Papaver plant


The familiar flowers of Papaver make it a cottage garden favorite. It is an eye-catching plant with its hairy, blue-green foliage making neat clumps that swiftly erupt into bloom in mid-summer. The flowers are fairly extravagant and enormous singles or huge ball-shaped doubles choked with petals, in a rich variety of colors red, mauve purple and white. Individual flowers do not last long, but others follow, each producing a large seed-head, which is very gorgeous in its own right. Opium is the air-dried milky exudation attained from excised unripe fruits.

Alternative names

Common name: Opium poppy, breadseed poppy, Poppy, Keshi
Scientific name: Papaver somniferum

What are the uses of the Papaver plant?

Opium is largely used for manufacture of narcotine, morphine, laudenine, codeine, papaverine, and many other alkaloids.


FamilyPapaveraceae , Poppy family
Plant typeFlowering plant
Flower colorPapaver somniferum may have flowers in various shades of red, pink, purple and white, and in single, double and highly double forms.
Species‎‎P. somniferum
AttractsBees, other pollinating insects

Where does the Papaver plant originate?

Native to Turkey. Morphine, codeine, opium and heroin are all consequent from the milky latex found in its unripe seed capsule.

When does the Papaver plant bloom?

Blooming in early- to mid-summer, this common annual can have flowers in many shades of pink, red and purple, as well as white and bicolor. 

How to care for Papaver?

Soil type:
Well-drained/light, Dry, Clay, Loamy

Full sun, Partial shade

For perennial Oriental poppies, water well during the first year whenever the weather is dry. In subsequent years, watering during extended dry periods may be required to keep plants growing fine. Mulching around the plants in late spring will assist to conserve soil moisture and keep down weeds.

After flowering, cut down the flowering stems and remove any old or damaged foliage to keep the plants looking good and tidy.

Read more about flowers in the Poppy family (Papaveraceae)

If you like this plant you may also like these, that are in the same plant family:

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