Papaver rhoeas (common names include common poppy, corn poppy, corn rose, field poppy, Flanders poppy, red poppy, red weed, coquelicot, and, due to its odour, which is said to cause them, as headache and headwark) 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.

Plant of the week - Common poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

Summer brings a myriad of flowers with it, and one of the most iconic for me is the common poppy. Although strictly not a British native, it was most likely introduced in the Bronze age, as archaeological evidence suggests. Of course the poppy is an icon of remembrance day, commemorating the 11th of November, when hostilities in the Great War formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,”.

The common poppy is a member of Papaveraceae, a family of herbaceous annuals and perennials, all with two sepals and four petals (except in the genus Macleaya). The common poppy can grow to 20cm. Often found in arable fields  it grows especially well in calcareous soils.