-90 (-120) cm tall herb, branched, hispid or stiffly hairy with 1-3 mm long, spreading whitish hairs, sometimes subglabrous, rarely glabrous. Leaves large, up to 15 cm long and 6 cm broad; basal and lower leaves ± stalked, larger, and less dissected; upper leaves sessile or subsessile, more dissected with narrow bases; all leaves usually 1-2-pinnatifid with narrow acute, ± toothed, bristle-pointed segments, ±hispid, very variable in size and segmentation but usually with a larger and broader terminal segment. Peduncle (10-) 15-30 cm long, usually stiffly hairy with spreading bristles. Flower bud large, ovoid or broadly ellipsoid, 10-20 mm long, ± stiffly hairy. Flowers very variable in size (3-) 4-8 cm in diam., usually scarlet, violet, pink (rarely whitish), often with a basal dark blotch. Petals suborbicular, 2-4 (-5) cm broad. Stamens as long as the ovary, bluish; filaments linear; anthers c. 1 mm long, oblong. Capsule subglobose to broadly obovoid, 10-20 mm long, usually slightly longer than broad, with a rounded base abruptly narrowed into an inconspicuous very short stipe, glabrous; stigmatic rays 8-12 (-20), almost reaching the end of the somewhat overlapping marginal lobes of the disk: seeds very small, dark-brown.
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Flora of Pakistan Vol. 0: 16 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Description

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Plants to 8 dm, hispid to setulose. Stems simple or usually branching. Leaves to 15 cm; distal often somewhat clustered. Inflorescences: peduncle sparsely to moderately spreading-hispid throughout. Flowers: petals white, pink, orange, or red, often with dark basal spot, to 3.5 cm; anthers bluish; stigmas 5-18, disc ± flat. Capsules sessile or substipitate, turbinate to subglobose, obscurely ribbed, to 2 cm, less than 2 times longer than broad.
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Flora of North America Vol. 3 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Distribution

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Europe, W. Asia, W. Africa; widely cultivated and a weed.
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Annotated Checklist of the Flowering Plants of Nepal Vol. 0 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Distribution

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Distribution: Europe, Asia and N. Africa.
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Flora of Pakistan Vol. 0: 16 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Distribution

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introduced; Man., N.B., N.S., Ont., Que., Sask.; Alaska, Calif., Conn., D.C., Idaho, Ill., Iowa, La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Mo., Mont., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Oreg., Pa., R.I., Tex., Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va.; Europe; sw Asia; n Africa.
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Elevation Range

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2500-3000 m
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Annotated Checklist of the Flowering Plants of Nepal Vol. 0 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Flower/Fruit

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Fl. Per. April-July.
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Flowering/Fruiting

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Flowering spring-summer.
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Habitat

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Fields, pastures, stream banks, railroads, roadsides, and other disturbed sites; 0-2000m.
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Papaver rhoeas

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Papaver rhoeas (common names include common poppy,[3] corn poppy, corn rose, field poppy,[4] Flanders poppy, or red poppy) is an annual herbaceous species of flowering plant in the poppy family, Papaveraceae. This poppy is notable as an agricultural weed (hence the common names including "corn" and "field") and after World War I as a symbol of dead soldiers.

Before the advent of herbicides, P. rhoeas sometimes was abundant in agricultural fields. Although the corn poppy (and its cultivars such as the Shirley poppy) and the California poppy are widely grown in gardens, only Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy, has significant farm production.

Description

 src=
The three stages in a common poppy flower: bud, flower, and capsule

Papaver rhoeas is a variable, erect 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 (between May and October in the UK[4]) but if the weather is warm enough other flowers frequently appear at the beginning of autumn. It grows up to about 70 cm (28 in) in height. The stems hold single flowers,[4][5] which are large and showy, 5–10 cm (2–4 in) across,[6]:32 with four petals that are vivid red, most commonly with a black spot at their base. The petals slightly overlap each other.[4] The plant can produce up to 400 flowers in a warm season, that last only one day.[4] The flower stem is usually covered with coarse hairs that are held at right angles to the surface, helping to distinguish it from Papaver dubium in which the hairs are more usually appressed (i.e. held close to the stem). The capsules are hairless, obovoid (egg-shaped), less than twice as tall as they are wide, with a stigma at least as wide as the capsule. Like many other species of Papaver, the plant exudes white to yellowish latex when the tissues are broken.[7]:94

Not all corn poppies that are available commercially have red flowers. Selective breeding has resulted in cultivars in yellow, orange, pink, and white. The Shirley poppy is the most known cultivar. A very pale speckled variety, derived from the Shirley, is also available.

A nearly black-flowering hybrid, known as Evelina, was bred in Italy in the late 1990s, with P. dubium, but does not appear to be available commercially.[8]

Phytochemistry

P. rhoeas contains the alkaloid called rhoeadine, which is a mild sedative.[9]

Taxonomy

It was formally described by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in his seminal publication Species Plantarum in 1753.[2][10] Papaver, also pappa, is the Latin word for food or milk and rhoeas means red in Greek.[9]

Distribution and habitat

P. rhoeas is a temperate native with a very wide distribution area, from Africa to temperate and tropical Asia and Europe.[9][5][11]

Range

It is found within Africa, in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Madeira Islands, and the Canary Islands.[11] Within temperate Asia, it is found in the Caucasus regions of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Ciscaucasia. In Western Asia, it is found in Afghanistan, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. Within tropical Asia, it is found in Pakistan. Within Europe, it is found in Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, France, Portugal, and Spain.[11]

Habitat

It grows in fields, beside roads, and on grasslands.[4] It is hardy to between USDA Zone 8 and Zone 10, or down to 10 °F (-12 °C).[5]

Natural history

 src=
Capsules

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. It is known to have been associated with agriculture in the Old World since early times and has had an old symbolism and association with agricultural fertility. 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, and the ability to form a long-lived seed bank. The leaves and latex have an acrid taste and are mildly poisonous to grazing animals.[12]

A sterile hybrid with P. dubium is known, P. x hungaricum, that is intermediate in all characters with P. rhoeas.[7]

P. rhoeas topped the list in a UK study of meadow pollen production, on a per flower basis, with its rate of 13.3 ± 2.8 μl. The California poppy placed second with a rate of 8.3 ± 1.1 μl. The pollen production of P.rhoeas, on a per flower basis, was very high in comparison with the other plants tested, at almost triple the amount of the top-ranked perennial (a mallow). When sampled at the level of the entire capitulum, however, it was outranked by the ox-eye daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare, with its 15.9 ± 2 μl measurement. It tied with Cosmos bipinnatus. Neither poppy produced a significant quantity of nectar, making their role in meadow ecology specific to pollen-gathering/consuming insects.[13] As poppies are not wind-pollinated, their pollen poses no allergy risk via inhalation.

Cultural usage

Due to the extent of ground disturbance in warfare during World War I, corn poppies bloomed between the trench lines and no man's lands on the Western front. Poppies are a prominent feature of "In Flanders Fields" by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, one of the most frequently quoted English-language poems composed during the First World War. During the 20th century, the wearing of a poppy at and before Remembrance Day (sometimes known informally as Poppy Day) each year became an established custom in English-speaking western countries.[4] It is also used at some other dates in some countries, such as at appeals for Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand.

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

The common or corn poppy was voted the county flower of Essex and Norfolk in 2002 following a poll by the wild plant conservation charity Plantlife.[14]

China

In China, P. rhoeas is known as yumeiren (虞美人, meaning "Yu the Beauty"), after Consort Yu, the concubine of the warlord Xiang Yu. In 202 BC, when they were besieged in the Battle of Gaixia by the force of Liu Bang (founder of the Han Dynasty), Consort Yu committed suicide; according to folklore, poppies grew out of the ground where Consort Yu fell, and P. rhoeas thus became a symbol of loyalty unto death.[15]

In 2010 P. rhoeas was at the centre of a diplomatic row between China and the United Kingdom; during an official visit to China, the British Prime Minister David Cameron and his entourage rejected the demand from the Chinese government to not wear the Remembrance poppy, which was mistaken as the opium poppy, a plant with enduring connotations of the Opium Wars in China.[16]

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. In classic and modern Persian poems, the poppy is a symbol of people who died for love (Persian: راه عشق).

Many poems interchange "poppy" and "tulip" (Persian: لاله).

[I] was asking the wind in the field of tulips during the sunrise: whose martyrs are these bloody shrouded?

[The wind] replied: Hafez, you and I are not capable of this secret, sing about red wine and sweet lips.

Urdu literature

In Urdu literature, red poppies, or "Gul-e-Lalah", are often a symbol of martyrdom, and sometimes of love.

Uses

The commonly grown garden decorative Shirley poppy is a cultivar of this plant.[4]

The black seeds are edible, and can be eaten either on their own or as an ingredient in bread. Oil made from the seed is highly regarded in France.[9]

The petals contain a red dye which is used in some medicines and wines, also the dried petals are occasionally used to give colour to potpourris.[9]

In traditional folk medicine, it was used for gout, aches, and pains. The petals were used to create a syrup that was fed to children to help them sleep.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ Linné, Carl von (1753). Species Plantarum. vol. 1. Stockholm: Laurentius Salvius. p. 507.
  2. ^ a b "Papaver rhoeas L. is an accepted name". 23 March 2012. theplantlist.org. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  3. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Reader's Digest Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain. Reader's Digest. 1981. p. 30. ISBN 9780276002175.
  5. ^ a b c Philips, Roger; Rix, Brian (1996). Perfect Plants. London: Macmillan. p. 298. ISBN 0333653416.
  6. ^ Blamey, M.; Fitter, R.; Fitter, A (2003). Wild flowers of Britain and Ireland: The Complete Guide to the British and Irish Flora. London: A & C Black. ISBN 978-1408179505.
  7. ^ a b Stace, C. A. (2019). New Flora of the British Isles (Fourth ed.). Middlewood Green, Suffolk, U.K.: C & M Floristics. ISBN 978-1-5272-2630-2.
  8. ^ Sagrati, Giorgio (2012). "Evelina, the black poppy". The black poppy Evelina. WordPress. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Papaver rhoeas (common poppy)". kew.org. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Papaveraceae Papaver rhoeas L." ipni.org. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  11. ^ a b c "Taxon: Papaver rhoeas L." npgsweb.ars-grin.gov. 14 November 2001. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  12. ^ "corn poppy (Common name)". cbif.gc.ca. 5 June 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  13. ^ Hicks, DM; Ouvrard, P; Baldock, KCR (2016). "Food for Pollinators: Quantifying the Nectar and Pollen Resources of Urban Flower Meadows". PLoS ONE. 11 (6): e0158117. Bibcode:2016PLoSO..1158117H. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0158117. PMC 4920406. PMID 27341588.
  14. ^ "County Flowers | Wild plants". Plantlife. Archived from the original on 2015-04-30. Retrieved 2012-03-21.
  15. ^ "The Falangcai Poppy Bowl". Alain.R.Truong. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  16. ^ Evans, Annnemarie (15 November 2010). "Flanders poppy 'a symbol of heroism, not of opium'". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 11 November 2018.

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Papaver rhoeas: Brief Summary

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Papaver rhoeas (common names include common poppy, corn poppy, corn rose, field poppy, Flanders poppy, or red poppy) is an annual herbaceous species of flowering plant in the poppy family, Papaveraceae. This poppy is notable as an agricultural weed (hence the common names including "corn" and "field") and after World War I as a symbol of dead soldiers.

Before the advent of herbicides, P. rhoeas sometimes was abundant in agricultural fields. Although the corn poppy (and its cultivars such as the Shirley poppy) and the California poppy are widely grown in gardens, only Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy, has significant farm production.

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