May Flowers: Poppy

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The Red Poppy is popular and widespread; however, there is some confusion about it. Even though the seed looks the same, it is not the species used for making poppy seed rolls in baking nor in the production of opium and heroin. The Opium Poppy is the one that produces the seeds for baking and also the narcotic sap for illegal drugs.

The Red Poppy is also not the one that produces the big flashy flowers every spring in perennial gardens. That’s the Oriental Poppy and its much larger blooms are basically orange, but have been hybridized into many other colors, including red. And it’s not the species known as Iceland Poppy, another one that’s very popular in gardens in shades of orange, white and pink.

The Red Poppy is the small-size annual species about 12″ to 14″ tall with blooms from 2″ to 3″ wide that is sometimes called “Shirley Poppy”, “Flanders Poppy,” “American Legion Poppy”, and in England, “Corn Poppy.”

Want a close look at the flower, check out this quick video: